I’m working on a hand sewn 4 block cathedral window sample for the class I’m teaching at HelloStitch on June 10. In this photo I’m sewing 2 of the blocks together with a tight whip stitch. The nail clippers are because I’m on a trip, and I’ve had my sewing scissors confiscated in the past. This is a small, very doable project for traveling. The orange and yellow squares are to insert into the window between the blocks.
Here is a cathedral window pillow that I made in the 1980’s, entirely by hand. I hadn’t made one since then, but I’m teaching a class on how to make them at HelloStitch in June, so I’ve been researching them. A lot has changed since last time I made one. I found 5 different ways of making them: entirely by hand, 2 versions entirely by machine, and 2 that are a combination of hand and machine. I stayed up till 1:30 last night making a postcard sized one for the Berkeley Public Library’s quilt show. I made it entirely by machine, because I was in a hurry, and I wanted to see if I liked it by machine.
Here it is, above. I’m pretty pleased with it, but the craftsmanship is much higher when it’s done partly by hand.
Here’s one of the disappearing blocks that I forgot to post earlier. I’ve already cut it into nine equal squares. When you rearrange the pieces you can make a churn-dash. Churn-dash is the name of an old quilt block. If you looked at a butter churn from the top it might look like this. I think the dash is the part that moves up and down to churn the milk into butter. Here is a churn-dash with a pinwheel in the middle.
But you could rearrange the pieces so that the churn-dash was grey and the background was the purple dotted fabric. Or, you could change it into sort of a wagon wheel or wedding ring, with a pinwheel in the middle:
My friends at Bimbam made YouTube videos of me demonstrating how to make paper-cuts and mezuzot. Mezuzah making video here and Paper cutting royzelech or Jewish snowflakes, here. There will be more videos soon on things you can make for Passover.
I found a disappearing pinwheel block I’d never seen before on YouTube. It’s a basket! I made one and followed their suggestion to take a pinwheel from another block so that the “flower” on the basket would be a different color.
Since I’m on a basket theme, here’s an improvisational basket block I made recently. Here it is with the bias handle pinned on, ready to be stitched (by machine). It’s important to iron it after pinning it so that the fabric relaxes into the curved shape.
Here it is finished. In this photo it looks like ombre fabric, which would have been a great idea, but it’s not. I made a quilt with several baskets, a few years ago. You can see it here.
The great thing about helping with EBHQ’s workshops is that I’m taking classes outside my comfort zone, that I wouldn’t ordinarily have signed up for. That’s how I found myself spending two days with Nancy Brown, hand appliqueing a portrait of Milkshake, our family’s guinea pig. Here is the photo I started from:
I call this photo, “our curious morning ritual.” Almost every morning I weigh Milkshake, before feeding him his daily piece of carrot. Since guinea pigs are prey animals, it’s hard to tell when they are sick. (If a guinea pig acts sick or slows down, another animal might eat them). The two ways of telling when a guinea pig is sick is if they won’t eat a carrot, and if they are loosing weight. It’s also hard to tell if they are loosing weight without weighing them because they’re so fluffy. This is Milkshake in a Kleenex box, on top of our kitchen scale.
Here is the applique I spent two days working on. It’s still not finished. I need to add a table under the scale, and a background. I think I will use a button as an eye.
In the workshop, someone named Lynn was sitting across the table from me. The perfect black and white marbleized “fur” fabric came from her stash.
This is tracing paper, with the pattern I drew over my photo. I simplified it as I went along. Some of those pieces were just too small!
I’m teaching my Hamsa class again this Sunday in Berkeley at the JCCEB, 1414 walnut St. Here’s a link to sign up: https://catalog.lehrhaus.org/course/2018/winter/A150-BJ/ There is still lots of room in the class, but enough have signed up so that it won’t be cancelled. You could even just show up on Sunday!
Here’s the blurb from the Lehrhaus catalog:
EXPLORING THE HAMSA: A HANDS ON WORKSHOP
A hamsa is a stylized hand for protection against the “evil eye,” frequently worn as jewelry. Made by both Jews and Muslims, it is found all over the Middle East, but is older than either religion. Come learn about the folklore of hamsas and Jewish amulets, as we make them out of paper or fabric. The basics of paper-cutting, a traditional Jewish folk art, will also be taught. No artistic talent is required to make stunning hamsa designs. The finished papercut hamsa can be framed, to hang on the wall, and a fabric hamsa can become a wall hanging or a challah cover. Materials fee of $5 to instructor on the day of the class.
Date & time
Sunday March 4
2:00 – 5:00 pm
$36 for the public
$18 for members
Here’s the kind of hamsa you could learn how to make:
On Feb. 4 I taught a liberated star class at Hello Stitch. The name of the class was Very Variable Star. As I was making demo stars for the class, I wanted to see what would happen if I put a star inside a star, inside a star. I only had the first two made by the day of the class. There’s a saying, I think it’s in the Talmud, “I have learned much from my teachers, but more from my students.” The idea to do the largest star from ombre fabric came from one of my students, Mary Spadero. Thanks, Mary! I’m not going to make this any larger as it is already 39″ x 39″. Below are some of my students’ stars:
On the wall in the background are two quilts by Sujata Shah. Her show is still up at Hello Stitch if you want to see it.
Here’s the back of the disappearing hourglass quilt I finished recently. I put an hourglass block, cut into nine pieces to show the process on the back. I used a facing rather than a regular binding on this quilt. Look below for “First quilt finished in 2018,” to see the front.