Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Oops. No not between chaya & erez.

End of an era

This is my last post at daveha.
I have moved to chaya.erez.blogspot.com.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Productive weekend?

Well it depends how you look at it.
Yesterday was Joy's Bat Mitzvah and it was a lovely service. A little unorthodox (pun if you are familiar with the various Jewish religious streams). I am not sure but I think it is a reform egalitarian synagogue. Very participatory. The rabbi and cantor both strummed guitars and sang throughout the service and the choir, of which Joy is, among other things, the conductor sang as well. And well!
The service was followed by a kiddush luncheon and unlike the Shabbat kiddush luncheon at one shul I have attended on several occasions, the congregation did not descend on the food like a swarm of locusts and the food was quite good!
I took Joy the gift I made her (since it was a reform shul with a very relaxed attitude) and I hope she liked it. I suppose I shall hear about at the office on Tuesday when she returns to work.
I came home from the affair all tuckered out. I haven't recovered from my cold/flu and it seems to be getting worse. And today I didn't much feel like doing anything. I spent about an hour in my studio and finished unpicking the quilting stitches on one of the challah covers. I didn't like the way they turned out. And then I unpicked the embroidered "lichvod Shabbat veYom Tov" which was wrong in scale to the piece. I think I will type in "Shabbat Shalom" in my Hebrew word, enlarge it at the office, wonder under the letters onto fabric pieces and then wonder under it onto the cover.
I'll see how that turns out.
I also made a paper coffee cup cuff (for insulation). It turned out nicely. I gave it away and am waiting for feedback to see if it fits Tim Horton cups. The template was from Second Cup...
Off to bed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Previous post -- the photos

This is my Pomegranate monochromatic challenge. It's 10" x10", obviously white, but using as many textures and embellishments as I could think of. You can't really see the depth from this photo. I now have to decide how to finish it. I have some lovely white ribbon and I think I'll give it a 3" border. The question is white or colourful?
This is the piece (14" x 14") I made for Joy's Bat-Mitzvah. Her parasha is "Vayeshev" (embroidered in the Hebrew lettering). For those who know the Torah portion, perhaps you can recognize allusions to Joseph's coat of many colours and his pre-slavery dreams. One of Joy's Jewish names means gold so I tried to use gold fabrics, trims, threads and embellishments. And Joy love singing hence the (barely visible at the top) golden bird and musical notes. I hope she likes it.

And this is the pot holder I made for Silka. I am hoping to make more like it. Perhaps not pieced. I thought of using Judaic fabrics (as yet I have none in my stash, but that can be remedied...) The back is pieced from scraps from Menachem's quilt and other scraps which I can't remember where they came from but the colours fit in

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Countdown to the end of the year

I haven't blogged for a month. My excuse is a bad case of the flu. I'm still coughing my guts out, steroid puffer and all.
I also missed both of my guild meetings. I especially wanted to be at the Pomegranate Guild meeting to show my monochromatic 10" challenge piece and see what the others came up with. Oh well. (photo to follow).
I've also been sort of busy creatively. I made a small embellished quilted wallhanging for a friend's bat-mitzvah. (photo to follow)
I made a potholder, one piece two hands. (photo to follow)
I have been working on two challah covers. Neverending. Just can't seem to get them right. (photos to follow)
And I've been thinking. They say that a large part of creativity is in the thinking process.
I'm reviewing what I've done this past year and pondering what and how I want to create in the coming year.
Not ready to share yet but will get there before the year's end.
In preparation for the new year, I've made some changes.
I signed up for a new email account because I was discouraged with the amount of spam we were receiving and I wanted to keep my incoming emails (quilting/needlework lists, Shomernet, etc.) separate from the basketball, gadget, camp, jokes, etc. emails.
So far no spam and I'm trying to be selective what I send out and sign up for.
I registered on facebook. I'm not really sure why but I figured it couldn't hurt.
I opened an etsy account with the thought of actually selling something.
So I guess December should be a busy month if I'm planning to get everything I want to do before the year end done.

Friday, October 26, 2007

New sewing machine

Just in case you were wondering why I'm not blogging in rapture over my new Brother, it was a lemon. I started sewing gingerly, afraid I'm hit the wrong buttons on the computer screen and somehow screw it up. So when the needle shaft when down into the fabric and I was only able to lift it with great difficulty, I was very upset with myself. I managed to dislodge it, do a little more sewing (and I really like the speed, ease, embroidery features) until it went down again and refused totally to come out. Menachem took it into the shop where they determined it was nothing I had done but a faulty part. They have ordered me a new machine which will hopefully arrive any day now. And I fully intend to check it out at the shop before I bring it home.

In the meantime, I pieced another challah cover from the scraps of my colourful quilt. And embroidered the centre panel with variegated green thread. On the previous challah cover, I embroidered the centre panel first and then attached the bottom, top and sides. On this one, I put it together and then embroidered the centre panel. Embroidering first is the better way to go.

I also "made" myself a light box -- I took 4 shadow boxes, stacked 2 high on either side and put my long long 6" wide omniruler on top of them with a strong table lamp lying on its side under it. I traced onto the white fabric with an air soluble pen. I got about half of the embroidery done yesterday morning. This morning, the markings for the second half had disappeared... So I marked again and finished embroidering. Now I just have to wait for my machine to quilt it.

Tomorrow, Inbal and I are going to the Creativ Festival to check out what's new in sewing/quilting and scrapbooking/collage. I usually enjoy the Festival -- I hope Inbal will too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Brother

So I've been trying out sewing machines and went with Menachem to Newmarket to Evelyn's Sewing Centre in Newmarket to test drive the Brothers. I had been told that Babylock, which I liked, and Brother were the same machine. And indeed, they are identical. I tried the Brother 450X and liked it and it was on sale $500 less than the list price and $300 less than I had seen in Markham. Menachem kept saying "buy it, buy it!". I'm not so sure it wasn't because I was sitting beside a machine which was also on sale: $7000 marked down from $10,000.... lol
Anyways, the salesperson told us that the machine wasn't in stock and that it didn't include several of the feet (walking foot, freemotion foot, 1/4" foot) but that we could buy anything, including fabric and sewing machines accessories, for 15% off for the next year.
Friday we got the call that the machine had come in and yesterday we went to pick it up. And it did include the walking foot and free motion foot! So all I want now is a 1/4" foot which I'm hoping to pick up at the Creativ (needlework and sewing) Show this coming weekend.
The purchase includes free lessons but I want to get a basic understanding of the machine before I take the classes. And since I have an aversion to reading manuals, it should be interesting...
Right now, I am busy trying to reconfigure my sewing room to accommodate all of my stuff... I think I am going back to the previous configuration.
Inbal came on Thursday and is wedding occuppied until this afternoon. We drove her down to the Hyatt at Bloor and Avenue Road where the wedding took place yesterday afternoon/evening. She looked beautiful. She had this lovely emerald green dress with gold accents and gold shoes. Friday, she came to the office for lunch and bought a gold pashmina at Winners. On the way home, I bought some gold fabrics and trims and yesterday morning sewed her up a little gold purse. I hope she had a good time. Today she has a brunch so she stayed at my mother's last night (subway convenience) and will go down to the Hyatt for the brunch from there. We will probably pick her up this afternoon, after Menachem gets off work.
So I'm off to play with my new Brother...

