Monday, February 23, 2015

On my design floor

Time to go through the scrap bins and use up some "uglies"!

Monday, February 16, 2015

On retreat

I'm up in the north of Israel, attending a spiritual retreat for women. We'll do yoga, paint with watercolors, play music, hike, and eat vegetarian food. In my free time I'll visit with my daughter Menucha, who is in school here, and work on the two small hand quilting projects I brought along.
Last night I ate out at a charming little French bistro type of place. All I had was a humble bowl of lentil soup with some toasted sourdough bread. It was a simple meal, but eminently satisfying. I slept in a charming little room at my friend's bed & breakfast...hot water bottle included.
The retreat begins today. Am looking forward to what the day will bring.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Swoon-ing!

This didn't take the whole day. But it sure did feel like it did!
I have wanted to make Swoon by Camille Roskelley since the pattern first came out. It's all over the Blogosphere, and people everywhere have made it. But not me! I was a little bit put off by the number of pieces in the block, and wasn't sure I would be able to put it together the right way. Listen, when all you do is really simple scrap quilting, precision is no longer in your vocabulary. I bought Camille's course on Craftsy, to learn how to make this quilt. But the main thing I picked up from the course was: cut accurately, sew accurately--if you make a mistake, you won't have enough fabric to make the quilt. For a bumbler like myself, this was enough to scare me off it for life. 
Then one day while I was looking at Flickr, I noticed that there was such a thing as a Mini Swoon. Now that was something I could take a chance on! No major investment of time or fabric, and it would be easier on my nerves that making the full-sized quilt. And I had a layer cake of Ruby to work with. So I finally got up the guts, and here it is: block 1. Now that wasn't so bad, was it? 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Notes from our meeting

Our last quilt meeting started off with a bang. Even before all the ladies got to the meeting, Rochel had already pulled out her show and tell. She was so excited about what she had made that she couldn't wait to show it off! A beautiful hexie project, made from some remnants of decorator fabric that Jolie passed along. Amazing what can be made from leftovers! 

 The ladies start to arrive. Finally, everyone finds a seat and we call the meeting to order. First we have Racheli, a brand new member! Racheli is 11 years old. She is Raizel's neighbor. Raizel has been teaching Racheli to quilt. She's brought a whole bag of things to show...she starts to unpack her stuff...wait for it!
 First on the agenda...a finished pink and white doll quilt. Absolutely darling.
 Next, another doll quilt, made from fabric remnants. This is all hand pieced. Racheli is a first-time sewer. We are all in awe!
 But it gets BETTER! Racheli passes around her pink and white quilt. She's machine quilted it!
 And the piece de resistance...a collaborative quilt by Raizel and Racheli. Beautiful HSTs, laid out in a zig-zag pattern, obviously from scraps. Some of the triangles are pieced. This team obviously has a great sense of color, and they really know how to "make do".

Raizel has brought a finished quilt of her own. She used very soft vintage fabrics to make the top.

And the back is a very soft fleece. Some grandchild is going to be very happy with this one.

 Bracha has been hard at work as always. She found some darling Elmo fabric (sorry I didn't take a close-up of it, you're just going to have to trust me on this one) and used it to make a really great 9 patch baby quilt. I love the black sashing between the squares.
 A simple but effective back.
 Some leftover Elmo fabric was put to good use as a little doll quilt.
 But wait--there's more. Bracha always has lots to show us. A 4-patch with OWLS!
 Time to pack up and go. Racheli has all her projects back in her bag. She's sitting patiently and waiting for the meeting to be over. I hope she'll come back again next time. She's already a great quilter and a wonderful addition to our group!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's December?

