Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Textile Tour to India

The day is almost here!

Tomorrow I get on the plane to visit my mom and then off to an adventure of a lifetime with Amy Butler.


Back Story -

I met Amy and David Butler at Houston Fall Market in 2014.
I shared my book and quilts, we talked for a while.
I met up with her again that evening... Few of her pals were also there.


After a picture or two she said, "After meeting you we have been thinking all day of may be traveling to India."

To which I responded, "Seriously? Can I go with you?"

Amy asked, "Really? Would you consider coming with us? We'd love that!"

In my head of course I was saying, "This is not happening.. Someone please pinch me!"

Few days later, when I came home from Houston, I had a note from Amy in my inbox about planning our trip together. I knew she was as sincere to go on this trip as me wanting to visit my mom. 
 
We have spent many months planing for upcoming two weeks in India. Two of us are traveling to Jaipur, Rajasthan and Kutch, Gujarat for an unforgettable experience. We will be exploring the palaces and markets, forts and mud huts, folk artists and museums, meet ralli quilters and embroidery artists, block printers to learn from the best. All to plan out a textile tour for early 2017.

Last year's visit to India is still fresh in my head. I am thrilled to be going home again.

Those of you who have been asking about a possible tour to India, Stay tuned!

Follow us if you will on this colorful journey. I will be posting pictures on this blog, on instagram @therootconnection and on fb www.facebook.com/TheRootConnection

Sujata





Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Photo and 2016 Schedule


These days I am constantly thinking about my trip to India. Hoping to learn more about the traditions and heritage from the artisans during the visit.

Normally, I am not the one who makes the "to do" list in the morning or ever. I believe in life's surprises. They come wrapped up in so many different ways.  Last year few of them came in form of emails asking if I would consider presenting and teaching. I absolutely enjoyed teaching all throughout 2015. Making connections with quilters around the country has been a privileged, some sort of reward of writing a book.

My 2016 schedule is looking pretty good. I have added it to the calendar for easy access. There are some blank spots in the schedule. If you think your guild might be interested in hosting me or would like to co ordinate my visit with current schedule, please have your program coordinator drop me an email. I am also booking dates for 2017. Contact me!

2016 Schedule - http://therootconnection.blogspot.com/p/calander.html
Workshops - http://therootconnection.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

Have a creative weekend!
Sujata

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The House

The wait is finally over... Almost!



City is getting ready to welcome the year of Monkey Chinese New year's celebration, I am joining in by sharing this good news. 

We found a house and made an offer. After a bit of negotiations, (we lost) we settled on signing a contract.

In October when I wrote about moving, I was ready to live in a smaller space, spend more time creating and less cleaning but I wasn't ready to give up on so many other things.. Green was a required color. I like line and textures but power lines looming over the house or in the backyard were not part of it. Older homes are good to look at in magazines and in the home improvement show based in Waco, TX but I have a real life.

In Berkeley, we looked at some homes with kitchens with original appliances from the 60's.. I wasn't willing to fix everything around the stove and the oven. Then there was a tree-house style home, with absolutely no counter-space next to the stove. I love cooking too much to have a free-standing stove. That kitchen was just not going to work.

In Walnut Creek, we saw a beautiful Mid Century Modern, Eichler home.. It still makes me sad, someone called it before we did.

In south of San Francisco towns we looked at homes built in 50's and 60's.. Row houses going up and down the hills. Most of them were with the views of rooftops and power lines. With concrete in the back yard and views of the rooftops of shopping malls.

Too dark, too old, too narrow, too tall. too boxy, too crowded, too small, too large... the list went on. 
we even saw few homes outside our budget.. Even they had few things wrong!

I wanted to move into a space that was lived in, Not brand new (that meant small yards) not overly staged, not overly remodeled.. After a while they all looked the same. I like gray but please don't let me be stuck with the back splash and bathrooms, all grey for rest of my life! A house not too modern and not too traditional.. Something with an indoor-outdoor space feeling.. After all, this is California.. It's not too much to ask, is it?  

We finally found that house! A single level, small ranch-style home. I walked in and thought, this is it! There was something about the house that was welcoming. Calm back yard, bright indoor space. Laundry in the house not in the garage, or in a narrow 'mud room' with doors opening into each other. With a little garden in the back and lots of trees to tie the clothesline for the quilts.  

It has the tiniest room as the third bedroom, which will be my sewing room. I will have a sewing room on the same level as the rest of the house!

We are in contract.
 
Last week, I went to oversee the inspection of the house. While inspectors were working and making notes, I went to the backyard and stood under the pepper-berry tree. 

I could hear the birds.

I looked up to see who was calling me.




I saw nothing. 

I looked again.


   
That hummer perched at the top of the tree was singing, "Home Sweet Home".



This house is minutes drive from the hospitals where my daughter and younger son were born. It's 15 minutes drive from our very first family home. 

This is the town I took my first quilting class to learn quilting and made that first quilt.

Talk about a full circle! In my case, a triangle! 

We have finally found a house. It's not perfect but we will make it into our home and it will be, a home!

Afterthought - I must add, the house is supposed to close during my visit to India. Keeping my fingers crossed for everything to go smooth. Hoping when I return, it will be to the house and not the apartment.




Friday, January 8, 2016

2015-16 Works in Progress - Triangles

When we packed our bags for our temporary stay in the apartment, I was under a false sense of security that our house was going to sell soon and we will find our new home in the same time frame.

I also thought I was going to explore the city and this small place will have no space to do much of sewing. Needless to say, I did not pack a thing!

No handwork, no fabrics and definitely sewing machine.

Wasn't that silly? Stupid? Crazy?

All of the above, right?

Only explanation is "The Move"

We were so busy getting ready to move, sewing was the last thing on my mind. I finished one quilt I absolutely would not have left without and then decided to "wing" it once we moved.

Within two weeks of being in CA, I realized how big of a mistake it was! I should have shipped my machine, I could have mailed some fabrics.. I spent my empty hours in those days thinking of all the should've, could've-s.

I came up with the best possible solution. I went on line to search for a fabric store near by thinking to buy some fabric and hand stitching needles and applique a few things. I friend suggested a store in downtown, I walked to the place and bought needles and white thread and walked  back home with spring in my feet.

Applique did not go too far for some reason. I needed the humming of a machine to sooth my soul. I ask my friend of 30 years if I could borrow her machine she bought for mending purposes. I brought it home along with a pair of scissors fit for a kitchen. Next day I set it up on a little desk in the corner of my apartment.

Now I needed some fabrics!

Guess what? The Goodwill store is ten minutes away!

I began this part of my journey in stitches.

It started with shopping at the Goodwill Store with self imposed structure.

Purchase only the ones on sale.
Limit two or three at a time.
Wash, deconstruct, design and sew.
When run out of fabric, go back to the "fabric" store.


Buy any size that allows to grow as a designer..

Fabrics from tiny shirts add little bit of surprise in the design. That tiny shirt can add just what I need in terms of added texture and spark.

Here is a tip for taking those buttons off.
Use seam ripper instead of scissors. My seam ripper came with the bag of doo-daas attached to the sewing machine.



 I started with freeform hourglass blocks.


For some reason they turned into freeform triangles. I kept making them with no particular plan. Two shirts at a time, I used every bit of usable fabric and then moved on to the next pair.

This is how far I have reached. This picture was taken before the strips were pieces. My space does not have enough light to take great pictures. My design wall is space near the kitchen, couch if pieces are small enough or bed when the quilt wants to grow. 



I am not sure which direction this quilt is headed but just like my life, I believe it is evolving into something bright and beautiful. Lot of visual inspirations and emotional moments are being stitched together two pieces at a time, evolving into my new story.

Stay tuned!
Sujata

 


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Past Few Months



From the time we decided to move, my life has been in a whirlwind. I felt every emotion there is to feel.. If you have moved around, left your loved ones behind, jumped into making decisions quickly, you know what I am referring to. 

It leaves you no time to think, write or talk about. All you do is, go on. 

That's just what we did. 


 After three and a half weeks of mental and physical prep time, we packed two bags on the night of 23rd October. Left our home as is.. well, cleaner and staged to sell. 

After arriving in San Francisco, we moved into a company provided one bedroom apartment. It is at walking distance from the downtown. I have been taking advantage of being here and walking with Nilesh in the morning when he goes to work. It gives my senses a chance to absorb this big city. 

I must say, some of the absorbing I could do without!

We love being tourists on the weekends but most of our weekends we have spent searching for a home. 


With not having to uproot and settle kids this time around, we thought we will have an easier time finding a home but opened up broader areas to explore. We have looked homes in all four directions and pretty much of every style and condition. We experienced crowds going through open homes like never before! 

Sometimes it felt like the home was having a party, only without the hosts and yummy food! Then there was the Goldilocks principle.. To find the right home to fit all our needs as well as our budget hasn't been easy. Couple of good candidates slipped off our hands. As of now, our search continues, I am pretty optimistic as I write this post that we will have a house we can call home soon. 


Meanwhile, all three kids came for Christmas. Just last year we had talked about vacationing during the Christmas break. This year it truly became a destination holiday. We did not decorate, bake or exchange any gifts. We cozy-ed up in this one bedroom apartment, watched movies and did puzzles.  Having traveled to India and visiting extended family, they are used to small spaces. This was even better! Being in the city, we walked to many places and drove short distances to tourist attractions.
We also drove to the cities they were born in.. Did a little home search as a family..It was a fun and joyful Christmas as ever! Probably the one they will talk to their children about in future.


While we have been busy connecting with old college friends and meeting visiting relatives, I also had visits from some quilty friends. 
LeeAnn came to the bay area for a work related trip. We spent a lovely day together and I am looking forward to her next visit soon.

Ann Brookes visited just a couple of days ago. I am excited to be part of the quilting community in the bay area. I requested if she would bring her latest quilt top. I am curious to see how she will finish this quilt. It is gorgeous! You can read about her process on her blog.  



I highly recommend you visit her blog. I am in awe!

We both decided to work on a project together. I am looking forward to our stories turning into quilts.

I sometimes still wonder how quickly my life has changed!


Family visited one last time before we left.. I know I will always go back and visit but it will involve planning. I will miss seeing those little girls grow up. 

Kavita used to visit often to PA will no longer make those quick weekend trips home. I suspect with her school and job, she will not have that opportunity as she has had in the past. Life brings changes, even the good ones come with a price. In the end though, it all works out like it is supposed to.

These days my favorite walks are to the local farmer's markets. I always find something good. Locally grown, fresh produce bring brief color to my otherwise gray apartment.


So that's what has gone on in past few months.

Now you must be wondering if I am sewing at all these days. 
I am! I will come back in a day or so with works (that's a plural) in process.
 
Thank you for your emails, holiday cards and greetings. Thanks for keeping up on fb and IG. Micro-blogging has been quite helpful during crazy busy kind of months we have had.  

See you back here soon!
Sujata