Quilt top sewn together!


It’s now sewn together. It was rather tricky because some squares got turned around, and I had to rip them out and do them over. I started at the top and sewed four-patches, then sewed the four-patches together. But it’s nine squares across so each row had an extra square.

I might call it Flying Birds of Paradise. I’m still thinking about names for it. I’m also thinking about how to quilt it.

Here are some detail shots. I love the unexpected yellow triangles.

image image image


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Mizrach quilting finished


I finally quilted the background. It now looks as if the background is pieced, but it’s not. I might sew some seed beads on this one, but otherwise it’s finished! Instead of a binding this one has a facing on the back. I’ve been so busy with the improv star that I haven’t even started my 12 x 12 for April.

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Almost finished, almost ready to sew it together


I’m almost finished with the layout for this quilt. Any day now I’m going to start sewing the squares together. I’m having a great time adding more little triangles, but I think I should stop really soon.

I’m wondering what to name this quilt, since I already have one called “Improv Star.” Looking at it last night, I saw the stars as either flying birds or as the flower, bird of paradise. Maybe I should call it “Birds? Of Paradise.” Leave me a comment if you have a name for this quilt.

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Breaking my own rules


I read somewhere, maybe from Kaffe Fassett that when designing a quilt, you should make up some rules to follow for that quilt. Then, to add surprise and make it more interesting, every so often, you should break the rules! For this quilt one of my rules is that the triangles are orange or red, and not the background yellow colors. I’m now breaking that rule in a few places. It’s pretty subtle, but definitely will make the quilt more interesting to look at. Yesterday I started breaking a different rule: that each square has no more than one triangle added to it. And then there’s the rule I’ve been breaking all along, that the background squares are yellow. I’ve been adding light orange background squares here and there from the beginning.

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Lots of progress on improv star!


I got more time to work on this today than I thought I would. See how much I accomplished!

I wanted to mention that one of the reasons why I don’t cut out all the squares at the beginning of a quilt is that my idea of which colors belong keeps changing. I also have no idea how many squares I will actually need, since I’m not working from a pattern. I enjoy making artistic decisions all throughout the quilting process.  I almost never design a quilt on paper or on the computer and then make exactly that quilt. I would find that really boring, although I know people who do it that way.

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Auditioning new fabric


I bought four new yellows at New Pieces. I’m auditioning them to see if they will play nicely with the colors already in this quilt. I’ve cut them into squares so that I can really see how they work. I decided that two of the four worked. Going from the left, the first and third fabrics are in. (The second fabric was too tan, and the fourth one was too bright a yellow, especially since it has white polka dots on it).


This is what it looks like now, at the end of the day. I’ve increased the size so that it’s nine squares across rather than eight. It’s Friday afternoon, and I need to stop now and make dinner. This weekend will be so busy that I may not sew again until Sunday evening.

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New improv star quilt


I’m working on another star quilt. I’m making it about 3′ x 3′. This will be my entry in the Berkeley Public Library quilt show. It’s not due until late April, so I do have enough time to finish it. This quilt will be mainly “stitch and flip” stars. I’m trying to decide if the two fabrics at the bottom will work in this quilt, or if they stick out like a sore thumb. The star at the bottom right I’ve already decided to delete from this quilt.

The library quilt show will be up from May 1 through June 4 at the central/main Berkeley library, on the second floor.

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The two classes I’m teaching!

Join me for two Lehrhaus classes:

 Beginning Israeli Folk Dance, and \ or

Exploring the Hamsa- A Hands on Workshop

At the JCC East Bay-1414 Walnut St, Berkeley, CA

Preregistration required. Go to http://www.lehrhaus.org $36/$18 JCC members for either class.

Beginning Israeli Folk Dance Sunday, March 19 from 11 AM – 1 PM

Come learn a variety of classic, easy to follow circle and line dances. Open to all, including adults, teens, and children ages 10 and up, with their parents, at the JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St, Berkeley, CA

Exploring the Hamsa: A Hands on Workshop-Sunday, April 23, 2 PM – 5 PM

A hamsa is a stylized hand for protection against the “evil eye,” frequently worn as jewelry. Made by both Jews and Muslims, hamsas are found all over the Middle East, but are older than either religion. Come learn about the folklore of hamsas and Jewish amulets, as we make them out of paper or fabric. Learn paper cutting techniques to make appliqués with fusible web backed fabric. No artistic talent or sewing is required to make stunning hamsa designs. The finished paper-cut hamsa can be framed, to hang on the wall, and a fabric hamsa can become a wall hanging, challah cover, or part of a quilt. $5 materials fee payable the day of the class.

If there is enough interest I will teach both of these again. Leave me a comment if you are interested in future classes.


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Mizrach is almost finished


I sewed a tight zigzag or satin stitch around each appliqué piece. I don’t always do that. Lately I’ve been sewing a straight stitch on the edges. The latticework is stitched with one needle, by eye, without drawing it first. I don’t know why, but I hate drawing lines on fabric that need to be erased. I’m going to do some more quilting in the background, and it will be done.

I have a lot of freezer paper templates from previous work. I looked through them when I was ready to cut the inner windows. Here are a bunch of them. Of course none of them was the right size, so I had to cut a new one.


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WIP which is now a “mizrach,” rather than an amulet


My daughter suggested I use the periwinkle on top of the dark blue, for the upper “window.” What a good idea! I had to cut out a new periwinkle piece as the other one was the wrong size, and I ruined it by trying to shave off bits from each side. I’ve decided that this one won’t be an amulet, but will be a mizrach, instead. Here’s what I wrote about mizrachim (that’s the plural of mizrach), for a previous mizrach quilt.

What is a mizrach? (For those who don’t know):

The word mizrach means “east” in Hebrew, and indicates the direction of Jerusalem. When Jews pray, we generally face east, towards Jerusalem. The custom of having a mizrach developed after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE). Diaspora Jews would leave a small portion of the eastern wall in their homes unfinished, with the bricks exposed. This served both to indicate the direction of Jerusalem and as way of mourning the destruction of the Temple. Over the years mizrachim evolved into a separate plaque, which was placed on the eastern wall, with the word “mizrach”, i.e. “east” on it.

Creating a mizrach is a wonderful opportunity for an artist, because it can portray any imagery. Also, mizrachim can be made out of any material, such as mosaic, beaded, wood, (fabric of course), or even water colors on paper. As long as a mizrach contains the word, mizrach, it’s “kosher.” I chose to depict middle eastern architecture, such as one might see in Jerusalem, because the essence of this custom is a longing for Jerusalem.



I wrote mizrach in Hebrew with a Micron pen. I practiced by writing it on the backing paper from the fusible web, which you can see in the first photo at the top of this post.


Here it is, all fused together. It’s 13″ x 13″ so that it can shrink during quilting, and still be 12″x 12.”


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