Follow by Email

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Heritage Emerges - The Explanation

For years, I have had a strong pull towards Irish things and Jewish things. I could never understand this pull. I love Irish music. I love Irish knitting. I even knit in a way no one taught me. Eventually, I saw the way I knit in a book about Irish knits and there was a photo of a woman knitting in exactly the way I knit.

After doing some massive searching for my family history, I discovered my father's side of the family is Irish. I began to wonder about genetic memory. I had always considered St. Patrick's Day a great day if one was Irish and an excuse to get drunk if one was not. Thinking I wasn't Irish, I ignored the day. After I learned I was Irish, I discoverd St. Patrick's Day is a wonderful day if one is Irish.

I had the same sort of pull towards things Jewish. My grandmother always told me that her mother was born in Germany and she spoke Hoch Duetsch - a very gramatically proper form of German. But the very little German that my grandmother spoke sounded so "off" to me after I had learned German in college. I kept looking and discovered that the German my grandmother knew was if fact Yiddish.

I made this quilt in shades of green to honor my Irish heritage - a heritage that had been hidden from me for more than 30 years. I used two greens of equal value in making the star to show that my Jewish heritage had also been hidden from me. I used a darker value of green to show the discovery of my heritage.

I like the comments I received on the quilt and I appreciate all the input I received. The quilt is saying what I had hoped it would say.

Now.... I get to square up the quilt, put on the binding and the sleeve in the back. I haven't decided where I'm going to hang it yet.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Heritage Emerges - In Progress

The other night, I dreamed I was making this quilt. It was such an intriguing design I had to make it in real life.

My Heritage Emerges - Quilted

I know what I'm trying to say with this quilt.... I just don't know if I'm saying it. What does this quilt say to you?

Ballet Slippers

I wanted a pair of slippers I could put in a suit case and take with me for traveling. This is my first try at making ballet slippers. If I make another pair, I think I'll put a strap on them. I'm not used to the feel of having so little on my foot. I had picked up some nifty fairy frost fat quarters at a quilt show and used it for the outside of the slipper. The lining is some leftover fabric from a dress I made several years ago. I used Peltex for an interlining for the sole. I wanted something a little more substantial than two layers of fabric under my foot.

Latest Wood Turner Togs

Jim loves his long sleeved scrubs for turning wood. I made him two more long sleeved scrubs. You can't see the fancy thread or stitches, but they are there.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My maternal grandmother's mother was born in Dittersdorf, East Prussia. My grandmother had always told me her mother spoke Hoch Duetsch (High German). This is a very formal and gramatically correct German. Of course, until I went to college and studied German, the entire family only spoke English.

For years, I've wondered if my family on my mother's side weren't hidden Jews. I was sure I'd never find any definitive proof.

My grandmother told me what her grandmother would say they met. The words hurt my ears because the grammar was so awful. Earlier this year, I discovered that the phrase was actually Yiddish. I had been right; my family were hidden Jews. I made myself a menorah so I could celebrate Hannukah this year. Finally, 117 years after my family left East Prussia for New York, it's safe to be openly Jewish.

Red Mask, or Why You Shouldn't Take Photos Outside In The Afternoon

It's not a great mug, but it is a better mug

I was having problems throwing cylinders until I realized I was trying to pull the clay up too quickly. Once I slowed down, I threw a cylinder worthy of a handle. The eventual goal is to make a great hot cocoa mug. I attached a strange handle which actually feels good in my hand. I started playing around with carving texture into the outsides of mugs and bowls. This, too, is Pete's Copper Red.

Clay Makes The Best Bread Pans

I discovered long ago that bread made in a ceramic bread pan is far better than bread made in a metal pan. I also discovered I don't make very good handles. So... after making ugly handles on some bread pans, I tried a technique I read about in Pottery Making Illustrated. Jim pressed the cat's paw into wet clay (the cat wasn't real happy about that) and I attached a handle to the paw printed clay. Once fired, I pressed a lump of wet clay into the paw print. Then I attached the resulting paw to the bread pan with some slip. That gives the pot holders something to grap onto when I take the bread out of the oven. This is more of Pete's Copper Red.

Pete's Copper Red ^10 Glaze

I tried out a recipe for Pete's Copper Red ^10 glaze that I found in the Clayart archives. I wanted to have a for-real red glaze. Not something that might could be considered red or worse, some redish sort of brown. I made 40 tiles and got some kiln surprises. I had discovered earlier that a heavy application of the glaze makes for a yummy red and a thin application makes for a clear glaze. I had thought these tiles would be solid red, but instead the red is mostly where I pressed leaf patterns into the wet clay. I like this look far better than I thought I'd like the look of all red. The tiles will eventually go into a table for behind my desk at work. I use my laptop at work, but the electrical outlet isn't where I need it to be.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Wood Turner's New Clothes

Jim has been wanting a wood turning smock that would keep the chips out of his pockets and off his arms. I found a long-sleeved scrub pattern (Kwick Sew) and made him the top. This particular pattern makes an extra long top, which works well for Jim's wood turning. There's some fun fancy stitching with gold metallic thread, but you can't see it in the photos. Jim says the top works really well and the only place the chips stick is to the cuffs which are made from ribbed knit.