Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cleaning Away

We work so hard in our sewing rooms. The mess is as constant as the quilts coming out of it.

This past week, I spent many hours cleaning and reorganizing my fabrics. It's overwhelming, distracting and rewarding at the same time. Found many old projects. mostly tops that need to be turned into quilts and few UFOs. I did find a long lost block from 1998 I was looking for a while back. I was a new quilter trying to teach myself how to applique. I drafted my own pattern looking at pictures of old quilts and followed the instructions in some book on applique.

 Oak Leaf and  Reel.


You can tell from the wrinkles how neglected this poor block has been.


And the back..

I didn't know I was supposed to tuck those ends of the thread in between the layers.


I am certain I used the freezer paper for this block. Why else would I have cut the back of the applique?

Nothing like the rhythm of the stitching in hand work. Now the question is, what to do with this block? I might just put it on the back of some quilt as a label.

Here is what's happening in the sewing room.. Fabric, machine, vacuum cleaner, scraps, containers... everything everywhere. And, I am not done just yet.



My friend Christine and Kelly went through major cleaning of their studios. I do this heavy cleaning only once a year and every year I have come out on the other side with a fun scrap quilt.

This is one UFO that was easy to finish.  
Half of it was pieced together so I took a break from cleaning and finished the top. It was probably an ugly fabric swap challenge. Why else would I have fabrics like these in my quilt?


I actually had bought some of these fabrics!!! 

There were some pretty scraps given to me.

Like this blue batik.


and this golden-rust print.


I like the way this quilt turned out in spite of all the uglies in there. It's twin size quilt, good for a chair by the window.

The Green Belt 60'' x 84''

There were few kaffe fabrics added to the pile as pick me up and I think they served well doing just that. 

This distraction from cleaning was pretty nice. 

I see a bit of machine quilting in near future. I named this quilt, The Greenbelt. More about it when I finish the quilt.

Back to cleaning!



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sunday Paper Done!

A finish!
It's about time!
Back in Feb. 2012, I never thought it would take this long to finish this quilt.These past few months, many times I wished I had heard my friends' suggestions of machine quilting it. It was difficult to see where my stitches were headed at times with all busy prints but now that it's all done, I am glad I hand quilted it.

Got little carried away with pictures today too.


 They match with my quilt books.



I just quilted in the ditch around the hexagons. In certain light they look embossed.


This was a fun quilt to make. I definitely will consider making another version in future.

Today's forecast was for the first snow of the season and it arrived as promised with wind blowing it everywhere. Well, it was more like flurries! It was gone before I could say, "First snow of the season" 
so no snow in the picture but it's stitched in this quilt for sure :0

Glad it's done and near the couch.. I will be using it while going through my books for inspirations for next quilt. 
  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flower Pots from 2001

Today I am sharing a quilt from 2001. 
That year, every day I drove my 10 years old son, a sixth grader to Jr. high for an accelerated math class. Schools district we lived in was quite accomodating and teachers were very helpful. Two schools worked together for his academic needs.
He went and did his math for an hour while I sat in the car and worked on this quilt. After his class he went back to his elementary school and resumed the day.
Shail and I became good friends that year. This are Flower Pots from 2001.


Pattern is by Blackbird Designs.
I was pretty new at this and enjoyed every single stitch. I chose contrasting colored thread to be able to see the stitches.  

 



 A new applique quilt is sounding pretty good this fall. 


But first, I am going to put a sleeve on this quilt. I have never hung this quilt on the wall.


  I remember how much fun this was! It seems so long ago!


Shail, now leaves in Michigan. He is enjoying his new job and exploring everything that's coming his way.  

I love how life goes on and days become memories. We revisit those days through our quilts when we see them. Keep making whatever it is you are working on today. Some day you will look back and reflect on  this day.
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Baby Quilt for Leona

Last week I needed to make a quick gift before leaving for Seattle. Those 3 1/2'' squares in a box from the past came in handy. I started with no plan but pretty happy with how it turned out.



It measures only 33 1/2'' x 33 1/2 ''. I like small quilts as a gift for newborn babies. They are easier to handle with so many things young mothers carry these days.


I took the meandering route when it came to last minute quilting. I think it worked out okay. I like how it makes the quilt shimmer in light.


Another advantage of smaller quilts - When in hurry, you can use just a yard for the backing without having to do any piecing and, when the baby grows up carrying her little blanket around, it's light-weight and doesn't drag on the floor.

 
It's backed with large poppies - One of my favorite soft pastels from few years old Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Stripe binding made sense for this quilt.  

It was just the thing to get me started sewing again!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall - Blast from the Past

This morning I was talking to a friend about this old tuffet, I made few years ago. I don't remember if I ever posted about it. I figured, it's fall, I think it fits!  And you all are so nice to me, even if I repeat, you wont mind.

