The Quilter: Quilting with Malke

Posts Tagged ‘Family

Posted on: August 11, 2011

Our mom has not been posting recently because she is really unwell. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you!

I was asked a while ago if I would be willing to be interviewed for an article on Jewish Women in Business and here are excerpts of some of my answers:

What inspired you to create your business? I had just moved into a new house in a new neighborhood and was in between having babies; and a friend of mine who also sewed a lot approached me and asked if I would like to open a sewing store in my basement, foolishly, I agreed.

Were there any areas where you discovered tricks to cut costs? If so, where and how? I started giving classes so that I could save on the cost of a teacher, even though teaching is not my favorite thing to do.  We also are more careful in our ordering pattern. We order to restock sold notions but order new fabrics not more than once a month.  We also moved from a store front bck to my house so tha I could cut down in the rent and other commercial obligations.

Have you encountered any challenges specifically relating to your being an Orthodox Jewish women business owner? Not so much challenges as venues that I cannot participate in because I choose to be orthodox.

If so, how did/do you deal with the challenge? I do not participate in the many shabbos venues for quilters.

What advice can you offer other Orthodox Jewish Women entrepreneurs? Realize that being a woman today is not what will make or break a business.  Being orthodox puts many restrictions on you but you can compensate by working harder and manuvering around the system.  Know your business inside and out, network, and most importantly, take some business courses.

How do you maintain a work-life balance, juggling the roles of a business owner and mother?  Although any job outside of the home is stressful, if your goal is to work for pleasure because you love what youre doing, you can manage.  I love to run my business most of the time.  I have also been given the golden opportunity to work with my children.  They were always with me when they were small and when they got old enough, the girls work for me, either full or part time, and the boys help with stock when they could leave yeshiva.

I’m taking off a day from work today with 2 of my daughters to go to Manhattan to find material for Blima’s wedding.  She wants the color purple for all the family and I’m happy to report if you don’t already know that purple is a hot color this season.  I think I’m too old to actually wear all purple (I’ll feel like a huge grape) but a shade of it will work for me.  I usually provide dresses for all the grandgirls and I’m happy to report that was already taken care of!  We are now trying to decide if all the guys should wear purple ties (or socks—  just joking) or just buttoneers. They seem to be balking at the buttoneers, but I’ll just threaten them a little more. 😉

It’s so funny how something as trivial as a hug can mean so much. On Sunday I went to work for the first time in a while and was happily given hugs by some of my dear quilting friends.  Thank you all for the lift!

We recently had our annual Hanukah party and it certainly was easier for me this year.  No one let me do anything, no cooking, no preparing, no clean up!  That’s the way to do it. All my kids that live in NY and NJ came with their kids and we had a very full house.  I am now broke again because I give each one of my grandchildren $8 and there are more and more of them every year, thank G-d.

Mazal Tov!! For all of you that know my daughter, Blima [and for those of you who don’t, too bad on you], she got engaged Wed. night.  He went the whole hog and hired a violinist and asked her on one knee.  She is very happy and plans to get married in early March.  That just means that the mother, moi, has to start getting busy making her gown because I’ve made them for all my other daughters and she wants one, too. Dumb me.

I’m happily playing with my postcards and will post the new ones.  I do have a confession to make though- I have become obsessed!  I am making a large quilt that needs 1/4″ square triangles, lots of them.  Since I can’t do much more than sit in my lounge chair (I’m doing so well…), I sat yesterday cutting off all the dog ears.  I had this nice huge pile on my work surface and they were all green.  I started handling them and was struck with the idea of making some snippet postcards, too.  as I’m playing, my husband is cleaning the kitchen and brings me 2 handfuls of scraps from the floor and asks me what to do with them.  I begged him to save me from myself and he should throw everything out right away so I don’t have to agonize about how small a piece I should save. Let’s face it: it is getting ridiculous!  How small to YOU keep?  And better yet, for how long and do you really every use it all up????

I’ve been trying to keep up with a ‘block of the month’ group, but so far I haven’t been too successful.  Instead of making one of each block, I thought I would be real bright and make 2, so I would have 2 more quilts to give to the grandkids [since I don’t think I will ever really catch up].  Only problem: I misplaced everything in the mess of a sewing room I have.  I started cleaning last week hoping that I’d find everything soon since the meeting is next Sunday.  I read somewhere that one should beware of a quilter that is cleaning her room; it means she is planning to move out!  I found the bag in the second to the last corner.  When I excitedly showed my husband, he commented: “does this mean you aren’t going to clean your room anymore?”  RIGHT!  Guess what I’ll be doing all night tonight?  Show you both finished projects the end of December.

