Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Jelly Roll Rug Tips

After finishing up my commissions and developing my new patterns, I needed to do some fun sewing.  I had bought a Jelly Roll of fabric by Cherry Blossoms and I have been intrigued by these Jelly Roll rugs that are being posted all over instagram.  I watched a bunch of Youtube videos for tips and decided to take the plunge.

I bought the pattern and the recommended  stripped batting from Oh Sew Sally, an on line store. The rolls of batting are hard to find and you need 2 of them.

I started working on the rug with my DIL over Labor Day weekend with my DIL.  She was using an orange batik jelly roll that I brought back from Bali for her. The biggest challenge is that everything wants to twist.  Avoiding this was my challenge.
The first step is to sew all the strips together as if you were making binding.  I didn't change the order of the  strips from the Jelly Roll, but next time I think I would. 
A tip that I saw several times was to stack of these strips and either place them on your lap or the table in front of your machine.  Encasing the batting in the strips is very well explained in the pattern.  To keep the batting from twisting, I used my paper towel holder.
And these are all balls .  As I rolled mine, I untwisted the tube.
I was too busy to put the rug together while we were at the lake and I'm glad I waited until I got home where my sewing machine is recessed in a table.  The table supported the weight and I was able to fold and roll the rug as it got larger.

The rug ends up a little wonky and wavy no matter how carefully you stitch.  A good steaming at the end flattens it out.


I have read that people wash them in the washing machine with great success. 

 I can't wait to make another.


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Saturday, September 8, 2018

What happened to the Summer?

I just can't believe the school year has started and it's been a month since I wrote a blog post.  My summer was consumed with High Holiday Torah cover commissions that totaled 5 covers and creating patterns for a new line of Mosaics.  I shared the first 2 Torah covers that were sent to Germany HERE.

The next set of 3 were for a synagogue in Easton, MD requested by their Rabbi, Peter Hyman, who is a dear friend. They just built a new synagogue and the ark doors look like ocean waves, so they wanted some blue.


After delivering these 3 covers (some people call them mantles), I put all my effort into developing patterns for my new line of Midi Mosaics.  What are Midi Mosaics you ask?  They are a larger size of the Mini Mosaics.  The batik squares are the same 3/8" size, but the finished project is larger.  I'm saving them to unveil at the quilt show in Oaks that's starting on Thursday in Oaks, PA.  My booth # is 720.  Stop by and check them out.  There will be patterns and fabric kits.  Sorry for the secrecy.  After the show, they will become available in my Etsy shop over time.  Here's a sneak peek:



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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Groundhog Day

What is happening to the summer? I thought after I finished teaching in July that I could spend time creating and relaxing.  Ha! Although I have made it to two movies.  Two more than I went to all of last year! I saw The Book Club (eh!) and Mama Mia, Here We Go Again (fun!).  I was definitely surprised that you could reserve your seat and that seat was a recliner.

In between these two movies I have been working on new mosaic patterns that are larger and more complex and finishing the silk dupioni Torah Covers for Germany.  (Click on this link if you want to read about the origin of this commission.)
These are used from the start of the Jewish High Holidays through the holiday of the harvest, Sukkot.
Here's a close up of the applique panels.

 They sit on top of the torah scrolls


and they are constructed like a wrap around skirt with satin inside so they slide on and off easily


 inside is the dedication

When I think about the covers that I created finding their home in a synagogue in Germany, it gives me goose bumps.
Follow on BloglovinThe crazy thing is that now I have to do this all over again for a synagogue in Easton, Maryland.It does feel like the movie, Groundhog Day.






Wednesday, July 25, 2018

MAQ Recap

It's been almost 2 weeks since MAQ.  That doesn't mean that I've put everything away, but it has given me time to reflect and appreciate.  I just never thought that I would be in the position to do what I love as a job, to have women sign up to take classes with me, to reconnect with lots of people who have taken my classes in the past and to spend time with other professionals in the field that I am so lucky to call my friends.  So that's a summary of my time  at Mt Saint Mary's University with the Mid Appalachian Quilters.
I taught 3 classes - Silk Curvalicious Skinny Quilt, my new Medallion Mosaic and Mini Mosaic Quilts.  Sometimes I remember to take photos, but there is also Show & Tell on Saturday night to catch a view.
Day #1 Class : Silk Curvalicious Skinny Quilt

 Show & Tell


Day #2  Medallion Mosaic
This was its maiden voyage.  I was so excited to share it and more importantly to get feedback from my students.  Everyone made their own fabric choices and supplied their own fabric. I was curious to see what they chose. There was a minor problem that day. WE HAD NO AIR CONDITIONING!  But how could you be tooooo miserable when you're having so much fun?