On the front porch of the home in Seattle

My friend, Myra Mitchell wrote the pattern for it after being inspired by seeing it in one of the books by Kaffe Fassett. I think, it was Passionate Patchwork. She taught classes for a long time. I wonder if she still teaches them. I recently posted this picture on my personal fb page and that brought back many memories, not only connected with this tuffet but also with the shop where I worked and taught for many years.

Do you see it peeking in the corner? That's my one and only,  king size quilt- folded in half hanging in the background. Love that one!

 I am going to be able to visit that shop in near future and can't wait to see my friends there.

I stopped at making just one tuffet being super busy at the time with three children and a job and teaching etc.You know how it all works. Myra on the other hand, being the passionate patchwork quilter that she is, has successfully made and taught many tuffets in different size and shape.

 My little tuffet has been around for a while.

Photography by Mark Frey, Seattle, Washington.
I take the credit for draping of the fabric to tie them all together. :0

And, here it is sporting with DS fabrics - made by Linda French - another friend from Seattle, who taught the tuffet class with Myra. That's my quilt pattern Box of Candies in the background. I had fallen in love with the Flea Market Fancy by DS fabrics when it first came out. 


 We had worked so hard for our booth at the APNQ show that year.




Quilt collector and fabric designer Mary Koval had joined us in the booth. It was quite the experience to put it all together with friends and feature the patterns, fabrics and quilts from the shop. I do miss those days of being surrounded on daily bases by fabrics and friends who live, breath and dream quilts.

Hope I have made you curious about the tuffet. I hope you make one. It is a lot of fun. I am sure Quiltworks Northwest still carries that pattern. I am going to find out myself soon enough when I visit.

Thank you my friend, for evoking the memories from the past!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Human Hands

Do you ever wonder about why you like certain kind of quilts?

We all know we can not make every quilt that inspires us. There are certain ones that always catch our attention more than the others.

I am still reminiscing my trip to the Brooklyn Museum. Thinking about the quilts and also the exhibit of Egyptian artifacts.

I may have been in a quilting state of mind then and was 'seeing' things. 


This almost 10-12 feet tall carving of a King in the Garden on the wall looked impressive.

But then I got a little closer...


Even more amazing, right? Doesn't it look like hand stitching on a quilt? Like an overall running stitch pattern of quilts from India.


This is neither a kantha quilt as it's widely misrepresented nor a Ralli quilt. I am sure it is a leftover or rejected sample of an export order. I bought this one while I was in Rajasthan last year. Love the colors and all those stitches!


Back of that quilt is so muted, it was a surprise to me. But then how would these stitches show if it was as bright as the front? Do you see those with minds of their own going every which way?

Notice the edge of the quilt? It has no batting and it's finished with some sort of blanket stitch.

I like hand work on a quilt. Whether it is an applique or hand quilting, hand stitching for embelishing the quilt or just for fun. More time I spend on a piece, more of my life lives in it.

I saw this applique quilt at the museum and was immediately drawn to it.



These beautiful blocks with birds alone were enough to take me back home!


I stood there and smiled thinking - With mismatched corners and not so 'perfect' applique, in the eyes of today's judges this quilt may not even make it in top 10. Yet, it's in the museum! Teaching us history!

Human hands - That's what's important to me when I see a quilt. Slight imperfect and mismatched seams here and there, a trace of distracted mind in those uneven stitches and worn look of being loved to threads. I  have come to admire that in a quilt. No matter what style, colors or age they are.. They all have some personal stories behind them. 

I took pictures of  four different blocks with the circles in the center.





















Each one has it's own personality!

No templates, no pre-cut plastic circles when it was made. Just two hands, a needle and thread! May be few friends by her side and lots of laughter!

I like that!

Something to think about, right?

What do you like in a quilt and why?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Anna Williams at the Brooklyn Museum

''Work by Hand'': Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts

Visiting the museum and see Anna Williams quilt was on my list to do for so long. Finally I got to see it from up close before it ended today. Although I was slightly disappointed that there was only one of her quilts in the exhibit, I was happy to see many other that were equally beautiful and inspiring.

Love the colors!

Nilesh needed a closer look. 
I am sure he wishes I made traditional quilts.


I needed my own closer look. Absolutely amazing! Don't you think?


This one here, I tell you, if I stared at it long enough, it felt like it was radiating like one of those flashy billboards at Times Square!




Lot of these quilts reminded me of my blogging friends from all over.


It was nice to take them along with me. I am sure they will know who they are when they see these pictures. :0



After seeing these quilts I came to my favorite spot in the exhibit and stood their staring for a long time.


Flash photography was obviously not allowed and I struggled with the lighting at first but after few clicks I think I got it right.


Doesn't it look like there is a party going on in this quilt? I spotted bandana, African print, calico, shirtings, civil war prints and some retro modern prints.

Here is the close up of a block. Check out the upper left corner of the block :0


And it is less than 6'' x 6''! Amazing!

Quilts were not the only thing that made me think of my friends. Antique tiles, mosaics and paintings you name it!






Magazine from 1972
I think the craze has turned into passion for many of us. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be here talking about this day.

Have a wonderful week!
Sujata