Dayneu Quilts: The Zen Circle

A year plus ago, I made the commitment to a 10 Year plan which helped me to zero in on the need to have a one person show- as a kind of summation of My Patchwork Life. This, my seventh one person exhibition, including fourteen quilts following its chapters, will occur in the fall of 2024 right here on the Southside at the BrewHouse. The exhibition, entitled DAYNEU. is taken from the Hebrew word meaning IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH.

The first quilt in this series is about A. TRUTH and based on quilts with circles. In Zen practice the circle, ensō, Ensō (円相) is a universal expression of wholeness, our true and innermost self in a myriad of things from reality to enlightenment. 

Creating circles in patchwork is particularly challenging. Making clothing, I learned to set-in sleeves. In my early days of piecing, I applied these sewing principles to traditional drunkard paths and double wedding rings. Working with tee shirts, I got the innovative idea to take advantage of the stretch of the fabric to create free-form circles without patterns. This became the key technique to create many of my angels.

To start the quilt, my biggest problem was what materials to use. Go to my favorite online quilt shop? Half price day at the Salvation Army or The Goodwill bins? Then it hit me to go to my closet and voila- a perfect palette of greens and browns.

Zen Circles 69” W X 76” H

Zen Circles is composed of: Zen Center Robe, April Cornell Dress, EB Pepper Shirt, Fancy Tee, CP Shades Pants, J Jill Jacket, Panache tops and pants, Hemp Jacket, CP Shades Embroidery Jacket, MaryAnn’s Batiks, Heath’s custom Indian shirt, Naomi’s Bubbe Bed Sheet, Extra saved pieces of J Jill and CP Shades Tops, Sadye’s linen napkins.

As I make these DAYNEU Quilts, I determined that after the main quilt is completed, I will use up the leftovers-a kind of completion of the project. For this one, I settled on a traditional quilt pattern that I always loved because it looks like circles in the way it is pieced, even though the seams are straight.

Kaleidoscope  67” W X 69” H

You Too Can Make A Big Bag

Since 2013 Sarah and I have been collaborating as SILKDENIM on the production of recycled Denim. Today, most of our sales come through our ETSY STORE when one our original and best selling products is OUR BIG BAG. Here is the info from our store:

Originally inspired by the idea of making the reusable grocery bag cool and versatile, the Big Bag is more enduring and has endless uses. It can function as a grocery bag, an overnight bag, an athletic bag, an audition bag, a carry-all-day bag … and it really is big.

Made from 100% recycled denim in Pittsburgh upon order. Each bag includes a pocket, and it might even include two. All items are one-of-a-kind, unique, and vary. The photos shown here are just examples.

Because all SilkDenim items are handmade to order, we can personalize them by making them from your own recycled clothing or materials, take color requests, or add hand-embroidery or patches. Contact us for special requests.

Email us if you would like to buy a bundle of big bags for a discount

17”H X 14”W X 7”D; 13” hang from shoulder

About SilkDenim:
Louise and Sarah Silk are a mother-daughter duo making Art-You-Can-Use as a response to unsustainable ‘fast fashion’. They deconstruct worn clothing and re-fashion the fiber into one-of-a-kind garments, bags, quilts, and home goods. They do it all by hand themselves in their Pittsburgh, PA studio. Through this process, they not only save the environment of excess material, but they also celebrate the beauty and authentic details of worn fabric. Inspired by the rust belt’s history and Louise Silk’s long time practice of making memory quilts, they transform discarded fiber into objects of value, practical use, beauty, and meaning.

I have been using the bag since we began, and I can report that every clerk who comments on the bag and says, “I should make one of those!”. So for all of you who want to make one, I have put instructions on my UTUBE CHANNEL.

This is the link: and this is the the QR code to get you there with your phone:

Learn to Make a Big Bag

Let me know how it goes!!

France 2022

Memories of a lifetime with my daughter, Sarah, my granddaughters, Maya & Naomi.

My favorite view in Bonnieux

We started in Nice, stopped in Eze and spent two nights in Monaco.

We rented a car in Monaco and drove through Provence.

We ended with a train and four days in Paris. Our favorites, hands down, were people watching, shopping, and eating!

Great Advice From A New Role Model

Rachel Maddow is by far my favorite news analyst. I happily planned my evening around her regular 9:00 broadcast. And so with good reason, I have been quite sad and even a little lost that she has pulled back to work on other projects and will only be on air Monday evenings.

It created quite the crater in my life and then I heard a fabulous interview with Symone Sanders and wouldn’t you know, she is hosting a new show on MSNBC. at the end of the interview she gave women three pieces of advice: 1 Ask for the things that you want and have worked for- people might tell you no- but you will be pleasantly surprised to sometimes get to yes. 2. Do the work, read, research, execute- you must be able to perform and back up what you say. 3. Be your authentic self. You are okay exactly as you are and it is the world’s responsibility to accommodate to you.

