Chad Gadya embroidermation progress


A wee taste of the progress Theo and I are making on our “Chad Gadya” embroidermation project.


Frames of the animation are stitched in groups of 6, arranged in a circle on matzo covers. We currently have 516 frames on 86 matzo covers, which I painstakingly finished by hand with multiple fabric layers and labels and everything.

Matzo covers

We hired Theo’s daughter, Emma, to help. Here she is ironing away while I adjust a lining.


Here I am topstitching one of the 86 covers on a treadle sewing machine.


We have a lot of additional photography, stitchcoding and stitching to do, but we are making progress. When the film is done the matzo covers will be for sale.


This Land Is Mine is yours

Due to horrific recent events, This Land Is Mine has gone viral again.

Here’s a reminder that you don’t need permission to copy, share, broadcast, post, embed, subtitle, etc. Copying is an act of love, please copy and share. Yes means yes.

copying is an act of love, please copy and shareAs for the music, it is Fair UseThis Land Is Mine is a PARODY of “The Exodus Song.” That music was sort of the soundtrack of American zionism in the 1960′s and 70′s. It was supposed to express Jewish entitlement to Israel. By putting the song in the mouth of every warring party, I’m critiquing the original song.


Egyptian Falcon


Another thing for Seder-Masochism.

Death Makes a Holiday

Death of Firstborn Egyptians

I’m currently animating the Death of the Firstborn Egyptians (Exodus 11:1-12:36) for Seder-Masochism. This is the miracle that started Passover! Hooray! I’m being sarcastic!

Ancient Egypt parallax

I’ve been designing Egyptian foliage for Seder-Masochism. The ancient Egyptian graphic style is pretty flat; there’s little if any perspective to give a sense of depth.


However, animation can give a sense of depth without compromising the graphic style. Thanks to the magic of parallax, each still frame looks authentically flat, but in motion the scene looks 3-D. Nothing overlaps anything else but there’s still a foreground and background.

plants3Just one of many reasons animation is cool.


Chad Gadya cycling backgrounds

Which 24-frame cycle do you like more:

Cycle A, “Clouds”, or…

Cycle B, “Waves”?

I personally prefer Cycle B, because I like backgrounds where everything is moving – I feel it gives it more depth. As a 2-D design the clouds look nice, but in an animated cycle their stillness bothers me. I did make a version with moving clouds, but on this 24-frame cycle they had to be very dense to repeat:

Cycle C, “Repeating Clouds”. I still prefer Cycle B. The sky pattern might be a bit unconventional, but I think it’s stylish. Also I don’t like all that white in the background of A and C.

The palette is limited to 10 colors because this

Continue reading Chad Gadya cycling backgrounds

Drivin’ That Train

A friend of mine told me she’s dating a guy who works in trains, and among other things can actually drive a train. Naturally I wanted to show her the Casey Jones comic I made for Grateful Dead Comix in 1991, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online. I couldn’t even find it on my own hard drives – apparently I’d never even scanned it. Probably because everyone who worked on Grateful Dead Comix did it as work-for-hire. Well I don’t play that no more, so here for your (and my friend’s) edification and enjoyment are all 8 pages of Casey Jones. The Dead will have to censor this themselves, since I’m not doing it

Continue reading Drivin’ That Train

Cattle of Egypt

I’m back to working on Seder-Masochism after a very long hiatus. Here are some biblical Egyptian cattle:

And here they are after I AM THAT I AM gets through with them:

I’m back to working on Seder-Masochism after a very long hiatus. Here are some biblical Egyptian cattle: And here they are after I AM THAT I AM gets

Continue reading Cattle of Egypt

PaleGray Labs finally gets its own web site

I’m all wordpressed out for a while. I’m all wordpressed out for a while.

Continue reading PaleGray Labs finally gets its own web site


Our Thousand Dollar Quilts now have a web site of their own. Offered at face value.