Day #3  Mini Mosaic Quilts
Our new classroom.  I was moved to another building so that my classroom had A/C on Sunday.  Thanks to everyone who helped schlep all my stuff on Saturday night and made sure I was set up for the next day.

 Tiny Town transformed into a mountainside village!
Black eyed Susans
The dates for next year are July 12-14.  Go to www.MAQonline.org to sign up for info.

PS  The Torah covers for the synagogue in Germany are on their way.  According to tracking, they are in customs in Germany.  As soon as they receive them, I will share the rest of my process and the final photos.  Stay tuned.
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Monday, July 9, 2018

Who Is Scott Fortunoff and Why Should I care?

Last year soon after the wholesale Fall Quilt Market, there was an "earthquake" in the quilt world.  What we all thought was one of the most successful fabric manufacturing company, Free Spirit, was closing their doors. How could this happen we all wondered?  They were home to some of the most popular fabric designers - Tula Pink, Kaffe Fassett, Amy Buttler and on and on.  Not only were we surprised, but so were the designers themselves.  

Social media was a buzz as we waited to see what would happen to these talented designers.  Where would they land?  Would they each negotiate new contracts with other fabric companies?  And then, in the blink of an eye, Jaftex (owner of e Studio Fabrics, Henry Glass and others) swooped in and bought Free Spirit.  There are very few details as to the why and how, but Jaftex is doing everything in their power to deliver the fabric that was ordered by shops at Market as promptly as they can.

The face of Jaftex is Scott Fortunoff.  

Why should we care?  

Scott is Co-President of Free Spirit and is front and center and trying to be transparent and to start the #sew revolution.  It's his effort to strengthen the fabric industry.   He has a blog called
 "Tales of a Fourth Generation Textile Executive" and a facebook page.  He has frequent FB live events where he shows what it looks like behind the scenes of the fabric industry and what fabric we can expect to find in our local quilt shops. 

He has been visiting quilt shops for #sewdays, for Q&A's, along with giveaways.  He has even learned a little bit about sewing. Here he is visiting Ladyfingers and Gail Kessler.

The most impressive step he has taken is to give away sewing machines!!!  He wants to engage the young and make quilting available to those in need.  You can e-mail him if you are in  need of a machine or if you know of someone who does.  Over 100 lucky people have been gifted with a  new machine from him so far. What generosity!

I am very impressed with Scott.  We need someone like him who has the energy, enthusiasm and status to help our industry grow.  He is definitely worth watching on social media.  Maybe you can win something during his FB live broadcasts  or watch to see if he is coming to a quilt shop near you.
Let's support him!


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Monday, June 25, 2018

Quilting Immersion

Summertime is always a great time to expand our quilting skills.  Life is a little slower and there are some opportunities to immerse yourself with other quilters to learn new techniques from world renown teachers.  It can be anything from fabric dyeing to modern piecing to making art quilts.  I was reminded of this when Sarah Bond visited our quilt guild the other month.  On her "Growth List" was to spend time immersed with a single instructor.  And isn't it a dream to be able to leave the cooking, cleaning and family behind.

Recently, I started thinking about the retreats that I have attended and started making a list of these 5 day retreats in the US.  I have participated in a couple of them over the years.  I want to share them because maybe you'll have the means and the time to tale advantage to grow your quilting skills.  Accommodations range from college campuses to retreat centers to visiting the artists studio and staying in a hotel.  There's a lot to choose from and the roster of artist/instructors is constantly changing.

It may be too late for this year, but it's good to start planning and saving for next year. Take a look at the websites to see the selection of workshops.

Quilt Surface Design Symposiumwww,QSDS.com
4 sessions of workshops are held at the Columbus College of Art and Design in downtown Columbus, Ohio and accommodations are in their dorms.

2 sessions of workshops take place at the Onandaga Community College in Syracuse, NYLodging and meals are on the college campus.

Hudson River Valley Art Workshops http://www.fiberartworkshops.com/
There any many sessions throughout the year at this all in one workshop environment held at historic  Greenville Arms in the Hudson River Valley/ Catskill Mountain region of New York.