Saturday, October 13, 2007


So a while back, I wrote that I had sold a piece of my work which was exhibited at the Pomegranate Guild's 25th anniversary exhibit at both the Toronto JCC and Baycrest museum. Although the piece had verbally sold the day after the exhibit opened, I just got paid for it on Thursday evening. It's not the purchaser's fault that payment took so long. Rikki, who served as the intermediary between the buyer and me, was ready to write the cheque several times but whenever our paths crossed, either she was in a hurry or I was, and I knew (hoped) she was good for the payment. The exhibit ended at the Baycrest on September 30th and when I went to pick up my two pieces (the third, a shadowbox, is now going touring cross-Canada...), there was only one there. The "sold" item had been picked up by Rikki so I knew it was a done deal. Thursday evening, both Rikki and I attended the same lecture/event (an evening with tallit maker extraordinaire, Shirley Waxman) and I received the cheque.
And not a moment too soon. My trusty Singer is dying and I fear it is terminal -- the motor. The machine originally (18 year ago...) cost me under $200. To spend any money repairing it seems a waste. So I'm looking for a new machine, with more quilting/free motion capabilities. Thursday after work, I went down to a sewing machine store at Yonge and Eglinton to test drive some machines and figure out what I want. It was a waste of time. The woman selling (perhaps a new owner of the store?) wasn't terribly knowledgable and didn't go out of her way to show me the models in the store.
Yesterday after work, we went to another store in Markville Mall and saw a few machines. Here, the salesperson was certainly more knowledgable and it appeared they really wanted to sell.
Sewing machines with quilting capabilities can run up to $10,000. I don't want to spend anything near that much since it is still a hobby for me and I can't justify such an expense. I test drove a basic Pfaff with which I was not enamoured. Then I test drove a Babylock Decorator's Choice which I liked. As I said, the needlecraft and sewing festival is in two weeks and I will be able to test drive all the machines at the same time and hopefully make a more informed decision. And then see if there are sale deals, floor model promos, or if it's worth taking a trip to Buffalo...
At any rate, in the interim I am giving my machine a rest after ekeing (sp?) out the last drops of juice on Ezra's quilt. I am now binding it by hand.
Back to Shirley Waxman's trunk show/talk, although I don't think I'll be making any tallitot in the near future, I was inspired by her embroidery and it gave me some ideas for doing some handwork. The ideas are bubbling as I speak.
Today, Menachem is working and I am going to meet Devora downtown at the CBC building at 1:30 p.m. for lunch and to see a glass and pottery exhibit. Later this afternoon, I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing. Menachem finishes work at 3:00 p.m. Perhaps we'll hook up and do some visiting or something.
Inbal is coming for a visit this Thursday and I am so looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I haven't been blogging as religiously as I had hoped but I'm either tired, busy or lazy.
This past long weekend, I spent three days at Casa Loma as docent for "The Quilt" exhibit. In case you don't know what it is, please visit their website www.thequilt.com.
Some of the quilts were breathtaking, in particular "Circle of Caring" (can be seen on the website). It's a bargello in the round and I have an itch to try one of those... The quilts are all manner of design, some traditional, some modern, some playful, using so many techniques and colours.
And I had the chance to sit with women from other quilting guilds and pick their brains about sewing machines. (Still not totally edified, but on the way) In the meantime, my Singer has gotten a second wind and I'm hoping to at least finish quilting Ezra's baby quilt this week. I got the quilting gloves I ordered and boy, do they ever make a difference!
Menachem has started working at Longo's so we're going to have to do some creative scheduling in order to spend time together.
I'm hoping to stitch after work today so I'll keep you posted if I get the quilting finished on the baby quilt.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Not much really. It's 3:06 a.m. Insomnia.
Have I already mentioned that my sewing machine is on its last leg? Bummer because I have four or five quilts to quilt. The walking foot from my Singer is compatible with my no-name backup machine but the threads, bother upper and bobbin, keep taking turns breaking. So I'm pretty much machineless as far as free-motion quilting goes.
I have started researching new machines and am more confused the more I read. Also, I'm not sure I want to remortgage the house to finance a fancy shmancy machine for what I still consider to be a hobby. Maybe I should go the route of an industrial -- I understand they can be considerably less expensive and have much stronger motors.
At the end of the month, I will attend the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival, test drive their machines and try to make a decision.
I was hoping to take Menachem with me since he's much more technically inclined than me and I hope to get him hooked on the quilting part... but Menachem has landed a part time job at Longos, the local grocery store, doing front store customer service (can I help you put your groceries in the car? that's in aisle number 6, etc.). It's something to keep him busy from September to May until his summer camp job. His hours are, at the moment, unpredictable. This week he's working Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10-2. So if he works every weekend, I guess I'll be going to the Festival alone.
This week, the Pomegranate Guild exhibit at Baycrest ended so we went Monday to pick up my pieces. Actually only one because one was picked up by the purchaser's "agent". Yay me. First piece I've ever sold. My second piece is a gift for Yunkie. Maybe we'll find some time over the weekend to go there to give it to him.
So I guess I'll be doing handwork for the next while... I really must straighten up my studio -- it's a bit of a mess at the moment.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First quilt -- finished

This is the first quilt I made which I just finished. The piecing of the top didn't take too long but I was afraid to ruin it by free-motioning it myself. My friend, Dee, graciously offered to do it and I just finished sewing on the binding. The back is done in the black and gold leaves fabric. The whole thing is IMHO stunning!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another week gone by

Shabbes yontif shabbes yontif. With all the holidays, it's hard to keep track. Especially since we don't have small children and aren't overly observant.
Stitch-wise, I've been busy. For the Pomegranate's 10" monochromatic challenge, I've done a white landscape -- quilted, embroidered, beaded and embellished. I am pleased with the result. I am making it into a small quilted wallhanging. In the meantime, my sewing machine has decided to slow down terribly so my attempts to free-motion have not gone well. I think I might try hand-quilting instead, the aim being more to get the stitches through the layers than small even stitches. If I can do both, great!! My border panels are white as well but I am planning to do the stitching in variegated rainbow coloured thread...
I am also working on the binding of Menachem's quilt. I took it to work yesterday but didn't get much done. I've done a little today, maybe some more this evening, a little tomorrow. It will be finished by the weekend.
I also want to finish Ezra'a quilt. I have to quilt the borders. Maybe I'll try that by hand too. But I'll probably do the binding by machine.
And now that there's a new addition to our extended family in Israel, I want to make a baby quilt for her.
And a scarf using 1" squares, solvy and variegated threads.
Hmmm, so many projects, so little time.
And tomorrow, we get our new car!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Erev-erev continued

So we got home from Perth Saturday evening. Sunday, I got an early start on quilting. I have quilted the middle of Ezra's quilt but have yet to successfully finish the borders (I've done them twice and unstitched them twice...they just don't sit the way I want).
Then we had to go to Cock-a-doodle quilts -- it seems I didn't have fabric for binding Menachem's quilt. I've cut the fabric and made the binding strip. Now I just have to find some uninterrupted time to sew it. Then at noon, Mintzy called and asked if I wanted to go with her and Silke and Al to St. Jacobs. I did, Menachem didn't. It was a lovely day so I went but I was exhausted when I returned.
Monday, Ruthie had a stopover in Toronto on her way back to Israel from Winnipeg. We picked up my mother, went to meet Ruthie at the airport and went out for lunch at the Pickle Barrel at Yorkdale. Also, a very pleasant few hours.
Tuesday, back to work. In the evening I had my first meeting at the York Heritage (Toronto) Quilters Guild. Meetings are held at Edwards Gardens. The speaker was Pamela Allen who does art quilts with an attitude. Very enjoyable.
Yesterday, Wednesday evening was the first Pomegranate Guild meeting of the season. The speaker talked about colour theory, in advance of our guild challenge for the November meeting. We have to make a 10" by 10" monochromatic block. It can be any textile media as long as it's one colour and the required size. I am thinking multiple techniques in white but haven't finalized my decision yet. I have to think on this one a little.
Today, no evening plans (thank goodness). Maybe a little sewing. Mel had his foot surgery today and hopefully it went well. Tomorrow is Erev and Saturday Yom Kippur. We may take our annual ride in the country...
Other than that, no news.
So for those who fast and observe, gmar chatima tova.

Erev erev Yom Kippur

Since my last post was erev erev Rosh Hashana (shana tova to all) and we're now erev erev Yom Kippur (gmar chatima tova to all), it's time to post.
The chagim were very nice. We had two small gatherings. The first night, we had Mom, Bat & Sandy, Devora & Noam, and Shaked. As usual, Menachem outdid himself. Since carp was not to be found, we had mock chopped liver, chummus, baba ganoush and sweet and sour vegetarian "meat" balls instead. This in addition, of course, to soup with lokshen, honey chicken, my mother's veal roast, Devora's pasta prima vera, rice, salads and dessert of Menachem's honey cake and a fruit platter provided by Bat & Sandy. And Menachem baked a tasty and lovely round challah. So it was very nice.
The second night, the menu was the same, the guests different. Ethel came, as did Yunkie, Mindy, Alana, Jeremy & Michelle. Bat & Sandy were at Heather & Maurie's.
Also a very pleasant evening.
We return to camp each fall to paint the kitchen floor. When we told Dee that we were coming up, she invited us the the Brooke Valley Jewish community's Rosh Hashana potluck get-together on Friday night. So we packed up our leftovers and headed out to Perth. The get-together was lovely. They're such a nice group of people. Menachem's meatless balls went over big, especially since most of the participants are vegetarians.
Saturday morning, we painted the floor and then Dee invited us for lunch. After lunch, Menachem and David went to the marina to see a man about a boat. Dee and I stayed to stitch. Well actually Dee stitched, I watched. Except for tucking in a few threads and sewing on the binding, Menachem's quilt is finished. I hope to finish it this weekend.
Got to run to work. Will continue later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Erev erev Rosh Hashana