Interestingly, money is not culture; currency is. More on that in my essay Culture is Anti-Rivalrous (scroll down to part IV). And here I am, a Free Culture advocate minting money on my quilt plotter. My impulse to share source files is mitigated by this. Free Culture readers of this blog: how can I best share the culture of this project without compromising the identity of the bills themselves? I like to share the “source code” of my projects once they’re out there, but I don’t see how I can do that with this one.

Our Thousand Dollar Quilts now have a

Continue reading QuiltBank

resampling DST files

Our Quilt Plotter’s rather frustrating software automatically resamples DST files, for no explicable reason. While we struggle to communicate with its manufacturers to overcome this “feature,” I attempted to explain the problem in pictures.

1. A line, or vector file, is not a DST file yet. A DST file is comprised of many points, like so:

2. This has a high sample rate, because there are many points spaced close together.

3. Above is a lower sample rate, with “stitches” in black. There are fewer points and they are spaced further apart. Here’s a resample at the same sample rate (frequency/spacing of points):

4. Every time the path is resampled, it moves

Continue reading resampling DST files

Tree Applique Quilt

More raw-edge applique on the quilt plotter! About 94″ square. Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester batting, polyester thread. The process:

Stitch all-over background design, including shapes where leaves, fruits and branches go.

Cut out pieces of leaf- and fruit-colored fabric. Lay them on the quilt (still in the frame) over where they’ll be stitched down. Return frame to quilt plotter and stitch.

When the leaves and fruits are stitched, lay a big piece of brown, tree-colored fabric over them where the branches go, and another piece where the trunk goes. Stitch.

Trim the base of the tree and lay a piece of green fabric over it as above.

Stitch that sucker down per the digital design you’ve carefully

Continue reading Tree Applique Quilt

Water Wheel

click for animated gif

Back on the Quiltimation front, I was wondering if I could arrange animated frames on a quilt in a mandala/medallion pattern, rather than left-to-right cells. This would essentially be a quilted phenakistoscope, with the animation emerging as the whole thing is rotated (we’d keep the camera and lights stable, and rotate the quilt).

click for animated gif


The saturated colors here would be lost, although I could use a few colors of thread. The elements are early Leviathan designs, and Water from Chad Gadya which is still in (very slow) progress.


Back on the Quiltimation front, I was wondering if I could arrange animated frames on

Continue reading Water Wheel

Pink Arabesque

93.5″ x 95″. Cotton fabric, soy/cotton blend batting, polyester thread. Designed by me, stitchcoded by Theo, stitched on Behemoth the Quilt Plotter, reverse appliqued and bound by me. The process:

1. Draw vector design in Macromedia Flash 8.

2. Load onto Quilt Plotter and set appropriately.

3. Stitch.

4. Begin snipping away top layer of fabric (because you loaded two top layers before stitching, color on the bottom and white on top)

5. Keep snipping.

6. Snip until done.

7. Bind on Davis Vertical Feed treadle (best binding machine ever).

8. Include tag.

9. Place on Momz’s bed.

10. Get approval from cat.

This is an experiment/prototype. Someday we may sell these,

Continue reading Pink Arabesque

Anyone want to buy my almost-new 16″ quilting machine?


Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen (I didn’t name it! I’d paint over the name but it would reduce resale value) sit-down long arm quilting machine. Less than one year old, only 134,228 stitches total.

Includes table, two table extensions, smooth table overlay, open-toe hopping foot (in addition to closed-toe foot it came with), extra needles, bobbins, tools, supplies, manual, documentation, etc.
Purchased May 8 2013 via Lori’s Pins ‘n’ Needles, Paris IL

Selling because I bought a full-frame computer-guided system, and now do any hand-guided work on treadles. It’s a great machine, practically brand new, and just gathering dust in my studio.

Pickup only in downtown Urbana IL. I’m happy to give instruction and let

Continue reading Anyone want to buy my almost-new 16″ quilting machine?