Fabric Dyeing and surface design workshops are held thought the year in their Fall River location.  You are responsible for your own lodging and meals.

Empty Spools Seminar:  http://www.emptyspoolsseminars.com/
Located on the picturesque Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.  Fee includes classes, lodging and meals.  Sewing machine rentals are available.

Crow Timber Frame Barn Art Retreatshttp://www.nancycrow.com/artretreats.html
Study with Nancy Crow or a limited selection of other artists in Central Ohio in Nancy's timber frame barn  retrofitted to accommodate quilters and or fabric/dyers.  Lunch and dinner are cooked and provided by a professional chef.

Located in the Napa Valley of California, Craft Napa offers several week-long retreats thoughout the year focusing on sewing, quilting and mixed media, organized by Pokey Bolton, past owner of Quilting Arts magazine.

Quilt Gallery: www.quiltgallery.net
Located in Kalispell, MT,not far from Glacier National Park, the Quilt Gallery offers  a variety of week long quilt retreats with internationally recognized instructors.  And if you've read this far, I am excited to share that I will be teaching Mini Mosaics there July 31-Aug4, 2019!!!! After learning the technique, you'll be able to design and  start to create your own with my help!!!

If I've missed any (and I'm sure I have), let me know and I'll add it to this list.


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Friday, June 15, 2018

My Summer Project

Last summer I had two commission requests.  They were both for High Holiday Torah Covers.  The requests were based on Torah covers I had made previously for a local synagogue.  


 I was so busy and consumed with my Mini Mosaic quilts and products that I was hesitant to accept these commission.  But one commission came from my favorite Rabbi's synagogue in Maryland.  He travelled all the way from MD to our place in the Poconos to marry my son.  How could I say no?  I couldn't. 
 The other request was from a synagogue in Germany.  They had found my Judaic work via the Internet.  We e-mailed back and forth a few times.  Frankly, I was hesitant because of my other commitments.  The woman who made the request was in the US visiting her daughter.  I tried to put her off.  I thought my fee would discourage her, but she was still interested, so I suggested we talk about what she envisioned. That phone conversation and this woman touched my heart and made me cry.  I could not control my emotions when  she recounted her journey about how she came to be involved with this synagogue that was built on the ashes of a synagogue that was burned to the ground by the Nazis.  About how she taught Russian Jews who left the Soviet Union in the late 1980's and early 1990's thanks to liberated emigration policies learn about being Jewish because they were forbidden to learn about their religion in Russia. How could I say no?
So, my summer project has begun. I will set aside my other projects, until I complete these Torah Covers, 5 of them. Every Torah that is used during the High Holidays need a special, plain(ish) cover.  The High Holidays start the evening of  September 9 th this year. 
I am starting with the covers for Germany since I need to ship them with plenty of time. 

And so I begin. I will share my process as I go.

The Torah covers are made from  white, off-white and cream colored luxurious silk dupioni.  I am a quilter, so I make them as if they were quilts. They need to last for many years.  Most Torah Covers are not made this way.  Lots of them are made from velvet or satin.

Step #1 for me is to quilt the top section with pomegranates - a very meaningful symbol.
I designed the quilting on a piece of paper that is the same size as the top section of the cover.
I placed a piece of clear Solvy over the drawing and traced it with a yellow soluble marker. Then I pin the Solvy to the silk.  Why did I use yellow? The Solvy is removed after quilting by tearing it off.  If there are any remnants left, it will disappear into the gold thread that I use for quilting.

After layering the silk with very low loft batting, muslin and the Solvy pattern, I free motion quilt with variegated rayon thread through all the layers.
 
I could never color within the lines:

 but the yellow lines were really a suggestion, so I didn't have to follow them exactly.  I could never quilt a balanced pomegranate design without it.
The next step is to remove the Solvy.  Frankly, it is my second least favorite step.  (You'll have to keep reading my blog for the summer to see what is my least favorite step in the construction!) I rip it off, trying to get off as much as possible.  This is what my discard pile looks like:

 It's nice to have a buddy cuddled up next to me while I'm doing this.  Now, I will use my very pointy tweezers to remove the last little bits and bobs that are still located in the tight quilting designs.

This is when I think that there should be a better way, but I can't think of it!
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