Boy, the past few days have been busy. Saturday, we went to Cock-a-doodle Quilts and bought some fabric, which I have already washed and will prepare for Inbal's quilts' backings.
I sandwiched the baby quilt and also sandwiched the swirly quilt. Now I just need courage to quilt them...
It is the day before erev Rosh Hashana and we're getting ready for two family gatherings -- the first tomorrow night with Mom, Bat & Sandy, Devora & Noam, and maybe Shaked. We invited Shloimeh and Zena but not sure they'll attend. They are religious and the walk from their house to ours may be a little too much for them.
Then Thursday night, we're having, Mom, Ethel, Yunkie & Mindy, Alana, Jeremy and Michelle.
Sunday we went shopping for fish (and quilting safety-pins). No carp to be found, neither at the supermarkets nor the fish stores. So our menu has changed.
We'll be starting with roasted vegetable soup with lokshen (noodles). Instead of gefilte fish, we'll be having chopped liver from mock (i.e eggplant), dips -- hummus and baba ganoush, corn salad, green and red pepper salad, and sweet potato salad. (All very very labour intensive).
For the main course, we're having veal roast (my mother's delicious specialty), honey chicken, maybe sweet and sour tofu balls, rice, bean salad, pasta salad and a green salad.
And for dessert, Bat-Sheva's bringing a fruit platter and Menachem's making a honey cake. And of course, Menachem is making round challahs in honour of Rosh Hashana.
We will be repeating menu 1 on night 2. Those who are coming both nights may have complaints but too bad.
Tomorrow, I will be speed cleaning the house.
Thursday and Friday, we will rest, or maybe take a ride in the country.
Saturday, we're going to camp to paint the kitchen floor. We have a car rental for three days so hopefully we'll have a nice weekend. Maybe visit with Dee to show her my quilting efforts. At any rate, I need to buy some quilting thread and am not sure what colour to go with so I'm hoping to confer with Dee and purchase the threads in Perth.
And Monday, Ruthie will be passing through Toronto on her way home from Winnipeg so we'll be going out to the airport to visit with her.
And that's all the news that's fit to print.
So if anyone is reading, have a happy and healthy Shana Tova.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Baby Quilt Top Finished

This is the finished top. I had to ditch my idea to use the curly turquoise fabric -- it was too slippery to work with. So I bought a light green marbled fabric. There are two reasons I put the green squares in the corners a) I didn't like the way it looked when the fish prints met side by side and b) the top and bottom borders were each about 2 cm. short and I didn't want to have a seam where the fish may not line up between the two pieces.
I think it looks OK.
This morning, Shaked came over and we went to Cock-a-doodle Quilts to buy backing fabric for the two versions of Inbal's quilt. I bought two very different backings. We'll see what happens. I had previously bought backing for the swirly quilt and the baby quilt at Fabricland but just didn't see anything remotely suitable for backing Inbal's quilts.
We also popped into AM Studio, an Israeli glass studio which imports art glass items from the Galil. And also does some custom glass work. I thought Shaked, herself a ceramics sculptor, might enjoy it. And she did.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Baby quilt

And this is the beginnings of the baby quilt made by sewing eight long strips, turning 90 degrees and cutting eight tubes, then rearranging. So easy!! I was going to make a border using the blue fuzzy fabric but it didn't handle well. So I'll just have to buy some yellow fabric for the inner border and then use the fishies for the outer border.
And I have other fabrics I thought might be fun piecing in this way. Of course I'll have to buy fabrics to match...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Inbal's Quilt - Photo finish

Et voila! The pieced parts are identical in colour, even if the photos don't show it. See how different they look?
I am halfway through the quilt top for Ezra. I tried a new technique for making squares and it really does make the quilting go quickly.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

New Quilt

This is the little quilt that grew. The Israeli Quilter's Association, of which I am a member, is having a juried exhibition. The rules were small wall quilts, no side to exceed 22" and if pieced, no block to exceed 4" square. So I started making 4" squares. And enjoyed what I saw so I made some more. And I so liked what I saw that I said, forget the exhibit. I'm making a quilt! So I did. Now what I'll do with this quilt is another matter...
I actually have a four day weekend. We didn't have any closings on Friday so the office was closed. I worked on this quilt on Friday and finished it this morning.
Then I finished Version B of Inbal's quilt this evening. (Tomorrow I'll post pictures of both versions.)
Tomorrow, I want to start a quilt for Ezra, Mintzy's grandson. It won't be elaborate but it's with that nice flourescent fish fabric so it should be fun. Also the backing fabric is soft and cuddly. One of the fabrics is not that stable so I'm going to use interfacing before I cut it and hopefully that will help.
While I've been quilting, Menachem's been painting. We decided to finally paint the "new" door -- it's already four years old... So we chose some lovely colours -- an off-white for the trim, a tan colour for the side panel and for the door itself, a burgundy. Well, the burgundy isn't. It's more red than burgundy. And after three coats of paint, it's blotchy and awful. So this afternoon, Menachem put on a new coat of primer and we're going to paint the door tan as well.
Tomorrow, we're invited to Yunkie and Mindy's for lunch. And then Menachem has to pick up Itai and Inbal from the airport in the evening. And that's about it, other than painting and quilting.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Inbal's quilt top version A -- finished!!

Dee, my quilt "guru" came to visit yesterday. Hannah had an anime convention in Toronto and Dee brought her in for the weekend. We had previously planned to quilt last week up at her place in Perth, but she was pooped from her busy schedule and Menachem was itching to come home, so we postponed to yesterday. She was only at my place for a few hours, but boy, did I learn in those few hours!!
I had made two identical pieced lap-size quilt tops, sans borders. I had purchased fabric in Perth for the borders. Dee wasn't crazy about my fabric choices. I brought the fabrics home, put fabrics up on the design wall -- on one side, Dee's preference, on the other, mine. The more I looked the more I liked mine. So I decided to do one of each. In Dee's version, the borders are a continuation of the centre -- very busy, dynamic. In mine, the borders are very subdued.
Dee showed me how to do the borders and explained that part of my "wonky" results are due to some of the fabrics I'm using (not stable), my sewing machine (the foot moves around producing an uneven seam), the way I sew (I apparently push with my left hand and pull with my right causing distortion). Nevertheless, she got me started on the borders and today I finished Version A.
Next weekend, perhaps I'll tackle version B.
I will try to post photos in due course.
In the meantime, tomorrow I return to work after a week of being off. I am looking forward to it because my routine will be returning to "normal". I will have a definite time of leaving the house, definite plans during the day, and will be able to plan activities, including my quilting/embroidering/etc. accordingly.
I don't know if I already mentioned this, but I had started making blocks for a miniature quilt for the Israeli Quilters Association exhibit, but like the results so much that I am going to make more blocks and make a lap size quilt for myself/donation/gift, or something. I will probably work on cutting and sewing the blocks this week. It's a project I can do in small increments.
Anyways, Menachem shampooed the car upholstery in anticipation of returning the car at the end of the lease and I'd better go close the windows.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fast forward to the end of summer

It's been a long time, yada yada. Camp is over. Big sigh of relief.
So we've been home two days now. Menachem is recuperating from a very tiring time, both physically and emotionally. We've still got stuff to put away but are procrastinating. Menachem is getting his fill of internet, without dialup!! and watching TV.
I have been quilting. My sewing room is such a mess and I'm usually quite anal about putting it in order before I start working but not this time.
I belong to the Israeli Quilters Association and they are having a juried exhibition of traditional miniatures and I started working on an entry. The rules are no side bigger than 24", no fusing, gluing, etc. and if pieced with squares, maximum square size 4". I wasn't sure if the "traditional" applied only to the method of piecing or also to the patterns. So I have made 4" squares based on one of the patterns in "Stack a New Deck". Only I made enough for two small quilts. And I like it so much that I may just forego the exhibit and make it into a baby quilt.
Also on my design wall Inbal's robe quilt. I bought two pieces of fabric which I thought would be great for borders but Dee thinks they don't make the quilt "pop". So I am going to audition other fabrics, reserving the right to go with my fabrics if she can't convince me her way is better. Dee will be coming into Toronto this weekend and she's going to come over so we can play.
OK. Now that we're home and have lightning internet, I will try to post more frequently. And add pictures if I get the chance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Shomria Quilt -- continued

So apparently, the kid in charge of arts and crafts is not as enamoured with the quilt idea as I am. I have spoken to her several times but she has yet to come to find out what she has to do. In the meantime, I have finished doing the preliminary embroidery on 9 of the 18 patched piece seams...
I really do not want to do this quilt project on my own which would be defeating the purpose. I will give it one more try this weekend when I'm up at camp. If they latch onto the idea fine. If not, also fine.
Dee is encouraging me to finish quilting my onion quilt by myself. She did all of the quilting except the border and it looks amazing!! The border shouldn't be that difficult to do. And then bind and finish. Two years, not too bad... So maybe we'll pop over to her place this weekend and pick it up.
And then I have all these other projects under way or in planning. My mother just returned from Israel with Marty's ties which Ruthie sent. There are several hundred of them. I will make a quilt for Ruthie from them. But I won't get started on them until the fall. I want to finish the quilts from Inbal's fabric.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shomria quilt

The Shomria quilt is on its way. This is supposed to be crazy quilt which for lack of time I will piece but all of the embroidery, embellishments, etc. will be done by the campers and staff. Fabricland had a sale last week so I bought six solid fabrics -- two blues, one green, one brown-gold and two yellows, and muslin. I am using the standard six-piece template I like to use. Yesterday evening, I ironed and cut the muslin squares. I will take the whole thing up with me on Friday and cut the coloured fabrics and do the piecing up there. I simply don't think I'll be able to finish it here on time but I need a better table for sewing up there. I'll have to figure something out.
To make the piece relevant, I am kind of thinking on a theme of peace.
So I've been giving some thought to embellishing. Each square has 5 seams so I'll need five styles of basic embroidery for them, which I have to teach. I thought feather-stitch, either single or double, chain stitch, on a wave, chevron stitch, herringbone, and one other -- better check the stitch dictionary. Then they can be further embellished with french knots, fly stitches, etc.
For the needle-challenged, I am going to be doing motifs in both stamping and stencilling. I thought of stamping doves and stencilling words (e.g. peace, shalom) in English and Hebrew and in different fonts. A few beads here, some buttons there and hopefully, it will all come together.
Then I'll just have to figure out how to sew the whole thing together (i.e. sashed or not, borders or not, central medallion or not.
I'm looking forward to the whole project.
In the meantime, I'm on a hectic schedule of taking the train Fridays at noon to camp and returning Sundays at midnight. (This weekend is a long weekend so I'll have one extra day of "serenity" ha ha in the idyllic surroundings of Shomria). Then I'm left with short weeks in which I work during the day, and spend my evenings doing the stuff that needs being done -- watering plants, mowing the law, gardening, shopping, visiting relatives, etc.
Off to decide which beads, threads, etc. to take up with me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Old computers, slow internet, catch-up

