Hand applique pet portrait

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:

photo of Milkshake for portrait

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.

milkshake in progress

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.

tracing paper Milkshake

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!

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Hamsa class this Sunday!

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:


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.


# Sessions
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:
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Star class and quilts


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.

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Back of hourglass quilt

hourglass back

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.

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VIC quilts

Axis Mundi

This one is called Axis Mundi: Jacob’s Ladder.

Improv Stars

This one is Improv Stars.

These are the two quilts I’m entering in Voices In Cloth this year. The first is guaranteed to get in, and the second will get in if there is enough room. I will also have several small pieces hanging on the “Workshop Wall”. This is a spot for projects that were started in an EBHQ workshop. Since I’m the co-chair of workshops this year, I get to go to all of them for free.

In other news two other quilts of mine were rejected by QuiltCon, the show of the Modern Quilt Guild, of which I am a member. If you search #QuiltCon Reject, you will find hundreds of amazingly beautiful quilts that were also rejected. I guess I’m in good company.

Here are photos of the two “rejected”quilts:

C & J Wedding Quilt 2015

C & J Wedding Quilt 2015

Orange Is the New Purple 2015

Orange Is the New Purple 2015

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First quilt finished in 2018

D. Hourglass

This was supposed to be the last quilt of 2017. Instead it’s the first quilt of 2018. It’s a disappearing hourglass block. The photo isn’t very good, but at least you can see the quilting stitches. On the back is an hourglass block cut into nine pieces, to show the process. I’ll add a photo of that as soon as I take one. This quilt won’t be hanging in the EBHQ Voices In Cloth quilt show, because I need it for my demo about disappearing blocks during the show. This quilt is square, I just took the photo at a weird angle.

Here is a link to one of my blog posts about how to make and cut up Disappearing hourglass blocks.

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What I’m working on…


The deadline for submitting pieces for Voices In Cloth is approaching. I’ve been busy finishing various projects. I rarely sew garments but sewing an apron seemed doable. I examined several that I’ve acquired over the years. I liked the shape of the basic butcher’s apron. The two I own are made of cotton that’s thicker than quilting cotton- more like canvas or home-dec fabric. This made me think of Marimekko fabric, which is the thickness I was looking for. I have some Marimekko fabric that was part of my mother’s fabric stash. She wasn’t a quilter but she made dresses out of Marimekko. I found a 2 yard piece of brown and orange that I sewed into an apron, remarkably quickly. I modeled it on the ones I own, but I added ruffles on the bottom edge. I usually run into trouble when I try to sew garments, but since this one was so simple, I didn’t mess up. I’m looking forward to baking my mom’s apple tart, while wearing her fabric, which was clearly intended to be a dress for her.

I’m also entering two quilts in the show, and several small projects on the Workshop Wall.

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Sujata inspired place-mat or very small quilt

Sujata placemat]

I’m hoping to finish another quilt that’s larger than 12″ x 12″ before 2017 ends. Meanwhile I finished this place-mat which I started in Sujata Shah’s EBHQ workshop. This is the block she calls crossroads. I’m also working on finishing a small disappearing hourglass quilt. More about that in my next post.

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A few Gee’s Bend quilts at the de Young Museum

I went to the de Young Museum, Sunday. It was great- no crowds of people, no traffic, and lots of parking spaces. There are some quilts there that the museum has purchased from Gee’s Bend quilters and from a local African American quilter. I had a great time at the museum with my husband and daughters, although I was the only one interested in the quilts. Here are some photos:

image image image image image

Its hard to to pick a favorite, they each have lovely details.

The third quilt is by Rosie Lee Tompkins, a quilter whom Eli Leon wrote about.

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Magic squares

magic squaresHere is a block called magic squares, also from the Mac Attack workshop  at New Pieces. This is a tessellation.  All four of the pieces in each block are identical.

I must have rearranged the pieces as I was sewing them together. There was supposed to be a teal pinwheel in the center, between the red one and the orange one. I like it this way too. I was in a hurry when I sewed it together. I had missed almost two hours of the workshop when I went home to let in the furnace repair guy. I dashed back and tried to absorb everything I’d missed as fast as possible.

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