Saturday, July 30, 2011


My future DIL is a master knitter.  She was a yarn sales rep when my son first met her.  The knitting world has an amazing website,, that contains everything about knitting. It lists blogs, patterns and tutorials.   When it was first launched, you had to be invited to be part of the community.  (Check it out if you like to knit.) Loren was invited and was very active.  She had a blog and was known as the Surley Purler. Life has moved on for her and she has found that working a more than full time job, running a household and having a fiance leaves little time for blogging and knitting.  She has found a bit of time for quilting with her future MIL - hooray!

Last week, when she was machine quilting her quilt (see previous post),we were chatting and she wanted to know why I didn't have my patterns available to download.  She told me there are many times she comes across a pattern, likes it, and downloads it on an impulse. Who has the time? I told her when she leaves her full time job, she can come work for me and she can upload my patterns to be sold as e-patterns.  Hahahahaha! (I didn't tell her that I couldn't pay her.)

So you know when someone puts a thought in your head and it vegitates and ruminates and grows?  And I recently received a newsletter with a website that my friend had mentioned.  I checked out
It is an amazing place.  You must check it out. It is the ultimate in immediate gratification.   I don't know how many patterns are listed, but one of mine has now "joined the club".  Search for menorah.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Loren's First Quilt

This photo was taken in April 2010.  The start of Loren's first quilt.

And this photo was taken today:

Way to go Loren - my future DIL.

And Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Interview With American Patchwork & Quilting

I was interviewed by Maria Charbonneaux of American Patchwork & Quilting a few months ago for a column called Global Perspectives, which is on the last page of their magazine. It is in the October issue, which believe it or not should be available any day.

Well, Maria and I had so much fun chatting, that there was just too much to include in the magazine.  She just published what didn't fit on their blog and you can read it here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Houston Here We Come

The International Quilt Festival is the largest quilt Show in the US.  It is held at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston and over 60,000 quilters attended last year.  It takes a few days to see the entire show including the competition quilts, special exhibits and vendors.  (Oh I love vendors.) Your brain gets overwhelmed with all the sensory input.

I am proud to say that my "Filigree Fantasy" quilt will be hanging there this year.  It was inspired by all the beautiful wrought iron doors and balconies that I saw on a trip to Barcelona.
It measures 63" square and I machine quilted it.  It will be amazing to have it hanging next to some of the most beautiful quilts in the world.  Click on it for a larger image.

In addition to my quilt being at Houston, our guild's Alzheimer Challenge quilts will also be there.  And they will be for sale along with a bunch of other Priority Alzheimer quilts.  Woo Hoo!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Need a Printer For Fabric?

Many quilters ask me which brand of printer I recommend for printing on fabric.  I have only one recommendation - Epson with DuraBrite ink.  Why is it my favorite?  Most printer inks will wash out.  The exception is Epson's DuraBrite ink. This makes it suitable for printing on any cotton fabric. Another plus for the Epson printer is that there are 3 separate cartridges that comprise the colored ink.

I just had to share this.  There's a great sale going on now. Epson Stylus NX420 Inkjet Multifunction Printer that uses this permanent ink is on sale at Staples or on-line for $59.99. Normally it's $99.99.   It is also wireless.  You can't beat that price. I bought one to save as a back-up.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dupioni Silk

I love dupioni silk.  It is made in India and has the most beautiful sheen.  It also has slubs that give it a wonderful texture. It is a little tricky to work with.  One of the keys is a new, sharp rotary cutter blade.  Sometimes it needs to be stabilized with  a woven iron- on interfacing, but this is not always necessary.

I have been commissioned to make an ark curtain (parochet) for Temple B'Nai Israel in Easton, MD.  (The ark is where the torahs are kept.) The design was just approved.  It is my summer project.  The curtain will be made completely from dupioni silk.  So the first step for me was to head to the garment district in NYC to buy my palette of silk.   The curtain is 5' wide and over 70" high, so I need lots of it.  I ended up buying 23 colors.  Doesn't it look yummy?

My next mission was to have a slice of NYC pizza.  I grew up on Long Island, NY. Because my Mother kept a Kosher home, I had never tried pizza until I went out to eat with friends in high school.  What kid doesn't like pizza?  I loved it.  So to me, NY pizza is the best pizza anywhere.  I haven't had a slice in a really long time.  Although I was tempted by a "designer" pizza, I chose to stick with real pizza! ( Forgive the exposure please - it was dark.)  It did not disappoint.  I wish you could smell it.  I am drooling as I write.