On June 1st, I went up to Camp Shomria (Perth) with DH, who is the site and operation manager there. We usually go up on June 1st so we'll have a full month to get the camp into shape before the campers arrive July 1st.
Fortunately, our aging buildings did not suffer damage from the harsh winter (i.e. no trees fell on buildings, nothing collapsed... But mice apparently had a difficult winter and moved into at least two buildings. So, including the raccoon family which finds a new point of entry into the Beit Tarbut (rec hall) each year, we had major cleanup after the mice. In the room next to ours (it's a duplex), they ruined one mattress beyond repair, ate a hole in the fridge wall, not to mention droppings and nests everywhere. Same goes for the office.
We'll have to be more diligent in closing up this year and close up any holes under doors, around windows, next to the plumbing pipes, etc. Not that they won't be able to get in, but at least not to make it easier for them. At least we didn't have vandalism.
So I was up there two weeks. Our days consisted of 6-8 hours of physical labour and then "relaxing" -- trips into town to Canadian Tire for repair stuff, trips to the garbage dump... We also got in a few nice meals in Perth and some down time. We signed up at the Perth library and I read 8!! books in the two weeks.
At camp, we're on dial-up internet. And have an older version computer. Boy, is that frustrating. To pick up email takes forever, when the system doesn't shut down. In the end, we just went to the Perth library to read our email.
I got a little stitching done. I took up my sewing machine and started on my art quilt. Not terribly happy yet but I shall persevere. I took up all kinds of cq stuff to work on but didn't get started on any of it.
The two weeks were over, I took the train back, a 3.5 train ride to Toronto, another half hour on the subway and then a taxi home, getting home at around 11:30 p.m.
And that's how I'm going to be spending my weekends for the next two months, train from Toronto to Smiths Falls at 12:20 p.m. Friday, train from Smiths Falls to Toronto at 7:01p.m. Sundays.
Just looked at my watch. Time to run.

Friday, June 01, 2007

About those daily postings...

When I originally started blogging, I had hoped to use the blog as a daily journal. Ha! Now if I can blog weekly, I'm doing well.
This is a photo of Alana and Mindy taken just after Alana finished her Torah reading. She also led the services and did a wonderful job.
Alana is wearing the tallit I made her. It was a first effort. Overall, it was lovely. I could have made it a bit longer. I should have changed the placement of the stripes in proportion to the corners. But it was made with love and is quite pretty, especially with the outfit she wore that day.
I received many compliments and a few questions about whether I make tallitot for sale, the answer being hmmm. maybe.
The whole Bat Mitzvah was a lovely affair. It was a buffet luncheon at the shul. The food was good, there was background music (guitar and keyboard) which was background music. Except for the hora, the music was quiet and didn't interfere with conversation.
I think I already mentioned in a previous post how Yunkie and Mindy (i.e. Mindy) made other arrangements which were in keeping with the mitzvah part of Bat Mitzvah. The table centrepieces were mitvah "baskets" -- recyclable containers filled with products which after the simcha were donated to a woman's shelter. And the place cards were from Sick Kids Hospital where a donation was made in honour of the simcha.
And it was a busy week. Tuesday evening was an impromptu surprise birthday party for my mother's 86th at her place. My mother had for years talked about getting a roll-top desk and Charles found a small one which fits where the tea table used to stand. So he came in for dinner, Devora and Noam were there too. After dinner, Devora took Charles and Mom out for a walk and the rest of us showed up for dessert. It was very nice.
Wednesday, Mintzy invited us over for dinner and to "share" her grandson Noah. He is afraid of strangers (us). Rafi, Menachem and Noah played a game of indoor catch and Noah almost made it over to Menachem before he remembered that he was a stranger. It was quite comical.
Menachem has been busy all week making arrangements and picking stuff up for camp. We're going up today. So last night, we were busy doing laundry, packing, trying to concentrate all of the stuff in the front hall and hoping we don't forget anything. Perth is a big city and you can buy almost anything you need there but still there's stuff that we can bring from home.
I spent time organizing my sewing room so I could pack up stuff to take with including my new sewing machine. I'm hoping to get started on an art quilt while I'm up there during the next two weeks and something portable that I can work on while on the four hour train ride home.
Did I mention that Menachem put up a design wall for me? It's 1.5 inch styrofoam covered with quilting batting and industrial velcroed to the wall. I already tried out my robe quilts on it and am sure it will get much use over time. I am taking my robe quilts to Perth and am hoping that during the summer, Dee will help me problem-solve their wonkiness so I can finish them.
At camp, we have dial-up internet. And we won't have the phones connected until June 4th. So even if I wanted to post more frequently, I won't be able to. Fortunately, there appears (so far) to be less work than in previous years, so other than the immediate tasks of evicting a raccoon family from the rec hall and ridding the room next to us of mice and mice damage (they ate a hole in the plastic wall of the room's fridge) and some sorting of food donations in the pantry, hopefully we'll have a bit of a vacation. Ha ha.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Another week gone by

I don't know where the week went. Well, actually I do but... I worked Monday then came home and stitched on Alana's kippa. I took one from her which fit her well but was torn, when I was over on Sunday, and took it apart so I could use the pieces to make a pattern. Sunday evening, I made the kippa from the mauve duppioni silk. I then embroidered and beaded the seams a la crazy quilt mode. I made a lining from the patterned fabric I used for the tallit bag. Tuesday after work, Mintzy came to pick me up and we went with her cousin, Silka, to see the Pom exhibit. Afterwards, we went for dinner at Me Va'me, and then I had a Pom executive meeting at the JCC. Wednesday evening was our regular Pom meeting. It was on knitting with beads. I don't knit so it really didn't do much for me but you never know when an idea will come in handy. Thursday after work, I went with Rafi and Mintzy to pay a shiva call for a friend from the tnua whose wife passed away. A few years older than me. When it's one of my friends' parents, it's sad but they're in their eighties or ninties. When it's someone may age or a little older, it's really sad. Friday afternoon, Menachem bought me a new sewing machine at Costco. It's a simple machine with several stitches, but a no-name type brand. I don't have great expectations. I really just wanted an extra machine so I can take it up to camp so I have one there and one at home. And then during the year, I will have two machines -- one to do piecing and the other to do free-motion quilting. I tried it out -- it seems fine. For $100 CDN, it's more than fine. We went out Friday night for dinner to a new restaurant up on Beaver Creek -- the Vegetarian Gourmet. The food was quite good and I didn't have to worry about which dishes may have meat. We ordered way too much food but that was OK too because we took it home and rewarmed it for lunch.
Saturday morning we went up to camp to clean and organize our room so it will be ready no matter how late we arrive on June 1st. And to make sure the hot water heater in our room is working! It didn't take too long and the weather was gorgeous. We finished early, walked around in Perth (they opened a new fabric/quilting/craft store on Gore. I was very good and other than fabric glitter paint/glue, didn't buy anything. But am waiting anxiously for the summer...
I never sleep well the first few nights at camp because the bed is unfamiliar, the cabin creaks as it contracts and expands, the outdoor noises of animals, etc. keep me awake. I fell asleep instantly and what woke me up in the middle of the night? Menachem's cell phone beeping that it's battery was low... Oy.
Anyways, we decided to come home early. On the way, we stopped in at the Wesport area studio tour. Saw an interesting exhibit of photgraphy on canvas. And some lovely collage which I am trying to figure out how to translate in fabric. I think I have it. I just have to buy some puzzle pieces...
And now, off to some neglected grooming in anticipation of wearing a skirt. Last time skirt was worn? Two years ago at Rafi's Bar Mitzvah. Nuff said.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sunday's events

Yesterday was a lovely day. We went to Aleph Bet Judaica to buy the tzitziot (threads/strings) for Alana's Bat-Mitzvah. Then I went to the JCC for the Pomegranate Exhibit to do my docent stint. There was a constant stream of people which was good because I had failed to bring anything with me to do. At 3, Menachem picked me up and we went to Yunkie and Mindy's for a tzitzit tying ceremony. When we got there, one of Mindy's friends was there to help her make the centrepieces. I really like the shape the Bar-Mitzvah is taking. Instead of flowers, they're putting "mitzvah" baskets -- boxes filled with stuff which will later be donated to a shelter. The place cards are donation cards for Sick Kids Hospital where Alana started out her life. Their lifestyle isn't ostentatious and their Bat-Mitzvah won't be either.
Back to the "ceremony". Menachem did most of the tying but each of the kids and Mindy did at least a knot or two. Yunkie almost completed a whole corner himself but found it frustrating so Menachem finished it off for him. We came home after dinner.
I started working this morning on a kippa for Alana. I cut it out and sewed it together this morning from the mauve duppioni. Duppioni frays like mad so I zigzagged the edges. After work, I think I will embroider and embellish the seams. And sew in a lining. Maybe I'll print a little label in it to commemorate the occasion.
And then, on to other projects.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tallit details and tallit bag (please read previous post first)

If you click on the photo of the tallit, you can see the details up close of the flowers and beading. This is the bag. It's actually a quilted rectangle with snaps and the folded tallit is folded with the bag into thirds.
Anyways it's finished. We're off to the Judaica store to buy the tzitziot [strings]and this afternoon, after I finish my noon to 3 p.m. stint at the Pomegranate exhibit, we are going over to Alana's to have a tzitzit tying ceremony of sorts.
And now I can proceed to my next project which will hopefully turn into wedding gifts. Or not.

Tallit Finished!!

I've been working against a deadline to finish Alana's tallit [prayer shawl]. Her Bat Mitzvah is next weekend and I didn't want to leave it until then. So after much angst about the pinot [corners] , Menachem reminded me that I had a buttonhole setting for my sewing machine and that made things easier. I, of course, see all the little defects but in the big picture, it turned out quite nicely. I will try to make a matching kippa [skullcap] this week. If it looks small, it's because Alana is quite petite.
Next post details and the tallit bag.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Gardening, beading, etc.

It's been a busy weekend. The weather was beautiful and we tried to take advantage of it to get stuff done around the house and in the garden. Menachem is off to camp for three months come June 1st and whatever doesn't get done before then doesn't get done.
It's also free garbage day this week and we wanted to clean out the garage.
We started with the garage and it wasn't that bad. We had actually cleaned it up in the fall but during the winter we tend to throw stuff in there -- the metal shelving we took out of the bedroom closet, the boxes we bring the groceries home in, excess plastic bags, etc. So we moved the shelves to one side, broke down all the boxes for recycling day, and then took all of the plastic bags and styrofoam containers which don't go in the regular recycling box to the recycling depot. We also took some paints and a printer to the hazardous waste depot.
Then Menachem tackled the maple trees in the front yard. Some of the branches were brushing against the house and on a windy day they can cause real damage. So he cut those down. And then he had to cut them into smaller pieces and bundle them -- our garbage collection guys are quite particular. I did some raking of leaves, last years dead stems on the hostas and pulled the maple seedlings which had started sprouting.
Yesterday, we tackled the back yard. Menachem took down branches of a tree which was growing through our fence with the (not pleasant) neighbours. And cut them up -- the branches, not the neighbours... I continued to gather last year's dead plants and leaves...
Now all that's left to do is mow the lawn and some cutting back of overgrown shrubs.

On the creativity side, I did some beading on Alana's tallit. Yesterday afternoon was my turn as docent at the Pomegranate Guild's exhibit. I took two shifts -- 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There was a flurry of visitors from 3 to 4:30 and then no one until 9... But anticipating this, I took the tallit with me and got all of my embroidery stitching done. It wasn't so much embroidery stitching as it was using embroidery floss to tack down the lacey flowers I had wonder-undered and some weren't so wonderful... The stitches are added protection to make sure the flowers won't fall off. This morning I started beading between the flowers I stitched down and I hope to finish that this evening or in the next few days. I still need to sew the lining, attach the corner pieces, make the buttonholes for the tzitziot and then make the tallit roll (instead of a bag). It really is just a quilted rectangle with buttons and loops, so it shouldn't be that difficult.
Photos to follow, I promise.

Friday, May 04, 2007


For as long as I've been stitching, I've only ever made things for friends or for fundraisers.
Yesterday, I sold my first piece! It's one of the pieces I made (finished) for the Pomegranate Guild's 25th Anniversary Exhibit. Of course, it's the one piece I don't have a photo of yet...
I am on duty as docent on Sunday so I will photograph it them.

Excited by the prospects of fame and prosperity (cough cough), I went to check out my stash to see what else I could whip up. Now if only I can stay awake long enough to actually stitch. And I must finish Alana's tallit asap. I actually started the embroidery this morning. I'lll work on it at home on Sunday morning and then take it with me on Sunday afternoon, just in case there's a lull in visitors at the exhibit.

Yay me!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pomegranate Guild 25th Anniversary Exhibition

On Sunday, I was at the opening of the Guild's exhibition and if I was proud to be a member of the Guild before the exhibit, I was more so afterwards. To have so much creative energy concentrated in one location was amazing.
The large wallhanging is "Kohen Hagadol's Vestments", designed by our Guild member, Haya Nativ, based on references in the bible to the high priest's vestments.
The shadow boxes are some of the members' interpretation of the theme "Threads of Identity". It was difficult to photograph the entire exhibit as many people were milling around. We will try to return to do some more photography on a quieter day and will post more photos if successful.
I strongly recommend to anyone in the Toronto area who has a chance to see the exhibit to do so. The group wallhanging is truly breathtaking. The photos don't begin to show the piece's sparkle.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

This week has gone by so quickly!

Can't recall what I did all week except for working on Alana's tallit. It's finally got it's basic design and stitching done. This week I will do the embroidery and beading.
And finally sew on the lining.
Then I'm going to make a quilted tallit bag, except it's not going to be a bag but a roll-up (like a jewellry roll bag). I already have a nice piece of cotton fabric which matches the tallit in colours. Its pattern has lines which go from one side to the other so I'll use those lines as my quilting stitch guide.
Today is the opening of the Pomegranate Guild 25th Anniversary Exhibit and I am quite excited. I will be seeing many pieces the other members have made as well as the group quilt. I haven't seen it yet except for a glimpse in the Canadian Jewish News. I wasn't able to work on it because it was made at Tuesday afternoon workshops and I work during the week.
But I got a call last week to say that there was an empty wall in the exhibit hall and someone had suggested my family chuppah to fill the space. So in addition to my blue and white shadow box, my "brother-grandfather" piece and my "four sons" piece, my chuppah will also be on display. I am excited and proud of my textile accomplishments.
Anyways, off to the exhibit! I hope to post photos and commentary about it later.
P.S. Did I mention that I was at the Mississauga Quilter's Guild exhibit yesterday and saw a goregous black and white quilt with splashed of colour at the centre of each block. Menachem took photos. I will post later.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tired but content

Yesterday was a long day. And today, my body aches.
I spent the day with Lola, a new quilting friend from Israel who is here visiting her daughter. We went over to pick her up and she brought me some booklets of quilts from Israel which I have perused and intend to revisit soon.
Menachem drove us to Newmarket to take in the York Region Quilter's Show and then he went down to watch the Raptors first playoff game.
I think Lola enjoyed herself. Most of the quilts were traditional, both in patterns and techniques. Not very much art quilt style. I almost always enjoy these shows because I now have a true appreciation of the amount of work invested in each quilt. There was also a vendors area but I was a good girl and only bought 3 fat quarters...
From there we walked at least 5 km. to the bus back to Toronto. (It was supposed to be a 2 km. walk but I didn't realize exactly where the bus stop was...) On the ride back, we both napped. Then we took the bus to the Creative Needlework and Sewing Festival out near the airport. The show was OK. Again I was a good girl and only bought some "Sulky" -- I've never tried sandwiching fabrics and fibres and thought it was high time I tried--and some lacey type lavender fabric which I may use for Alana's tallit.
Menachem came to pick us up and it's a good thing he did. I was so tired by the end of the day.
And now my back aches from all the shlepping and walking...
But I came home energized and finished cutting the glue and paper bits off the fabric samples.
I'm going to make my first art quilt. I'm not quite sure yet what colours and fabrics to combine but I'm planning to jump in and start cutting strips and hope for the best.
Anyways, Menachem has a camp meeting this afternoon and I think I'll go to Fabricland to see if I can find any lavender fabrics there and save myself a trip down to Queen Street.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Itchy fingers

Wednesday evening I went to the Pomegranate Guild meeting. I was tired, as usual, and wasn't terribly able to assimilate the lecture about the history of Jews in the textile dyeing industry, although it was interesting.

The evening was not, however, a total write-off. One of our members brought in upholstery fabric sample books for people to take and some did. Whatever was left, I took. I brought them home, and dismantled the sample books. I will cull from them the samples I like and take the rest back to the next meeting.

I have been mulling over an idea for an art quilt -- I've never made one -- based on a mosaic pattern I saw. The samples should work wonderfully with other fabrics I already have. Yesterday, Menachem and I went to Perth to check out the winter damage at camp. There wasn't any visible damage except for the raccoons who apparently have moved into the Beit Tarbut (rec hall) again...
But on the 3.5 hour trip in each direction, I had time to think about the technical aspects of doing the art quilt and think I may have solved one of my dilemmas.

We also visited Dee, my quilting guru. She is quilting my first quilt and has finished it except for the borders. It looks quite striking. She is coming into Toronto next Friday evening for a camp board meeting and I wouldn't be surprised if she brings it with her. And then I will have to bind it. Et voila. It only took two years to finish...

Saturday, I am spending the day with Lola, a quilting friend from Israel who I haven't met personally yet. We had originally made plans to go to Cock-a-doodle Quilts and then down to Queen Street to the buttons/beads/fabrics/ribbon stores but while surfing, I found out that there's a quilt show in Newmarket and I think she may enjoy that more. The creative needlework and craft festival is also on this weekend so maybe we'll go there Sunday. It will take some creative scheduling because Menachem has his first Raptors playoff game on Saturday and a camp meeting on Sunday.

And I've received the go-ahead for Alana's tallit. I want to buy fabric and trims -- on the trip, I had several ideas about how to make it. I'm just waiting for Alana to tell me what kind of a design she wants and her colour choices. She had orginally chosen lavender but I'm not sure I'll be able to find it in duppioni. I actually thought of make stripes using duppioni, organza, lace and ribbons between them. I'll have to run it by her, although I think she's pretty easy in that respect.

Anyways, off to work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dry Spell

I am going through a dry spell, creatively. Probably because I am not sleeping well and am just too tired in the morning and evenings, before and after work, to stitch.
Dee, my quilt guru, was in over the weekend for a Hashomer Hatzair board meeting which was held in the restaurant of the Novotel North York Hotel. I took my projects along and after the meeting ended, we laid out the wonky quilt on the restaurant floor for her critique. The concensus is that I will rip out the borders and this summer, when we get together, she will show me how to stabilize the quilt edges before adding the borders.
I have been pondering making fabric boxes. I downloaded three patterns for paper folded boxes and made the first one. I debated whether a box made from two layers of fabric sandwiching wonder-under would be sufficiently rigid. It isn't. So my next try will be with stiffer stuff -- Pellon or similar. I am still trying to figure out the mechanics but have an idea.
Anyways, I'm off to work shortly so will cut this post short.

Friday, April 06, 2007

For lo the winter is past

Ha ha. It snowed yesterday and there's flurries today. And it is cold.
I have been sick for a few days with cold/flu symptoms and this weather is very conducive to staying indoors and catching up.

The sdarim are over and were both lovely. The first night was chez nous and we had 16 people: the usual suspects minus Alissa and family plus Roi and Nicole. Roi (one of my father's former pupils) and his wife, Nicole, came in from Pittsburgh and stayed with us so that was an additional pleasure.
The preparations were relaxed, the seder itself was relaxed and the clean-up was also not terribly daunting.

The second seder we went to Alissa's. Also very, very nice. It was just family -- Alissa and Mel, Sari and David, Johanna, Matty, Aunty Ethel, my mother, Devora and Noam, and Menachem and me. So we were able to carry on conversations without too much hoo ha.

I had been feeling lousy off and on since before Pesach, running nose, itchy eyes, headache, but it developed into fever and chills, so I stayed home Wednesday and yesterday and slept off and on during the daytime and even during the night (something I haven't been doing recently). Today I'm better insofar as fever goes but I think it may be developing into a sinus infection so I'm going to take it easy for the next few days.

This morning, feeling better, I went into my studio to stitch a little. I'm almost almost finished the Heschel piece. I just have to sew on the hanging sleeve, attach a label (still trying to decide what it should say) and perhaps a few bobble and beads at the bottom corners.

I have more or lest finished my UFOs and am now into my WIPs. I want to finish the challah cover, two more cq pink squares and a few other pieced pieces (another blue Auf Simchas trio, and two more pink/purple Auf Simchas trios. I have the Inbal quilt tops to finish, sandwich and quilt, and some other things floating around.

So, that said, I'm off to stitch. And because it is Good Friday and the Easter weekend, there is the most fabulous liturgical music on the radio. Relaxation at its best.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Gefilte fish and tsimmes

One of the reasons I blog is to keep my children who live an ocean away up to date on what's going on in the parental unit's life.

It is erev erev Pesach and we are preparing for the Seder tomorrow evening which will be at our house. I actually started cleaning last week -- cleaning of the heavy-duty once a year variety. I continued yesterday and today.

This morning Menachem made gefilte fish, using his late mother's recipe. While he was "putchking" with the fish, I, as sous chef, peeled a ton of carrots for the tsimmes. So now the fish, tsimmes and vegetarian clear soup are ready, the dining table has been extended, the Pesach dishes have been washed, the list of things to do tomorrow is ready and we're relaxing, sort of, for the rest of the day. Menachem and Yunkie have a basketball game this evening.

Tomorrow, Menachem will make Pesach meringue cookies, chicken with prunes, baked potatoes and yams, roasted vegetables, and a fruit platter. (My mother is bringing her veal roast which, according to the family's carnivores, is delicious, Devora is bringing a salad, Mindy is bringing ratatouille, and Bat-Sheva is bring bits and bites for dessert. And my mother is bringing compote, the traditional anti-dote to matza overload...

We love having the family over but it's always a little sad for us because our kids are so far away...
We are having company, though. One of my father's pupils and his wife, Roi and Nicole, are coming for the Seder from Pittsburgh. Although Nicole has family in Toronto, they have cats and Roi is allergic. So they'll be staying with us. They should be coming this evening.

Anyways, I'm off to nap. I have a cold and it's making me tired.

Chag Sameach to whomever may be reading.
I haven't been in my studio for a while. I haven't been sleeping well so I have trouble getting up early to stitch in the morning and am too tired to stitch in the evening...
Oh well. Hopefully this too shall pass.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Free motion quilting

I have been struggling with free-motion quilting the borders around a cq piece I made. I am not happy with the results and have already ripped out stitches twice. Thankfully, the fabric is forgiving and doesn't show needle marks.

I have been trying to do the fmq free-hand and it just doesn't work for me. I'm finally at a point where the top and bottom stitches are OK and stitch length OK but the pattern isn't.

I will give it one more try, using a pattern I print onto tissue paper which I will attach to the fabric. Either it works or it doesn't. I will not rip out stitches again (on this piece...)

Note to self: take a course in fmq and stop complaining.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Visuals from my last post

These are the two projects I finished from my UFO's which I wrote about in my previous post.

This morning I finished the hanging sleeve on Sari's Auf Simchas and I will give it to Alissa when we visit there later today.

Yesterday afternoon we had a call from Mintzy. Steven (Stephen?) was supposed to come into town yesterday but couldn't. She had made too much food -- would we like to come for dinner? Never being one to turn down a free meal, we said yes and had a lovely evening. Mintzy's cousins, Silka and Al, were there and we laughed a lot. This is a good thing. We didn't get home until 10:30. Not terribly late by general standards, but I'm usually in bed by 8... And this was my third late night in a row.
Busy day today. I am off to my studio to decide which project to pick up next.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Time flies

So, I finished the four brothers. I did simple straight quilting in lines around the perimeter of the centre piece. I did the felt applique several years ago. Since then, I have changed the way I do things. If I had done it more recently, it would have had a different background, been more creatively embellished. However, it turned out quite nicely.

I also finished off a crazy quilt block. This block is one which I should have abandonned after piecing. I wasn't happy with the colour combination. Then I wasn't overly happy with the embellishments because the colour combination limited the colours I could use to get a good contrast. I chose for the border a very colourful print which instead of setting off the centre makes the piece look like one big busy mess. But did I know when I had had enough and quit? No, I soldiered on to the bitter end. I free-motion quilted the borders and as much as I adjusted, the bottom stitches are not even and look awful, but they'll face the wall, right? I sewed on a binding from a fabric which was too thick. And I haven't quite got the binding business under control so there are place where the binding is wider than others.
I shall hang this piece in my studio as a reminder how not to do stuff and as incentive to do better!! BUT I did finish it.

Then I picked up my stalled challah cover. I strip-pieced it ages ago because I thought I would use it for my Pomegranate Guild project. I have had it sandwiched and ready to quilt for quite a while. I wanted to free motion quilt it but chickened out after the first row of stitches which I promptly ripped out. This week, I decided to try out my sewing machine's double needle. The top stitches looked great, the bottom, chalushes, so again I ripped. I think I will try again this weekend. Not sure yet how but I do want to finish it.

Is it obvious that I'm trying to finish my UFO's? Another few weeks and I'll be able to start in on new projects.

I was at the Toronto Art Show at the Metro Convention Centre last night. I saw some interesting fabric related work and other work which inspired me. I took home lots of cards but am not sure I remember which is which... I am writing down their info so that if I ever want to refer to it, I don't have to pull out a gazillion cards.

One artist does landscape painting with fabric snippets. From afar, it actually looks like an oil painting. Only when you get up close do you see the details of tiny pieces of fabric. I think it was Diane Stewart www.shafleyandstewart.com.

Adrianna Steele-Card uses a combination of fabric, fibres and home-made recycled papers to create whimsical collages. www.peaceofmindcreations.com. And she lives not far from Perth so I said I may drop in on her this summer.

Alice Vander Vennen does interesting collages with fabric, metal, found objects, etc. www.alicevandervennen.ca.