I was so excited to hear Symone, I looked her up and saw the title of her latest book: No, You Shut Up: Speaking Truth to Power and Reclaiming America. What a title!!! It seems like I could have found a Rachel replacement!!

Opening Pandora’s Box

some thoughts from Charlotte Joko Beck

Now one of the illusions we may have about our practice is that practice will make things more comfortable, clearer, easier, more peaceful, and so on. Nothing could be further from the truth.

All of us feel we are separate from life; we feel as if we have a wall around us. As long as we feel separate from life, we feel the wall…..We may be anxious, we may have disturbing thoughts, but our wall keeps us unaware of that.

Pandora’s box is all of our self-centered activities and the corresponding emotions that they create. Opening Pandora’s box is breaking down the wall. So Pandora’s box, that which upsets and disturbs us, is the emergence of that which we have not been aware of before: our anger toward life. It has to boil our sooner or later. This is our ego, that life is not the way we want it to be. It is our fury when the people or events in our lives simply don’t give us what we demand.

As our practice becomes more sophisticated we begin to sense our tremendous deficiencies, our tremendous cruelty. We see the things we hate and the things we just can’t stand. There is grief in that.

As we get more sensitive to our life and what it truly is, we can’t run from it. So I want you to appreciate your practice and your life. That’s all this is about. Nothing fancy. Zen is action itself.

Zen Stitching

March 2022 AAP Featured Artist

March 2022 AAP Featured Artist:Louise Silk

Tree of Life 21 | 2021 | knit t-shirt remnants, perle cotton, machine pieced and hand quilted | 64 x 58 in. 
Louise Silk
Louise Silk began her career as a fiber artist by way of a 1972 article in MS Magazine. The gist of the article was that because men had no interest in quilt making, women were left on their own to explore, create and thrive within an open, sharing community of women. Reading the article activated her exploration of fiber arts as her form of feminist artistic expression.
Years later, after perfecting her skills creating many, many, many quilts, Louise came to understand and incorporate the spiritual component of co-creating with The Divine, as it occurs moment by moment, in every thought and action, and for her, particularly within her stitching.
These skills and practice continued for many more years with many more quilts until the death of her parents. To absorb this inevitability, she incorporated every piece of their clothing and textiles into a series of art quilts. This process exposed the inherent deeper layers of meaning embedded in personal clothing and textiles. 
Today, Louise’s art practice incorporates the above understandings with the transformation of ordinary repurposed textiles. As part of that practice, she operates a zero-waste studio where she reuses every discarded thread, yarn, and scrap.Today, Louise’s art practice incorporates the above understandings with the transformation of ordinary repurposed textiles. As part of that practice, she operates a zero-waste studio where she reuses every discarded thread, yarn, and scrap.

Living during these difficult times, hope continually peeks through with my elevated awareness of the sacred within the mundane exposed while exploring the transformational stitching of ordinary repurposed clothing and textiles.

Ways To Connect:


Retail & Wholesale
SilkDenim – Etsy
SilkQuilt – Etsy

Online Instruction

Self-Portrait 2021
Video of Louise’s process for making piece #6 Self-Portrait 2021 (shown above)
Additional information on Louise:
During the pandemic she published an autobiography A Patchwork Life: The Hands On Guide To Living Piece By Piece. It can be purchased in book form or read in segments on her blog.SilkDenim is a collaboration project with her daughter, Sarah Silk. Together, we re-make 100% recycled materials into individually crafted objects. We’re particularly attracted to denim because of its rugged practicality and its unique ability to improve with age. Using recycled materials requires us to work with authentic details & create every piece anew, providing a unique one-of-a-kind object that emphasizes the craft & beauty of re-using over discarding. Louise is in the second year of Ten Year Plan to bring together the totality of her work by her eightieth birthday. Two of her goals:To gather, organize and enter my paper and slide archives into the Heinz History Center.To create 14 new pieces for a one-woman exhibition, along with a book of accompanying essays.
Video catalog of Louise Silk’s one-person exhibitionReNew which was on view from January 28, 2020 – February 15, 2021, in the BNY Mellon Satellite Gallery of Contemporary Craft.
About the Featured Artist ProgramEvery month the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Featured Artist will be chosen by the Exhibition Committee. The Committee pulls nominees from the most recent exhibition applications. The Featured Artist will be highlighted in an email newsletter, announced on our social media, and posted to!

Writing vs Quilting

I’ve been very negligent when it comes to any form of writing, so I decided to just own up to it here and see if that changes my committment. It’s so easy to post on instagram and then simultaneously load it to Facebook and Twitter– really it’s way too easy! Maybe Each pictures may be worth a thousand words, but really, they just might not be right!

