Asheville hamsa class part 2

In the hamsa class I also taught them how to make royzelach (Jewish snowflakes that have a Magen David in the center) for the holiday of Shavuot. Royzelach is the word for roses in Yiddish. According to midrash when we received the Torah at Mt. Sinai, it was with all our senses. There was thunder, lightning, and the smell of roses. There was a tradition in Eastern Europe to decorate their homes with flowers for Shavuot, or to cut these “roses” out of paper and glue them in their windows.

NC 1

Above is my example which I cut out in class.

NC 2

This is my hamsa example.

NC 3NC 4

These are the students with their royzelach.

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Hamsa class at Beth Israel in Asheville, NC

While I was in Asheville visiting my sister, I taught a paper-cut hamsa class at Congregation Beth Israel. Here are some of the students’ work.

Hamsa class 1

Hamsa class 2

Hamsa class 4Hamsa class 5

The next two are from students who didn’t want their faces photographed.

Hamsa class 3Hamsa class 6


Here’s the description of the class:

Paper-cut Hamsa Workshop

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, as we make them out of paper. Learn the basics of paper-cutting, a traditional Jewish folk art. We will cut out our hamsas with scissors, and/or Exacto knives for accuracy, then glue them to a background. No artistic talent is required to make stunning hamsa designs. The finished paper-cut hamsa can be framed, to hang on the wall.

The workshop lasts for two hours. Materials fee of $5 to the instructor.

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The other ladder

Here’s the fairy door and ladder I made, installed on the tree in front of our house.

fairy doorfairy door.1

wood ladder.2


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A tale of two ladders

Ladder process

I seem to have ladders on the brain right now. I’m piecing a ladder into my Lone Robin quilt. Prompt #4 is roads, paths, ladders, and steps. Each space between the  rungs on this ladder is at least 1/4 inch closer together than the previous one, as if they are smaller, receding into the distance. I’m also making a tiny ladder out of sticks to go with the fairy door I made for the tree outside our house.

wood ladder.2Here’s the door I made from popsicle sticks and my twig ladder, ready for installation on the tree. The Sharpie is for scale, so you can see how tiny it is. If you double click on the image you will see the cord I wrapped around each twig of the ladder.

fabric ladder.1

Here is the process of piecing the ladder into the background.

fabric ladder.2

Here’s the ladder sewn together. I’m not sure if I’m done with it. I might change it.

#lonerobinquilt #ebhq_quilters #ebhqlonerobinquilt #sfqg




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Lone Robin 2021

I’m running behind in this year’s Lone Robin. However, I worked on it for a few days, and now I’m working on the current  prompt.

Julia created the Lone Robin for the SF Quilt Guild. With her permission, I’m running it for EBHQ. Here’s all the info on it from Julia McLeod. My photos are below this introduction.

The first Lone Robin Challenge was devised in 2020 to entertain members of the San Francisco Quilters Guild during the Covid 19 pandemic. The 2021 (second) Lone Robin Challenge runs for 6 months – February thru July 2021. August is a catch-up month.

Part mystery quilt, part Round Robin, quilters are given monthly prompts and very few rules to make a quilt of their own. Month by month, round by round, we build our quilts alone in the safety of our own sewing rooms.

The Lone Robin Challenge can be responded to in many ways – with traditional quilt blocks, modern motifs, skillful fabric choices, appliqué or embroidery. Use a motif once or repeat it multiple times; play with contrasting scale, color and contrast. Each round can be any size. Your finished quilt top can be any dimension.

There is only one firm rule: Each month’s work must attach to the previous month’s piece. For example: what you create for March should attach in some way – even if only on one side or in one small area – to what you made in February. Traditional quilters can build a medallion quilt where each round clearly follows on from the one before. Modern, art and improv quilters can create any kind of composition but we should be able to see where the first component/motif is followed by the second and so forth.