Our Monthly Raffle is finally back! The prize is a $5 gift card to my store, Sew Materialistic, or a $5 coupon off your next purchase online @ www.sewmaterialistic.com. In order to enter please post a comment, ”like” the page, and suggest our Facebook page to a friend. Thanks!

I used to hear my husband laughing hysterically everytime he went to bathroom. He was reading this book: Anthology of Jewish Humor… That’s why I made the quilt: to remember that going to the bathroom CAN be funny!

Here is the rest of the story:

I started creating this Mendel & Zelda quilt waaay back in 1992, though I didn’t finish it until 2002. The story is copied from Anthology of Jewish Humor and handwritten on the quilt. Pictures are from The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. Edges of the couples were finished with puff paint done by my son’s friend’s mother, a professional “yarmulka” artist (she decorated Jewish little boy’s skullcaps). I spent $10 for her steady hand, beautiful work and no headache for me!

And in case you were curious about my husband and my sense of humor, here is an exerpt from the book: 😉 enjoy!

What is a landlord? A bore! He asks you one question all the time-rent! What is rent? A fine you pay for being poor.  What is poverty? Dirt-on the surface. What is riches? More dirt-under the surface. Everybody wants money. Money! What is money? A disease we like to catch but not spread.

“Did you marry me or hire me?” asked Zelde.
“I stole you, now I have to pay the penalty.”
What is love? A conquest. What is marriage? An inquest. Don’t worry, your father was no fool. He made believe he didn’t see us run away. We felt romantic and he got off cheap.

What is romance? Soap bubbles. They look nice, but taste rotten. What’s a woman’s tongue? A little dog’s tail.  It wags too much! What is a dowry? Every man’s price.

Everyone thinks (and hopes!) they are different and unique.  We all want to feel that we maybe are a little bit different than the next guy.  So, I was sitting and eating my brunch at work, which I very often do, and a young girl of about 11 said she also eats Cheerios with chocolate chips.  Now imagine my utter suprise! I always thought only my kids and I did that!  And here was a perfect stranger saying she loved to eat her Cheerios with chocolate chips!  Maybe she was stolen at birth?

I was busy doing my own quilting on the porch of my daughter’s summer home, when my curious grandkids asked what I was doing. Then they of course wanted to make a quilt, too! CB ,who is 8 yrs old, free formed the quilt and did it all herself, except for the stitching and bling (she cut out the pieces with Wonder Under and ironed it down). L, who is 6 yrs old, drew a picture of what he wanted on a paper, then traced it on the Wonder Under. He picked his own fabrics which I helped him cut out,  he did the placements and I did the stitching.

L’s quilt
CB’s quilt

I took the quilts home to finish quilting in Brooklyn and kept getting phone calls when I was going to be done.  They get them back within the week…

Didn’t they do a great job?!

The recycler has struck again!  This time it’s a shirt she made for Tully out of one of her old ones.  I still can’t figure out how she did the sizing, but I guess if there is a will there is a way.  And he’s so cute it doesn’t matter what he has on anyway… I’m an unbiased granma you realize 😉

Repurposed Shirt

“A shirt I made for T. out of a shirt of mine that I hardly ever wore. I copied the basic shape from a shirt of his, though since I cut it a wee bit too short I had to add the “onsie” bit to it. Now the problem is that the white from the onsie shows up over his pants when he moves too much, so I made him a belt and hopefully that will do the trick.”

Repurposed Shirt Collar

“My next mistake, though it ended up giving more character to the shirt, was that I cut the collar too short for the neck hole… I had to add the piece with the button that you see. But I do like the way it came out! However, life would be so much easier with out having to constantly fix mistakes! Do it right the first time!!”

Repurposed Shirt- Modeled

My daughter is the original recycler- this is a project she made from an old recycled denim skirt:

Denim Skirt Bag Front

“This is the bag I made out of the top of a denim skirt that needed to be desperately thrown out. I had cut it off the skirt a few years ago and only now finally made s/t with it, so I was a bit limited with the size and all.”

Denim Skirt Bag Back

“All the outside pockets can be used; the back one I use for my cell phone. The handle is nylon webbing attached to a padded strap from a laptop bag- but covered with cotton velvet and topstitched with a decorative stitch (I only have about 4 of them on my machine :-/)”

Denim Skirt Bag Inside

“Inside I used a loose weave cotton (I had bought for a wrap, but didn’t work out) lined with a waterproof nylon fabric for the four pockets- all different sizes, two with velcro closures. The top closure is with two size #5 zippers, opening from the center, so the fly of the skirt/bag can still be opened 🙂 (for no other reason, except I thought it would be cool!)”