Nahid Mrandi does sculpted figures of silk on painted backgrounds. www.nahidart.com

Stephanie Ford Forrester does all hand sewn applique. I was impressed by her even stitches but I don't think they were the size "required" by hand quilters. Still, lots of colour and interesting design. www.stephaniefordforrester.ca

Of course, most of the art wasn't fabric art but afforded lots of ideas about colour and design. In fact, I saw a work in mosaic glass tiles that I am thinking about adapting into a quilted wall hanging. www.filippetti.ca

And stuff which there's no way (I think) I could adapt into my work but still unusual and inspiring such as aluminum bas-relief www.josettemorency.com , paper collage www.janeteglas.com , painting with wonderful colour and imagery www.kojour.ca and this one which I'm not sure her media but I liked the colours, shapes and forms www.monikaaebischer.com.

So that's what I did this week. This evening, we are going to dinner at Boujadi, our favourite Moroccan restaurant, with Joanne. Tomorrow, I'm not sure. I'd like to get over to Yunkie and Mindy's to give Jeremy his birthday present and speak to Alanna about a tallit if she still wants one. Sunday, we have an engagement open house for my friend, Nira's daughter and then we're meeting Alissa and Mel for coffee, either at their place or out somewhere if Mel is feeling up to it. And Sunday night there's classic Israeli folk dancing and I may just join Menachem.
And of course, a little stitching over the weekend never hurts.

Til the next time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More stuff done

So, I put the pieces of my second robe quilt together. I haven't done the borders. I am going to take out Terry's instructions and follow them to the letter. If they work (and they should), then I will concede defeat, rip out the borders of the first quilt and redo them.

In the meantime, I sandwiched and free-motion quilted another cq block. Now I just have to sew on the binding. Free-motion and I are not friends. I think I need to take a course. I've practiced but it just doesn't come out right. Oh it's OK because the stitch colour is mostly hidden in the background fabric. But I'm still not totally happy.

I also am making progress on the four brothers from the Hagaddah. I sewed borders around the felt piece. I printed from the Hagaddah onto fabric (well, I actually typed in Hebrew into word, enlarged to the desired size and printed onto fabric attached to freezer papter). I am not debating how to attach the printed fabric onto the top and bottom borders and whether to quilt the piece before or after I attach the printed fabric. I tend to think quilt first, attach second.

So I'm on a roll with finishing off stuff. I still have to sew a sleeve onto Sari and David's wedding cq.
I have to sandwich and quilt the piece I made for Heschel. And I have several cq embellishing projects in holding pattern.

And since Pesach is approaching, I am trying to do my spring cleaning and re-organizing/re-arranging.

I had a birthday last week and all three of my children phoned which was very nice. I didn't do anything special to celebrate. DH was all ready to take me out to dinner but I was pooped so we ordered pizza and stayed home. I had bought myself a tooth bonding procedure earlier in the week so that's my birthday present to myself...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I wanted to make something for the Pomegranate Guild's 25th anniversary. The theme is "Threads of Identity". I also wanted to finish some UFOs. So I multi-tasked. I took an unfinished embellished felt applique piece I had made fixed a problem or two, and finished it with a quilted border.

The piece is based on a photo of my maternal grandfather and my brother at our family Pesach seder many years ago. I tried to make it even more "Pesachdik" by adding several Jewish elements: the "ke'ara" (Passover plate), a matza cover based on the one I use, which was made by my paternal grandmother, and a hagaddah with the passage "avadim hayinu" in Hebrew printed onto fabric. I also considered putting a wine stain on the tablecloth...

There is a very slight resemblance between my grandfather and my brother in the photo and the appliqued figures but I think it is more warm fuzzy memories at play.

What do you think?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Winter storm

Yesterday we had a winter storm. Well, actually it started Thursday afternoon. The drive home which usually takes 15-20 minutes took close to two hours. I get a lift to and from work from my sister and brother-in-law who live near me. We were about 2 minutes drive from my house, stopped at the lights and the traffic wasn't moving. In the end, I told them to drop me off there and turn back to their house. It took me less time to walk the rest of the way than it would have to be driven.

Friday morning at about 2 a.m., the power went off. Many trees fell in the storm and took the power lines with them. When I woke up, there was no power and it was snowing/sleeting/freezing raining/raining so we decided not to go into work. Which might have been great if the power had been on. Because when the power is off: a) no electrical appliances (kettle, microwave, toaster, tv, radio, I'm sure you get the picture) and b) the furnace doesn't work i.e. no heat and c) no sewing machine!!

Fortunately, we have a gas range so at least we could boil water for coffee and later made soup.

I do have a hand-cranked sewing machine but haven't used it for at least 30 years and was too lazy to open it, set it up, etc. So I decided to do hand sewing work. I used to do felt applique and had a piece based on a family photograph I had started but never knew how to finish it. Yesterday it came to me. I finished the hand detailing and when the power came back on at 2 p.m., I finished assembling and quilting the piece. Now I just have to sew on the binding. I will submit this piece for the Pomegranate Guild's 25th anniversary but I really haven't been keeping up so I don't know if they have all the pieces they need or are still open for more submissions.

And now off to ponder what my next project will be.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quilting Friends

Now that our computer has been rehabilitated, I can share photos of my IJQ quilting friends. On the left is my visit with Shulamit. She does lovely work and is now working on embellished crazy quilting. She also showed me some of her quilting projects. I was amazed when she told me that for many of the techniques she has done she simply followed instructions in magazines such as Quilting Arts. I am a very visual learner and usually have to have something demonstrated to me. I read instructions and blank.

This is a photo of my visit with Klara. She is an amazing artist and showed me some of her work and her studio. Earlier that day, I had been in Bustan Hagalil and seen some of her work which is on display in a museum/studio there.

This is a photo from my visit with Marlyn (to my left) and Sue and Terry in Terry's studio. The quilt in the background is one of Terry's.

From these visits, I came home inspired and set to work on Inbal's quilt whose top I have just completed. Please see the previous post for details.

I want to again thank my Israeli quilting friends for their encouragement and inspiration. They really made our trip most pleasurable.

Quilt Top Finished

This is the finished quilt top. It came out a little wonky -- some of the fabrics I used were stretchy.
The story behind the quilt? There is one fabric here which is from a robe I bought on the occasion of my daughter Inbal's birth 35 years ago. The fabric is a white background with a black, brown and yellow design. I tried to choose fabrics which either matched in colour, or had an interesting texture. So the bright yellow and the white, black and yellow fabric are waffled, and the solid black is corduroy.
I have yet to figure out how to quilt it. I will machine quilt but what kind of a pattern, I don't know. Also, I think it's a little too big for a crib quilt and the colours would probably scare a baby, so it will be a lap quilt.
And I may yet cut the border into wavy shapes as well.
Any suggestions how to make a wonky quilt less wonky?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


My quilt is breathtaking, if I do say so myself. I have finished piecing over half of the blocks and laid them out on the floor to see how it would look. I am so pleased. I think I will make two smaller quilts. I tried putting two blocks from the robe fabric in among the pieced blocks but they get swallowed up. Maybe if I give them a black border to set them off. Otherwise, I will leave them out. But I have used robe fabric in the piecing. And already have an idea to use the blocks in yet another quilt...

Our computer at home is sick with a virus and I'm not sure when (if) it will be well. In the meantime, I can't post photos but soon, I hope.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Inbal's quilt --started

Actually, I got started on Sunday. I made the cut out templates on freezer paper, ironed them onto the fabrics in stacks of three and four and started. I have three "lots" of fabrics and each lot will be 14 squares. The quilt calls for 48 squares. I plan to use 3 or 4 squares of the robe fabric as squares themselves (not pieced) and another 2-3 squares of light coloured fabric appliqued with robe motifs to make up the difference.

I started the first lot and finished half of the squares on Sunday. I finished the other half yesterday morning. I now have to stitch before and/or after my regular work day. I left work early yesterday. I took some sinus medication and I think a took a little too much and it just made me so drowsy. So following the instructions not to operate heavy machinery (i.e. my sewing machine) while using the medication.... I waited until the evening when I was awake to sew a few blocksk of lot 2. It is now 5:30 a.m. and I am waiting for DH to wake up so I can sew a few more.

At this rate, it should take me at least a week to piece the blocks. Hopefully I'll finish early this weekend and start playing at arranging them. I am having thoughts about making the blocks into several smaller quilts instead of one large, but I'll have to see where I am once I finish the blocks.

I also have to get back to the cq-ing. My work room is now set up so I have a separate areas for sane quilting and crazy quilting. It's just a matter of getting back into a routine.

Off to stitch.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I set myself a goal today of organizing my sewing room. Instead of having my three tables in a cluster in the centre of the room, I have arranged them against the walls. This gives me a feeling of more space and limits the surface space for mess.
I set up one table for cq-ing and another for fabric cutting. I have been using a folding wooden TV table for my sewing machine and I set up another one beside it to use as an ironing surface for when I'm assembling blocks, so I don't have to get up each time to iron after I sew a seam. We'll see how it works.

Although I had previously searched high and low for the strip scraps from my onion quilt, I hadn't searched high enough. I found them inside a box on top of my storage wall unit. I had an idea to make coasters. I may try that tomorrow. I want to shuffle and cut the pieces for my new quilt tomorrow also. Hopefully, the new and improved space will be conducive to creativity.