  • The first prompt for the month of February 2021, for your central block or first section is POINTS. A star, a windmill, pinwheels, zig zags or thorns all fit this theme; any ‘pointy’ motif or pattern. Your starting ‘POINTS’ block could be as tiny as 2” square. There are no rules about dimensions.
  • The second prompt for the month of March 2021 is STRIP PIECING. Create a border, a strip, a large panel or a tiny block that uses the technique of strip piecing. You may end up with stripes, piano keys, squares or a checkerboard. This is an efficient technique which ever way you slice it!
  • Prompt number three for the month of April 2021 is ORGANIC. Now that spring is here, think vines, leaves, blossoms and blooms – or even water and waves. Anything with curves rather than right-angles. Set aside your ruler this month and let this round unfold organically. Remember, each round can be as large or as small as you like. Go for a traditional medallion or just make a panel to attach to whatever you’ve made so far. I find the challenge of this exercise is to respond to what you’ve already made. And to do this knowing you have no idea what comes next. Even if you’re making a traditional-looking quilt, this is really an adventure in improvisation. Have fun!
  • Our Fourth Lone Robin prompt is ROADS, PATHS, LADDERS AND STEPS. This sends me to my old-school quilting block books. I love names of traditional blocks that reference movement and journeys. Jinny Beyer’s 1979 book ‘Patchwork Patterns’ is timeless. For those non-traditional quilters, just use this cue as inspiration. Your next round should show us your chosen route, however you take it.


This is prompt #1 Points.


Prompt #2 Strip Piecing.


Here are some process phots of Prompt #3 Organic.

LRin process3

LR in process3.1

Prompt #3 finished.

LR 3 finished

I deliberately left the right side empty. I’m planning on adding a ladder in orange on blue to that side for prompt #4. I don’t know what prompt #5 is yet, but I can add it just to the top edge, just to the bottom edge, or to both top and bottom.










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My first quilt

my first quikt

Here’s a detail of my first quilt:

my first quilt.1

On Thursday, 5/13/21 at the EBHQ Zoom Meet Up meeting, one of the activities will be participants sharing their first quilts. Here is mine. I started this quilt at age 13, when I was inspired by seeing a neighbor’s Victorian crazy quilt. Mine is mostly pieced by hand, although the blocks are sewn together by machine. There were no quilters in my family, so I taught myself, making it up as I went along. I didn’t know about the sew and flip method, so most of the crazy patches are appliqued to each other. I ripped up an old bed sheet as a foundation. There is a lot of hand embroidery all over it too. It took me 5 years to make that first quilt. I finished it just in time to take it with me to cover my dorm bed at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I earned a BFA in ceramics.


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Log cabin quilted!

Log cabin quilted but not bound

If you double click on the photo it will get bigger. I’m done with the quilting! Now I need to put the binding on it. I’m going with a facing rather than a traditional binding. That’s where all the binding is folded to the back so that you don’t see it on the front.

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quilting my inprov log cabin

log cabin.3

I’m working on quilting this log cabin. I’m not marking any lines. I don’t have a plan yet. I’m quilting a few lines with a walking foot, and then that gives me an idea of what to try next. I’m thinking about doing triangular spirals in the triangles around the “on point” log cabin. Below is a detail.

log cabin.4

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Improv Log Cabin


I’m working on this log cabin quilt. In my previous post I mentioned that I thought this quilt needed a tiny orange square in the upper left corner. I could have fused a square on top, but instead I took it apart and sewed in an orange square. I looked at it and regretted that the square wasn’t higher up. So I sewed another orange rectangle above it.


Here is what it looks like now.  I regret that I deliberately made it wonky. I’m thinking of doing it over with a straighter rectangle. I might sleep on this decision and see how I feel in the morning.


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Looking at a WIP (Work in Progress)

Log cabin WIP

When does a WIP become a UFO (Unfinished Fabric Object)? I haven’t worked on this improv Log Cabin in many months. I was deleting photos on my phone and came across it. When I stopped working on it I was trying to decide if it was done or not. Today I looked at it and decided that it needs at least one more tiny orange square in the upper left! I think that will help the eyes to travel around the quilt better.

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