why I don't fly with a sewing machine

This time was an exception because my daughter doesn't sew and I couldn't imagine spending a month without sewing. So I packed my little Brother into my carry-on and flew north from the Palm Beach Airport. Today I am flying out of Newark. I have been TSA precheck for years, so I don't have to take off my shoes or my jacket. I wrapped my sewing machine in bubble wrap and a sweatshirt, put my laptop into the bag, and headed for security. Oops! They stopped my red bag. "It's a sewing machine," I said. Unimpressed, the took the bag off the counter and said they had to inspect it. They said they couldn't see it because my laptop was next to it. As they reached for the machine, I yelled "NO! You

a quick NY visit

Before I headed to the Hudson Valley I spent the weekend in the City dressed in two sweatshirts and a borrowed down jacked. And SOCKS. I never wear socks! But it was a bit nippy last Saturday. On the way from the Port Authority bus terminal to the subway, I walked through what was once the heart of the Garment District. Sadly, there were too many once-thriving fabric stores with signs like these. I spent Friday night and part of Saturday in Brooklyn, with Jessica, Tommy, and Miss Emma, who is a whirling dervish. She stopped whirling for a minute so Jessica could take a few pictures of us. You can see what a terrible time we were having. After Emma's dance lesson I headed for the Up

packing up the quilts

I came to New Jersey almost a month ago to teach at two guilds and it doesn't seem possible that I'm leaving to go back to Florida in two days. I thought a month would be long, but it has flown! Two lectures and three days of teaching later; bookended with visits to my dentist and to my kids, grands, and old friends, I am heading to warm weather. One of the joys of being here was that I was able to drive to the Hudson Valley to visit my friend Susan and to see Usha. What a joy! One of the classes I taught to the more traditional guild was "modern quilts from old blocks." It was only a one day class - but it was enough to get the group started slicing up the uglies and making them better.

Happiness is a day in NY

It has been waaaaaay too long since I've been in the City. Not that easy when you live in Florida -- but I'm in NJ now, so yesterday was a treat. Weekend after this one I'll be back in NY visiting my daughter Jessica and family, and my Gillman kids. But that's another post. Yesterday, Hilary and I drove into the city and parked on the roof of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Here was my first view -- one I never tire of. What a wonderful building! We planned to see a Broadway show, sw we walked up to the TKTS booth near Lincoln Center - a brisk 20 block walk (that's a NY mile), to buy tickets at a discount. When you stand in line, you start chatting with the people around you The woman in

quilt zen

While Friday's improv rectangle class was a creative challenge in terms of value and composition, Saturday's "Go Fly a Kite" class had less of a learning curve and was the perfect way to relax on a weekend day. Crista, who loves to work in black, gray, and white, came into class with yesterday's quilt -- finished!! And here's what was on the wall today: a consistent palette! The photo doesn't really do justice to the monochromatic neutrals. Yes, the no-ruler cutting was new to the people who hadn't taken the first class. And yes, they were hesitant at first. As much as improv is a tenet of modern quilting, there are still a lot of modern quilters who have only ever used patterns, rulers, and

rectangle improv-

It was so good to be teaching at my home guild: North Jersey Modern Quilt Guild, which my friend Aleeda and I founded some five years ago (although it could be six and feels like forever). I was so happy to see old friends and to meet new members I hadn't known before today. Most of them had never worked improvisationally, but you would never guess it by looking at their work! The guidelines were simple: work in a limited palette of light-medium-dark values, start with rectangles, and do whatever you'd like with them. Design on the wall (the hard work, as I mentioned in my last post). I didn't get pictures of everything before the pieces were taken off the design walls. All were still

rectangles & more rectangles

I've spent half the day auditioning compositions with my rectangle variations. THIS is the part that is SO HARD! Pulling fabrics, slicing, sewing (and repeating - along with ripping, at times) is the fun part. But working on the wall is the work part -- an exercise for the eye and for the brain. As always, my smart phone is my best friend and as I work, I take photos. If I even rearrange one or two elements, click goes the phone again. This is so I can remember what I did when what I redid doesn't please me. Yes, half the day! The temptation to say @$#&%*** ## and sew the pieces togetheris looming large, because I am tired. But when I show you the various permutations and tell you I am

have sewing machine, will travel

Not normally, but there's an exception to everything. I flew once with my sewing machine and swore I would never do it again, after the TSA insisted on taking it out of my carry-on and practically disassembling it to find whatever nefarious item they thought it might contain. "It's a SEWING MACHINE!!!" I said -- to no avail. But this time, I would be gone for a month and could not imagine being without a machine. So I brought my little Brother, wrapped in bubble wrap and a bath towel -- and this time, nobody blinked an eye. The difference between flying out of Newark and flying out of Palm Beach, I suppose. I am trying to fit in time to play with fabrics and sew in between the dentist, th

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019
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