For example, I got together this very sophisticated palette of 5 shades each of 8 hues of tee-shirt materials to make an updated Tree of Life Quilt.

New Palette

My first attempt with the fabrics produced this quilt:

Tree of Life 2021

I knew I could take it further by layering the quilts pieces on top of each other and made this one:

Tree of Life 2022

I accomplished my goal but now was left with lots of leftovers. What should I do with them? The range of colors reminded me of this quilt that was featured in this poster, made over 30 years ago:

Envisioning and updated version, I came up with these 12- 8 pointed stars:

And with still enough leftovers for another top, I looked back to another star variation I know works no matter the remaining colors, this sunburst:

Have I made my point? A post on social media does not begin to explore my process, like a blog post. It takes more thought but well worth the effort. Enjoy!!

Minority Inspector

As Minority Inspector, I must keep Envelope B in my possession for one year.

For many years now, I have gone to vote and wondered about those older women sitting behind the folding tables in the basement of my community center. Why were so many older? How and why did they do the job of managing the elections? Was there some kind of inside club outside of my awareness? How could or why would I ever consider joining the forces?

Then, the pandemic came. I no longer went to the polls and used the safer, easier, in the comfort of my own home, with the security of my own research mail-in ballot. Those women were totally out of sight and completely out of mind.

But then, the Former promoted the Big Lie along with the fear of fraudulent elections and suddenly, without too much thought or understanding, I became one of those older women sitting behind the folding table in the Sheraden Senior Center, taking an oath to administer fair and legal elections, followed by instructing the youth in the ways of casting a ballot.

Assigned to the 20th ward, 12th district, along with Steve as my Judge of Elections, I worked the polls yesterday from 6:00AM-setting up and organizing the whole process through to 9:40PM- dropping of the completed ballots and computer chips to the downtown county election office. Quite a long tiring day!

A moment of rest for the Minority Inspector

My main assignment was to make sure people got their paper ballots properly counted in the voting machine. This is part of a two-part back-up system of computer system tallies with paper ballot back-up. I also did trouble shooting for incorrectly registered voters, provisional ballots, and all kinds of other things you can’t even imagine, to make sure each person executed his/her right to vote.

Though out the day, I worked on a personal blind faith that those paper ballots would scan and record, but by the end of the day, reading the tape results and participating in the entire start to finish voting system, I cannot over emphasize how wonderfully safely, securely, efficiently and effectively the whole system runs!

Kudos to our election board and everyone who participated. Thank The Holy One that we live in the democratic United States of America. May she continue for many generations!

More On My Grandfather z”l

I have been on an ongoing quest to find how more about my grandfather. as I documented in an earlier blog. Because of that blog, a family genealogist, on the other side of my family, found and sent me his death certificate. It had lots of new information to me: where he was born: Russia; his birthdate: September 6th, 1881; the cause of his death: Hodgkins Disease associated with pressure of glands on vital organs; and the cemetery of his burial: Shaary(sic) Torah Cemetary, Whitehall.

With the help of the The Rauh Jewish Archives Burial Records I was able to figure out his grave’s location. It was still challenging to actually locate the grave, but with the help of a cousin, we worked our way around the unmarked rows and were able to zero in on the location and actually find his grave. It was thrilling, really it was!

Tashlich 5782

Let us cast away indifference to injustice; Let us cast away the times we did not reach out to help others; Let us cast away not being better allies because of our own privileges; Let us cast away the times we did not have the courage to speak up about injustice; Let us cast away that we did not help others because we were happy with our own lives; Let us cast away that we witnessed prejudice or discrimination but did nothing; Let us cast away ignoring those in need; Let us cast away not having time to be part of activism in our communities; Let us cast away not giving tzedakah to causes; Let us cast away the complacency in oppression; Let us cast away………..

Written by Elliott batTzedek:

We have abandoned, we have appropriated, we have analyzed, we have arbitrated

We’ve belittled, we have broken faith, we have turned our backs, we have believed the unbelievable

We have grown numb, we’ve given too little, we’ve given too late, we have given up

We have denied, we have distorted, we have hesitated, we have held our tongues

We have victim-blamed, we have zoned out, we have chided, we have chastised

We have taken, we have turned away, we have yielded, we have yet to act

We have kept to ourselves, we’ve been complicit, we have laughed off, we have relied on the law,

We’ve made excuses, we have minimized, we’ve made light of, we have mocked

We have not noticed, we have neglected, we have negated, we have sent our regrets

We’ve averted our eyes, we have forsaken, we have pitied, we’ve failed to imagine new possibilities

We have explained, we’ve criticized, we have rationalized, we’ve refused responsibility

We’ve shamed the innocent, we have silenced, we have suppressed, we have failed to support

We have talked, we have talked, we have talked, but we have not listened

We have not sought the truth, we’ve theorized, we have told ourselves lies, and we have believed them.