A little hard to believe--November just flew by. I was in Pennsylvania and then in Florida, and it already feels like a lifetime ago. But I did have fun!
Spent two great weeks with my daughter and her family, enjoying them all and exploring Pittsburgh. They moved there from Houston in August and already they know lots of fun places to go to. The zoo...
The Waterfront Mall...
A great frozen yogurt place...(Here's my daughter, Hannah. She can't believe she ate that much frozen yogurt!)
My oldest granddaughter, Rivky:
I got to pick the kids up at school every day. The school receptionist sits at a desk at the entrance to the school. The first time I went in to get the kids, I was struck speechless--three gorgeous quilts on the wall right over her desk!
Gorgeous Kaffe Fassett fabrics...
Beautiful work...
Appliqued Hebrew lettering...
When I asked the receptionist WHO made these beautiful quilts, she said, "WHAT quilts?" I almost fell on the floor. She sits under these every single day, and she doesn't even see them! I guess maybe only a quilter would notice. (sigh)
The funny thing is, I went to check out an assisted living for my parents around the corner from the school, and on the wall they had some quilts from the same artist (didn't get a chance to take pictures of those). The manager who was showing me around the place had never noticed those quilts either!

Speaking of quilts, I finally finished a baby quilt for Great-granddaughter #1, who was born in August. Didn't have the right batting for it, so it waited until I got some when I was in the States. Sandy Gervais' "Objects of Desire" on the front...
Pretty fabric on the back...

This was made from a honeybun--precut 1 1/2" strips. I used the Jellyroll Race technique to make it, and it came out a bit warped, so I ended up cutting off the warped parts and using them for a piano keys border. I think it came out very cute!
Brought along some small hand-quilting projects when I went to the States. It's good to have something to work on while waiting in the airport or even while on the plane. Not only that, I was seriously jet-lagged the whole time I was there and it was a good thing I had something to do while I was awake in the night and the rest of the family was sleeping. Finished this:
And this:
           
Saw one like this on Lori's blog, Humble Quilts, which I have to say is just about my favorite blog. Lori does such beautiful work and her quilt-alongs are great fun. This little quilt is in wonderful fall colors, which made me so happy--I got to Pittsburgh just as autumn was at its peak, and I got to see the trees in all of their colorful glory. Hadn't gotten to see that in many years, as in Israel we only have 3 seasons and autumn isn't one of them. As a native New Englander I really miss the turning of the leaves. So it was great to get to see them. I have some beautiful pictures of the trees in Pittsburgh, which I hope to post, if I can figure out how to get them from my phone to the blog. 
Oh yes, one more little thing to share with you. Thanksgiving was a quiet day for us, as we don't celebrate the holiday here in Israel. Thursday night found me playing around with scraps, and look at this adorable little ornament I made. Found an easy tutorial for it on a blog (I forget which one) and it only took around an hour, start to finish. Sorry for the bad cellphone picture. But isn't this the cutest? 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gloomy outside, happy inside!

Today, like much of the past week, was overcast and grey. Winter is our rainy season here in Israel, and while we do appreciate the rain it is still  more pleasant on days that are sunny and bright. But even though it was gloomy outside, things were cheery indoors today, as we had our quilt meeting at Bracha's house. We hadn't met in a while, so there was lots of catching up to do.

Last time we got together, Bracha showed us how to make hexies. Rochel got with the program right away, and came back with a finished hexie block!

Raizel is working on quilts for her kids and her grandkids. Look what her husband picked up for her at a fabric store in town! You can't imagine how soft this is!
Bracha was in the States and couldn't resist buying fabric for some new projects.
 
Sahra brought a great book of Fons and Porter to share with us. We passed it around and everyone took a look. 
I brought two Gwen Marston books I acquired recently. But the book that got the most attention was definitely THIS:
This is a whole book of little quilts. No two are alike. The patterns are mostly traditional, but Andrea adapts each one creatively and with the most unexpected use of fabric. This is probably the most expensive quilt book (and the smallest) I have ever bought, but for sure the one I love the most. I could spend days just looking at the different quilts over and over. I don't think this book is available on Amazon.com, but if you run across it somewhere, you should definitely not pass it up.  

I'm working on a couple of projects and also have some little finishes I want to share. Just waiting for the sun to come out so I can take some pictures! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On My Design Wall

We just finished the week-long holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles). Had a wonderful time--lots of family, good food, and beautiful weather. But...no SEWING! So it was no surprise that as soon as the holiday ended I had to make a huge mess with my scraps and sew something-- ANYTHING! Some of the things I made are surprises; yes, I have started making some little gifts for the holidays. So I can't show you those just yet. But here's a little something I whipped up out of HSTs.

Just need to audition some fabrics for borders and then this will be hand-quilted. I have put together a number of projects to take with me to the States. Will be leaving Thursday night and staying there  2 1/2 weeks, and I can't go without taking something along to work on.
Can't wait to see my grandchildren!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Getting Caught Up

It's been a while since I've posted anything here. September was a busy month, and there was little time for blogging. (Blog reading, yes. Blog posting, no.)
Part of what kept me busy in September was getting DD Menucha off to school. She came back from the States, where she worked for two months in summer camp, and we had a week to get her ready to go to school up north. This was a complete surprise to us, as she was supposed to be going to school here in Jerusalem. But there was a change of plans, and suddenly we had to get her all her books and clothes (and makeup) together and pack her up to go. She's been in school for a month now, and while it has been a big adjustment I think she is really loving it there.
She came home for a short weekend, and we ran lots of errands while she was here--more clothes shopping, new cell phone, etc. But the most exciting and beautiful part of it was on Saturday night, when she went to a local beautician and got her hair cut off. Her hair was all the way down her back, and it was time to cut it short! Menucha has donated her hair to the Zichron Menachem organization (similar to Locks of Love) four times already, and this will be the fifth. The beautiful hair was cut off, and what was left was styled...she now looks like a lovely 18 year old young lady.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Finished Quilt Top!

Definitely not as good as a FINISH, but a step in the right direction.  I started piecing the blocks for this a couple of years ago. Got two blocks done, made a mistake in cutting the third block, and dropped the whole project. But a couple of weeks ago, I came across it in a basket and decided to JUST DO IT! When I saw this fabric by April Cornell, I fell in love with it. It's called "Prayer Flag" and has a decidedly Far Eastern look to it. Some of the fabrics make me think of Amy Butler--they're a lot like the motifs she uses in her designs.
The pattern is "Past and Present" by Kim Brackett.  Photo's not so great, but it's too windy outside to try to take pictures out there now. Etty took some pictures of it at our meeting yesterday, and hopefully they'll be better. But for now, here it is:

When I have some better light, I'll try to take some pictures of the individual fabrics so you can see them close-up. Especially the border fabric, which is drop-dead gorgeous!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Honey Bun Race!

You've probably seen some of those Jelly Roll Race quilts here and there on the internet. For a while, they were quite the rage! I especially loved watching the Jelly Roll Race tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company. That Jenny Doan, she just cracks me up! I was itching to make one of them, but didn't have a jelly roll in the house. So, necessity being the mother of invention, I used the only thing at hand--a Honey Bun. You are probably familiar with Jelly Rolls--adorable rolls of 2 1/2" strips of fabric. Well, a Honey Bun is even cuter--it has 1 1/2" strips. I had a really cute one with fabric from Sandy Gervais, can't remember the name of it right now, but it was in her signature colors of orange, blue, and green, and it was very GIRLY. It was so much fun to just keep sewing strip after strip together until the whole thing was sewn up. Only thing was...I must have done something wrong, because when I was finished, parts of it were really distorted and didn't lie flat at all. So I chopped it up into pieces, trying to salvage the flat parts. Then I just abandoned it altogether.

Yesterday, when I was thinking about making a quilt for our new little great-granddaughter, I decided to see how bad the chopped up pieces from the Honey Bun Race were and could they possibly be used. And you know what, it wasn't half as bad as I remembered. So I sewed all the pieces together, added on a narrow inner border and a piano key border, and voila! A quilt for the new baby!