It's often intimidating to start a new project, especially one of this size and importance.  So today I finally prepared the fabric foundation and started cutting the red silk into strips. There are 4 different colors.  It looks like tagliatelle to me. 

Stay tuned to watch this project come together.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kopel Gurwin

My friend Kelly of Pinkadotquilts sent me a link to a blog she follows.  She thought a particular post might interest me.  She really knows me.  I was introduced to the late artist, Kopel Gurwin and I am mesmerized by his work. So thank you to Kelly and Brenda.  You can find Brenda's post here:
She found a piece of his work at a local synagogue.  She has some wonderful close-up photos.  You can see them on her blog.

Kopel Gurwin's work, not only interests me because of the Judaic theme, but because he created his textile art from felt using a hand blanket stitch.  He was born in Poland in 1923 and survived imprisonment in concentration camps during WWII.  He lived in Sweden for a few years and then immigrated to Israel.  He studied art in Jerusalem at The Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. He was a painter and a graphic artist.   Felt tapestries with biblical themes became his means of expression.  He died in 1990.

The next piece that I found was on ebay.  It is a Jewish wedding canopy.  I happen to have a huge interest in wedding canopies right now because I am planning on making one for my son's upcoming wedding.  I love the idea of being married under the image of these birds kissing entwined in a heart. Gurwin's use of Hebrew letters as part of the design also fascinates me.
The Sound of Joy, The Sound of Gladness, The Voice of the Groom, The Voice of the Bride.
Here's another piece:

You can see these  next 2 pieces at The Lions Gallery:

King Solomon

Here's another e-bay find:

David and Jonathan
This last tapestry was created to celebrate Israeli Independence in 1968 and was used to create a celebratory poster.  The lions represent Israel.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston

My family immigrated to the US from a mixture of  Eastern European countries at the turn of the 20th century fleeing religious persecution. Coming from that part of the world, they were Ashkenazi Jews. They came to the United States through Ellis Island.  It is a stone's throw from the Statue of Liberty.  In my case, my grandparents came here as children.  They lived on the lower east side of New York City and ended up marrying someone from their neighborhood and raising their families in Brooklyn.  That was the place to be.  My parents met and married and "moved on up" to Long Island.  I grew up in a town called North Woodmere and attended a high school that was predominantly Jewish.  Most of our grandparents were from Brooklyn via Ellis Island.  To me, this was the Jewish experience.
Imagine my surprise when I went for a tour of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim during our trip to Charleston.  This synagogue was founded in 1749.The Jews that immigrated to Charleston, fleeing the Spanish Inquisition,  came from London, the West Indies, Germany and the Netherlands. They were Sephardic Jews with slightly different traditions than what I grew up with.  The most surprising thing was that Charleston was the birthplace of Reform Judaism in the United States in 1824 and that they were an integral part of the history of Charleston. Almost 2 dozen congregants served in the War of Independence. 

The original sanctuary was built in 1794, but burned to the ground in the great Charleston fire of 1838.  It was rebuilt in 1840 and is now the second oldest synagogue building in the US.  I could feel the history as I entered the sanctuary.  The ceiling was a work of art.

And there were so many other nice details.

   Many synagogues have a gift shop where many Jewish items are sold.  It serves 2 purposes.  One is it offers us the opportunity to purchase Judaica.  It also is a means to raise some funds.  I found some of the most beautiful ritual art in KKBE's gift shop.  My favorite was this marriage license, called a ketubah:

I loved the triangles along the top and bottom edges, but what I loved the most was the saying:
"I have found the one in whom my soul delights".  Isn't that what marriage should be about?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

They Are Like Potato Chips

One more Priority Alzheimer's Quilt. 

I love these flower shaped sequins. 
The words are handstitched using pearl cotton and the back stitch.

Now I have to stop procrastinating and work on an article that I promised to write for The Quilt Life.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another Challenge Quilt

 I am a member of the challenge committee for our quilt guild, so I thought I needed to make another sample to share.  I wanted to try something contemporary. I chose hydrangeas as my color inspiration and used batiks and silks. 

I also wanted a sample to show our members the fast finish triangles to put on the back as an alternative to a sleeve, for an easy hanging solution.  You can find the directions on the Alzheimer's quilt site.  Click here.

The Priority Alzheimer Quilts are auctioned during the first 10 days of the month.  The auction for July has started.  If you are thinking about participating by making a Priority Alzheimer quilt, check it out to see what people are doing.  Or, maybe you just want to buy one.  (Our guild's quilts won't be auctioned until the end of the year.)   This link will take you there: