Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Last One of the Bunch

I had every intention of quilting this little top before I sent out all the quilts to C&T Publishing for the in-house photography but that just did not happen.

I have been hand stitching a lot lately. If I don't have hand work in the evenings, I miss it. Winding down while 'Watching' tv is just not the same.

It is far from perfect, just the way I like it. No two triangles are the same in spite of being made from a stack. These free-form blocks are pretty cool!

It must be my publisher's favorite quilt since it made it in two of the chapters in my book. It is one of the reasons why I chose to teach Hourglass Twist class at MAQ. Some of the blocks from this technique land themselves into more than one quilt. The possibilities are endless and I can not wait for my students to explore more. 

It has not found it's permanent home yet. I am still wondering what to call it.

Movement, texture and contrast all in one - It packs a lot of punch for it's size.

It would be an Amish quilt if the HSTs were precise.

It would be an Indian ralli quilt if it had borders and some reverse applique added to it. 

It is somewhat close to perfect to be a Gee's bend quilt.

But it reminds me of all three cultures. I am calling it The Red Quilt. 

I finished it with freehand, organic hand quilting using Valdani silk thread.

If you would like to read about my classes, please visit earlier posts. 
I am ready for some piecing fun.

I hope you all are having a great week!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A finish!

It was back in summer of 2012 when I started this quilt. My first post said, ''I will have what she is having''. Click here to read about it.
It took me almost three years to finish this quilt! My plan was to finish hand quilting before going to India and have the binding ready so I had something mindless to work on after coming back.  But as they say, plans don't always work out... I did not get to it until the middle of March. 

I am extremely happy the way it turned out. It is warm and soft and quite colorful as you can see. Makes me think of spring and summer even though the lawn is looking quite wintery.

Painted Zigzag is entirely made with women's clothing from the Goodwill store. I liked the challenge of making something bright and beautiful with used clothing. It was fun seeing those prints together. Each block was like a new quilt. Once the blocks were finished it was even more fun to arrange them on the design wall and work on the layout. I chose to keep all the backgrounds in blocks.

What's this picture doing here? I will tell you about it at the end of this post.

Moving along with Painted Zigzag...

I hand quilted it with Valdani Variegated Pearl Cotton threads I bought when I was in Houston. They were a dream to work with. Went through the layers like butter.

I stayed with the obvious lines of the zigzag pattern. Seams were pressed toward the darker fabrics so it made sense to quilt on the lighter zigzag. At some point, when I had basted this quilt, I was thinking of machine quilting but, what can I say? I am a chicken when it comes to quilting a huge quilt on the machine. My shoulders just don't care for all that stress but if every evening I hand quilt a little at a time, at some point it gets done.

On March 20th when it snowed, at first I was thinking NO!!! But there was just enough snow on the ground to make me run out and use that clothesline again.

Can you see the binding? I ended up using all the leftover bindings for this quilt. I like how it extends the scrappy-ness of the quilt.

For the back, I used up some of my pink fabrics.. I am generally not a pink person but had enough to put a queen size backing together! I must have liked them at some point.

 And now on to another news..and about that picture...

I taught a class at Burkholders Fabrics yesterday. Windmill is one of my favorite quilts from the book. I took plenty of samples to show my students. 

I have taught this pattern few times before but this was my first time teaching a class after becoming an author. As an instructor, it is always refreshing to see work in progress by students and watching them enjoy making the blocks. It was nice to meet everyone from central New Jersey to Harrisburg and places in between. Victoria from The Silly BooDilly was also in the class. I am looking forward to their quilts.

I answered many questions regarding my fabric selections and inspirations. How I see myself as a quilter and what I expect from myself as a quilter. It was fun chatting with each and every one of them. 

Here are few more dates and places I will be presenting and/or teaching a class in 2015.
1 May - I will be speaking at Tompkins County Quilters Guild in Ithaca, NY and also teaching a two day workshop. If you live near Ithaca, I hope to see you there. I will have lots of quilts with me.

13 May - Presentation at Calico Cutters Guild in West Chester, PA

I will be also speaking  and teaching three classes at Mid Appalachian Quilt Conference at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I blogged about it earlier. If you missed it, please click on the link.

10 July - Presentation
10 July - Workshop - Windmill 
11 July - Workshop - Hourglass Twist
12 July - Workshop - Peppermint Pinwheels

14 August - Presentation - Thimble and Thread Quilt Guild of Greater St. Louis
15 August - Workshop - Thimble and Thread Quilt Guild of Greater St. Louis

8 13 October -  Presentation at Brandywine Valley Quilters, Concordville, PA

Phew! This was a long three posts in one!

Have a great weekend with family and friends.

Kavita is coming home this weekend... I am excited!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Diane's quilt and Windmill class at Burkholders

Last night I received a lovely email from Diane Fulton from Wisconsin. She used the silk solids and pieces of Indian prints from her stash.
She writes, ''It was definitely a departure for me, but I sure had fun!  I'm not done with the book yet, I have a few other things in mind.''

Thank you, Diane for sharing your quilt!

I love her color choices. I think the bright solids and dark backgrounds play well together, don't you? Diane did quite the fusion with Indian prints and African colors.
''Triangles'' Quilt made by Diane Fulton inspired from Cultural Fusion Quilts

If you have a quilt you are working on from my book and would like to share, please send me an email. I will be happy to post it here or on Cultural Fusion Quilts blog. If you would like to be blog about it yourself, even for a post, I will be happy to send an invite. You can write about your process. I would prefer to hear about it in your own words. 

I also wanted to let you all know, I will be teaching a class at Burkholders fabrics on Wednesday, 1st April. This is my first class since the release of the book. It is going to be held at the Cocalico Quilter's Inn.  Come join me!!!

There are few spots left, if you are interested, please click on the link and click on classes.

Thank you all for reading the post from yesterday. It meant a lot to me.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

28 Years

It still seems like just yesterday. My father used to stand in the balcony of our home facing the Arabian Sea. He loved standing out there, leaning over the railing and think. Sometimes I would stand next to him. As a little girl, I wondered why he was always thinking and about what sorts of things. He was a quiet man and a deep thinker. I understand it now as an adult. Sunrise and sunsets have a special place in my life. Changing colors of the landscape keeps me focused and grounded. In those moments, there is utter silence in mind and around me.

Sun setting behind the Olympic Peninsula

As a person, he liked his space and nature. I imagine growing up in a countryside near farms and river had everything to do with that. He loved growing potted gardens in our small balcony. I can still smell the marigolds, jasmine, roses and the fish fertilizer all just the same! My mother used to get upset when he brought the fish fertilizer home. We did not like the smell either but he used it anyway to make his garden bloom. Birds would make nests in the pots and it would be difficult to water the garden. Every spring we watched the babies learn to fly as if there was a private screening of an episode of National Geographic Channel.

I always thought he and I had a special bond. As I grew older, I learned that he was the only caregiver to my siblings and my mom when she gave birth to me. This was not a very common thing in Indian culture. I feel special just thinking about it. As much as I like to believe he loved me more, that is just not true. My siblings may beg to differ!

Sometimes I think I am very much like him. Growing up, I preferred sitting in our quiet living room,  draw and color while my siblings went out to play. I filled up every blank paper I got my hands on with sketches and rolled it up as my personal collection of art. I still find myself spending hours alone, working on my quilts, perfectly happy and entertained.

He was proud of my art. So much so that he would take my work to show off to anyone who would care. It was embarrassing at times but he did it anyway. No one who entered our home, left without seeing what I had been doing that week. He encouraged me to be the person I was supposed to be. Going to art school wasn't a right move for my future according to many, but he saw me there.

"Sunset" from Cultural Fusion Quilts

My father passed away 28 years ago today. I was 23 and it had been only couple of months since I had left India for this country. I spent many months/years feeling sorry for myself that he did not get to see me grow up. As an adult, a wife, a mother and as an artist, but that's how it was meant to be! 

My book is a tribute to my father. He taught me the most important lessons of life in relatively short time we had together. "Sunset" quilt means a world to me! I almost did not include it in the book just to keep it for myself but at some point during the process of writing I realized, I already have the most amazing, living reminder of him.


Exactly eight years later on the day of his passing, Kavita was born! My mother was with me to help with my boys and the new baby. My baby turns 20 today! I am not sure where the years have gone by!

Kavita is a tree-huger, philosopher, artist and writer, bust most of all a deep thinker and she has her thinking bun to prove it! 

I have always missed his presence but I have never been sad on this day since Kavita's birth.
For I have experienced the best sunsets and sunrises in my life. 

An early morning walk on the trail in Redmond, Washington
No matter where I am.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

A little bit of India

I thought a week and half in Seattle had faded away most of my memories of India. But then yesterday I transferred my pictures into the computer!  The trip was an incredible learning experience on many levels.

Most encouraging part of the trip - Seeing quilts in person which validated my point of view in the book and meeting with the people who make them.

I had the opportunity to meet with a family who earns their living making quilts. Families of three brothers living in one farmhouse.

Farmhouses in the region of kutch, Gujarat are clusters of one-room mud-huts with a large open courtyard in the center. People were so warm, they smiled ear to ear! They were happy to show off their homes and offer us food fresh from the wood-burning stoves, also made with mud!

Here is the picture of a quilt made for personal use. It is finished with thousands of little stitches, made with most humble fabrics - The fabrics most quilters in the west would probably think are not worth the time. 

But for the villagers in Gujarat, India it is an absolute necessity. Desert cold can be brutal. Wood burning stoves and fire pits are the only source of heat for most of the rural homes. Each member of the family must have quilts to sleep on and cover themselves with.

If the thin sari fabric wears out at some point in time, there is always a plan B!

Patch it up and make it part of the quilt. New layers of  thin saris are added as old layers wear out and quilts get heavier with time.

The reality is, they make beautiful quilts with the mix of new and old fabrics. To improvise is not a style, it is a way of living. They must use the fabrics they have for personal quilts and purchase new fabrics for quilts worthy of consumer markets all over the world to earn the living. As beautiful as that indigo quilt is, I was sadden by the fact that the quilt looked perfect! Perfect in placement of fabrics, colors and stitching.. One look at it and I was done seeing the whole quilt!

As far as future of quilting in India goes, conversations with quilt making community were a mix bag of happy and sad.  I must write all that down before I forget.

I so badly wanted to buy one of their quilts and bring it home. I asked if they would sell one to me.. The one with all the mistakes and imperfections, one I could use as my inspiration board forever!

The answer will surprise you.. A flat out "NO" with tremendous pride!

The explanation was simple - Quilts for their personal use were either given to them as wedding gifts or were made for future events like wedding in the family or birth of the child. A 65 years old woman showed me the quilt she had brought with her when she wedded her husband.

They showed us stacks of personal quilts neatly folded and stored under a large sheet. They were for the relatives and guests who often visit from other villages. To keep them warm, to show their respect and to show off their artistry.

The real truth for not selling the quilts, this woman explained, "Our ancestors said to never sell Godharis."  

I came away with a beautiful experience. During our seven hours' car ride to the city, all I could think about was when will I return next.

Three hours with them were just not enough, but they gave me a lot to ponder over.


By the way, if you missed my earlier post, I will be lecturing and teaching at MAQ this summer. Click on the link below for more information.