I am still jet-lagged but hoping to get back into a routine of stitching in the mornings and evenings.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm back

We returned a week ago from Israel. I have been so jet-lagged that I fall asleep early each afternoon/evening and wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. Before going away, I was usually in bed by 8, asleep by 9, and sometimes up at 2 or 3 a.m., so you could ask what's the difference... Energy is the difference. So I decided to give myself a week before I hop into my old routines.

I came back without energy but with plans to reorganize my sewing room and jump into several projects, hopefully this weekend.

Our primary reason for visiting Israel was to see our children, family and old friends. Dynamics have changed and change is always challenging. Aside from the children, family and old friends, I used this trip to meet "new" friends, of the internet and quilting variety. And came back energized and inspired.

So I'm jumping in with both feet and starting on a new quilt. It's based on a pattern in Karla Alexander's "Stack a New Deck". And it's special because I am using fabric from a robe I bought on the occasion of Inbal's birth (she'll be 35 in May...) and fabrics I've been collecting over the past two years in Perth, Toronto and Israel.

I started cutting up the fabrics (22 different patterns) this morning. I'm sure the piecing won't take more than a week or so, an hour here, an hour there. I'm excited. And I intend to quilt this one myself -- que sera sera.

I purchased all kinds of findings, ribbons, threads, stamps, etc. in Israel, received all kinds of the same from my new friends and hope to use them on my cq.

I also want to do a piece for the Pomegranate 25th anniversary exhibit. So I've got to get busy!!

I'll post my progress.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Off to, hopefully, sunny Israel

OK. So I'm squeezing in one final post before we go this evening.

Here are two more finished shadow boxes. The boxes were made by Menachem.

Yesterday I put together a six block naked blue and white quilt. This morning Menachem had to go the bank so he dropped me off on the way and I picked up a piece of velvet for the quilt borders. Then we went to the thread store for silk ribbons but the shop is closed Mondays. Bummer. I hope I can get silk ribbon in Israel. And we ordered the cab to take us to the airport.

This morning we packed and we're ready to go. A little confusion about what can go on the plane and what can't but hopefully there won't be any problems at the airport.

Off to stitch to kill time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My posts are getting farther and farther apart

I've just been too tired or busy to post daily.

We're going to Israel tomorrow so we've been busy getting ready (i.e. shopping for gifts and requests).
We finally finished most of the shopping yesterday and only had a few errands left for today.

Early this morning, I cut out and sewed six cq blocks, standard pattern, using blues and whites, royal blue and light blue duppioni silk left over from Dori's chuppah, navy blue a synthetic something from someone's shortened dress pants from a seamstress, and highly textured whites from Ruthie's wedding dress, Bat-Sheva's and mine.

Then we went to Mintzy's to borrow a suitcase. We usually travel with two suitcases each, filled with stuff for our kids and other people. This time, we have a little less to shlep and hopefully will be able to get away with two large suitcases. But we lent our suitcases to people who bought more than they had expected while here -- Ami in the summer and the kids when they visited. So I borrowed one from Mintzy. We usually return with at least one or two empty suitcases and this time shouldn't be any different.

Rotem had asked for some books which were only both available at Indigo Hwy & and Yonge. We picked those up and then went down to say goodbye to my mother.

Returned home and decided to sew this six cq blocks into a quilt. I don't have fabric yet to sew the borders -- I'll look for some in Israel, so I just zigzagged the edges in the meantime so the fabrics don't fray too much. Then I spent most of the afternoon arranging cq stuff to take with me to work on in Israel. I haven't finished that yet but am working on it.

I also am playing with the idea of making a cq wallhanging for the POM exhibition based on Shivat Haminim. I am still in the "thinking about it" stage but I sort of know what I want to do. I'll have to see if it can be done.

And I had some unfinished Pomegranate Guild business to take care of which I did.

So now it's 5 p.m. and my eyes are too tired to sew and I think I'm going to go watch mindless TV for a while...

I may post tomorrow, maybe even pictures, maybe not. Anyways, I will try to post with photos while I'm away but if not, at least I hope to take photos to post when I return.


My posts are getting farther and farther apart

I've just been too tired or busy to post daily.

We're going to Israel tomorrow so we've been busy getting ready (i.e. shopping for gifts and requests).
We finally finished most of the shopping yesterday and only had a few errands left for today.

Early this morning, I cut out and sewed six cq blocks, standard pattern, using blues and whites, royal blue and light blue duppioni silk left over from Dori's chuppah, navy blue a synthetic something from someone's shortened dress pants from a seamstress, and highly textured whites from Ruthie's wedding dress, Bat-Sheva's and mine.

Then we went to Mintzy's to borrow a suitcase. We usually travel with two suitcases each, filled with stuff for our kids and other people. This time, we have a little less to shlep and hopefully will be able to get away with two large suitcases. But we lent our suitcases to people who bought more than they had expected while here -- Ami in the summer and the kids when they visited. So I borrowed one from Mintzy. We usually return with at least one or two empty suitcases and this time shouldn't be any different.

Rotem had asked for some books which were only both available at Indigo Hwy & and Yonge. We picked those up and then went down to say goodbye to my mother.

Returned home and decided to sew this six cq blocks into a quilt. I don't have fabric yet to sew the borders -- I'll look for some in Israel, so I just zigzagged the edges in the meantime so the fabrics don't fray too much. Then I spent most of the afternoon arranging cq stuff to take with me to work on in Israel. I haven't finished that yet but am working on it.

I also am playing with the idea of making a cq wallhanging for the POM exhibition based on Shivat Haminim. I am still in the "thinking about it" stage but I sort of know what I want to do. I'll have to see if it can be done.

And I had some unfinished Pomegranate Guild business to take care of which I did.

So now it's 5 p.m. and my eyes are too tired to sew and I think I'm going to go watch mindless TV for a while...

I may post tomorrow, maybe even pictures, maybe not. Anyways, I will try to post with photos while I'm away but if not, at least I hope to take photos to post when I return.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fuschia & Hot Pink Shadow Box Series

Posted by Picasa I am working on a series of six shadow boxes. Why six? Because I used the same pattern and "shuffled" the colours. The fabrics are family fabrics -- the whites are from family wedding dresses, the pink moire from a wedding dress and the fuschia and hot pink dupionni silk are leftovers from Sari's chuppah.
I have three finished shadowboxes (I will post more later) and one almost finished. I actually had it in the frame but decided one area needed a bit more... The remaining two blocks are seam embroidered and I'm working now on the motifs.

I signed up for TAST -- Take a Stitch Tuesday, organized by Sharon Boggon of www.inaminuteago.com but am having trouble keeping up. Each week, she demonstrates a particular stitch and the challenge is to work on it, in any medium -- sampler, postcard, cq block -- and post the results on our blogs, flickr accounts,etc.

I am amazed by the creativity of some of the challenge participants. I started using a postcard format but it is just too limiting. I think I will change to sampler format. I will do a few row of straightforward stitching and then "borrow" the ideas of others to complete the sampler. So far there have only been three stitches so I should be able to catch up.

We are going to Israel next week to visit the children. There have been many changes in their lives recently and these changes are going to be a challenge to all of us. I am hoping I can be a supportive parent.

I am going to try to make this a fabric related excursion, seeing as many textile exhibits as possible and discovering new fabric/textile/findings sources. And meeting some of my internet textile friends. I will try to post from there a travelogue of sorts.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Herringbone stitch

Posted by PicasaThe challenge was to use the herringbone stitch. This 4" X 6" format has four seams.
The top seam is done with a double herringbone stitch, couched over a piece of ribbon. The bottom row of stitches is gold coloured perle cotton (haven't learned the numbers yet) and the top is a velvet thread.

The bottom seam is burgundy DMC or similar thread, three strands and has a gold mesh type thread woven through the stitches.

The top and bottom stitches I prefer because they are very precise in their size and shape.

The right hand seam is done in a copper DMC -type thread. I tried to make the stitches random in their height and width.

The left hand seam is done in a ribbon like thead, don't know what it's called. I made these stitches short and very close together.

I went outside of my "box" on the left and right seams and I guess that is what the challenge is all about. I don't like the results.

However, from the results of the other participants, I saw some lovely ideas and may just give them a try.

So thanks to Sharon for getting us started and all whose ideas enrich my own stitch repertoire.

Just under the wire

I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post. So much for my New Year's resolution to blog daily...
But I had a good excuse -- Rotem and Efrat were here for nine action-packed days. We went to St. Jacob's (centre of Mennonite quilting in Ontario) and Niagara Falls, and did the rounds of family and friends. It was fun.

I did get a little stitching done but just remembered on Saturday that it was week one of Take a Stitch Tuesday -- TAST for short. So I quickly did a 4" X 6" piece which I can't seem to find the photo image of right now. I will post it and my comments a little later.

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About Me

I am in my mid 50's, have been married (happily) for 38 years, have 3 adult children who live an ocean away... By day I am a legal secretary. The rest of the time I play with fabric but I still won't run with scissors...