Reinventing denim clothing is very popular and I hope you readers out there will share one of your projects, too!!

Good and not so good news.  If you’ve been keeping up with this blog than you know that Blima got engaged and I was busy with her dress and chupa[wedding canopy].  Blima has since broken off her engagement so now I have so much more time on my hands to reorganize my long suffering sewing room.  I finally got all the shelves up and it is really starting to look good.  I’ll take a picture when it’s finished.  I’m soo proud.

I took a group of ladies; Cecelia, Alzaida, Claudia, and Chava to the Somerset Quilt Show on Friday.  We were all tired out after the long day and I think everyone had a good time.  For some of the ladies, this was there first show!  I’m hoping to schedule another trip for May.  If anyone is interested in joining us, please email the store.

Sorry for not posting in so long.  Life has intruded.  My grandson and great nephew both had bar mitzvahs and a grand-daughter became engaged.  I get to get busy and make another chupa quilt.  This one I’ve been working on for 5 years thinking I had plenty of time.  Not any more!  I will also be starting another round of chemo and would appreciate it if you all keep me in mind in your prayers.

To all my friends and customers I would like to wish a healthy, happy, and productive new year.

Somebody, who will remain anonymous, sent me this wonderful letter.

“This may not quite qualify as ‘quiltresting’ or as material you would want to share with your readership, but I MUST share it with you!

I just heard about you, ironically, (or perphaps not) from my work colleague. He just called me and we were talking about the fact that my youngest daughter will be leaving for seminary soon and we will be “empty-nesters”. I told him I have taken an interest in quilting and hope that this will help keep me busy while I’m missing my baby!! Who would have guessed that he would be a source for quilting information!! He told me his brother-in-law’s mother (ME!) has a quilt shop in Brooklyn, a website, etc., and he told me about the Holocaust Quilt!! Before I hung up the phone I found the website, the blogs, etc. and I was THRILLED!!

I am the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor (I created a website that you may like to have a look at: http://www.jewsoflatvia.com) and was very interested in seeing the quilt for so many reasons. My mother is an avid quilter who is ALWAYS quilting or crocheting blankets for the Linus Project. I, on the other hand, am a complete novice but have discovered crazy quilts and really want to get started with a sampler.  I finally found the pictures of your Holocaust Quilt by scrolling down in your blog and I was totally blown away. It is the most moving and soul-stirring quilt I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing.

So funny and amazingly wonderful how by mentioning a little something to him (which, by the way, while I was saying it I was thinking – now why would he be at all interested in hearing about my foray into quilting!) could lead me to this treasure trove!

As an aside, my older daughter lives in Washington Heights and I already told her about your store. She said she has a cousin (a wonderful artist) and aunt (from her husband’s side) who were interested in learning quilting, so I will definitely send them to your store! I think they live in Queens, but I will definitely pass on the info.

You are a real inspiration and your work is incredible!! Thank you for sharing it with the world!! Absolutely beautiful!”

Here is a better picture of my daughter’s chupa that I made.

CHUPPAH QUILT

CHUPPAH QUILT

My daughter sent me a picture of her husband using the “Moby Wrap” with her son.  I guess it’s a unisex wrap with that neutral black color.  No excuses dads!

Unisex Moby Wrap

Unisex Moby Wrap

Here is the picture of the quilt I created for my daughter’s Chupa.  It was part of the “ceiling” of the Chupa.

Quilt for Chupa

Quilt for Chupa

The wedding finally came and passed (more on that another time).  Below is a picture of my daughter in the wedding dress I made!  Yay!

Wedding Dress (My Daughter also!)

Wedding Dress (My Daughter also!)

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on my Holocaust Quilt.   Thank you.  It’s a very precious project to me.

We’ve been very busy with alot of happy occasions in the past month. my daughter-in-law had a boy, her third. my daughter had her first baby, a boy.  For us that meant 2 circumcisions. one was in Lakewood NJ and one in Cleveland Ohio. we also had Passover which is always a well attended affair in my house.  My son in highland park made a bar mitzvah for his second son and that was a weekend affair.  My daughter came in from Argentina and we are happily busy with her.  Tomorrow night we are having an affair for redeeming the first born. on may 13 my daughter is getting married. Oh what fun!!!!  But exhausting.

If given the choice between sewing [even with a deadline, my daughters dress] or quilting, there is’nt much of a toss up.  But since I have to justify quilting instead of sewing, I got involved into making a chupa for her.  A chupa is a covering that jewish brides and grooms have over their heads during the ceremony.  I wanted to try the Ricky Tims kaleidescope.  It came out beautiful!  I gave it to our longarm quilter to finish and now its full-time on the bridal gown!

When I finished the holocaust quilt, and put in the last stitch, I sat back and announced that I finally finished my life’s work. my youngest daughter was sitting there and said quite innocently, “I thought we were your life’s work!”

How true, they all are, and I thank G-d for them everyday. But this quilt is important to me, too, because it tells the story of my mother’s family during the Holocaust. As a religious Jew, who lost most of my family during that time, the naysayers (deniers, revisionists etc) hit a very sensitive cord in me.

How could someone say it all never happened when just from one family so many perished? But the point of the quilt is not about the loss but, rather, how many of us survive today to prove that we are still here and the master race is no longer.

Front of my Holocaust Quilt

Front of my Holocaust Quilt

The back of my Holocaust Quilt

The back of my Holocaust Quilt

The quilt represents my family’s struggle and triumph. The back of the quilt shows the darkness, on the bottom, with the names of those who were killed and then it blends to the light, on top, with the names who survived, and their children, grand-children and great grand-children.

All the live ballots, absentee ballots, oversea ballots, hanging chad ballots and all other ballots have been counted and we have a winner to the 2009 Challenge Quilt Contest!

Madi #4 Sweet Dreams!

Runnerup is Susan #9 “New York Mosaic

Thank you to all of you who voted in my quilting store and online and thank you to ALL of the entries!  They were all fantastic!

“New York Mosaic” by Susan
“The first thing that struck me when I moved to NY from the Midwest, almost 30 years ago, was the non-stop motion everywhere, the lack of patience and the need for everyone behind me to be somewhere else five minutes ago, if not esterday.  To me, NY is a true mosaic, not a melting pot, with each person a unique part of the whole.  This quilt is based on the subway tile station mosaic motifs, trying to incorporate motion, people, landmarks, traffic and some of the many things NY is know for: finance, communication, entertainment, food, etc.”
2009 Challenge Quilt New York Mosaic

2009 Challenge Quilt New York Mosaic

Reference This Post

“The Maze” By Merri
“Out path starts at the hospital [the bottom subway map starts at a hospital] and ends at the cemetery [the top subway map is the cemetery]. Along the way our loved ones watch over us.”
The Maze 2009 Challenge Quilt

The Maze 2009 Challenge Quilt

Update on the wedding dress: The hardest part for me is making the first muslin fit.  Thank G-d that’s finished and I’ve made the lining ready for Yehudis’s wedding dress.  Today I cut into the fabric!

I’ve gotten some emails asking for an update of my original post, so here goes:

Yehudis (my daughter) has decided on the style and then presented me with the sketch assuming I would firgure it out.  She wants a “corset look” from under her bust to below the waist with princess line for the skirt.  We are now up to the point of deciding if we should either put in a bust dart or gather.  I made the muslin and put in the boning so that she could see what it will look like.  I’m not concerned about the skirt because she just wants it very full and simple.  We bought a Vera Wang embroidered winter white silk.  The train is what will make the dress because it is the most interesting part, but I’m very far from that point.

Please share your thoughts!

My youngest daughter became engaged this week so I will be busy preparing for her wedding.  She plans on getting married May 13, 2009.  That doesn’t leave me a lot of time to make her dress!  It started with my oldest daughter, she is a phenomenal sewer and wanted to make her own dress but I heard it was bad luck so we made a deal that I would make her’s and she would make mine.

Little did I know that that would snowball into a tradition and I am now on my fifth wedding gown (only they don’t reciprocate and make my dress!).  She bought her material and designed her dress and now I’m going to have to figure out how to make it.  I can sew but I’m not a professional and do not know how to drape sew.  I will try to write about my progress and would happily accept advice.

Attached is picture of the tallis bag my daughter made for her husband. It was supposed to be his wedding present, but she is quite happy that she finally was able to give it to him by his second b-day that she knows him!!

It is the monogram from their wedding (eagle= adler in german). It is made by piece-work with ultrasuede and embroidered with variegated and metallic coats & clark thread. The bag is brown velvet and lined with vinyl-like fabric.

Tallis Bag

Tallis Bag


Hi, I’m Malke

I've been a quilter for a couple of decades and I decided to share my quilts, methods, joys and thoughts on quilting with the rest of the blogsphere. Please bookmark my blog by clicking the cute "Add This" button below. Read more on the "About Me" page.

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