Saturday, February 28, 2015

Promises to keep

It's time to redeem my pledge to myself - to finish that bag promised long ago to my niece and to also complete the task I set for myself this month - my goal for the 'Year of lovely finishes' but looks like I may have left it too late! I have the fabric all cut out and even the interfacing fused but cannot progress as there is a power outage here. No power since morning and it is late evening now with no signs that it will be restored. I am hoping that I can sew tonight and finish it and perhaps using the fact that I live in the East to get it linked.
 And yes I managed it. Thank God it is Pacific time for the linky party or I would have not made it. Made a silly mistake and had to go for the seam rippeṛ Sewing at midnight is not my thing and next time i am finishing a week ahead to avoid this kind of mess-up.

Linking it with AYOLF at Sew BitterSweet Designs

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Feb goals for A lovely Year of Finishes

 Keeping a target really worked last month though I messed up n posting the link at SewbitterSweeṭ Well this month I do have a lot of projects going on but there is one that I have to do for my niece - a library bag and a pair of pencil poucheṣ That will be the target. My niece has a penchant for owls and so I have got this lovely fabric for the bag.
Hoping to finish and link it by the end of the month in a year of lovely finisheṣ

Friday, January 30, 2015

Springtime quilt

This one has been in the making for a while. I had to put it away couple of times to accommodate other quilts and projects and also because my sewing machine had minor fits of tantrums when asked to do a lot of FMQ. Well I am not one to give up easily and after multiple changes of needles and thread and freshly wound bobbins, It is all done.

Linking this with 'a year of lovely finisheṣ Hope I can do it the next 11 months too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A year of lovely finishes

A year of lovely finishes
Now that is a great thing to aim for and a little nudge is always welcome when one sets a goal like that.
My Button
So  I aim to link up with so many others aiming to do the same. My target for January is to finish the tulip quilt that I am doing for my niece. I still have to do a bag and couple of pencil pouches for her but maybe that can be my target for the next month. 
I have done quite a bit of the fmq and the panels for the top and bottom are also ready. Hoping to finish it fully by the end of the month.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Colouring up my life

A sunny day after a lot of gloomy cold and overcast days! And since I was out of yellow and blue fabric, I decided to take a break from sewing and paint some fabrics. I dont have easy access to buying fabric and painting them is a wonderful way out for me. Fun too as i love dabbling with colours though I am no artisṭ A fellow quilter asked for tips on painting and here I go. I have learnt all that I know from those generous souls out there who have shared tutorials. Deborah Hare's Quilt routes was the best and I have not yet done justice her diffeent methods. So without much ado here is my pictorial tute.

I use a wooden board covered with a plastic sheet measuring about 15" by 17".  The size was governed by the availability. Bigger ones are difficult to handle but it does mean that the fabrics I paint are necessarily small.

That is the plastic sheet discoloured after many layers of fabrics were placed on it and painteḍ . Which gave me an idea. I decided to top the plastic with a piece of white fabric and mop up the excess painṭ. This is what became of the white fabric.

My go to brush is the big one. I can quickly smear paint all over the fabric with this one. The paint I use is acrylic meant for fabric though I would love to try the silk paint. Sadly I have not been able to lay my hands on it. The process itself is very simple. All one needs to do is to dilute the acrylic paint a little as too much of it could make the fabric stiff. and then spread it all over the fabric. To facilitate the spreading, I spray some water or wet the fabric. The whole thing,board and fabric are left out in the sun to dry. Once dry it has to be heat set by ironing and then given a wash before it is ready for use.  To get a different look everytime  add things like little objects with definite shapes or plain old leaves and flowers and layer the paint. And you end up with gorgeous fabrics.
 This one was with four shades of colour - three blues and an emerald green alternating. After spreading the paint I just scrunched up the fabric (All right I lie.Too much of a Virgo to scruncḥ I did fold it up) and left it like that for a while and then sun-dried iṭ
  This was a lovely blue Cerulean I think, which I darkened with Ultramarine and then liberally scattered salt all over it. I usually go with crystal salt but today added a spoonful of powdered salt too. Lovely effect I think. the yellow below also has some salt just the crystal ones thougḥ Here after spreading the plain yellow I added a bit of red to darken the yellow. It turned out to be too much of red. Keeping aside the bulk of it I used a touch here and there to get this effect.

 The excess reddish/orange paint I mopped up with a piece of fabric.And that too looks lovely when dried.
 Some gulmohar leaves, a flower or two of Vinca rosea add to the design element. Just press them gently onto the damp fabric before putting them out in the sun.
 This one had a clover leaf and a bigger one that was heart shaped. I keep trying out all sorts of leaves. An experiment with flower petals is on the cardṣ
This one was following the layers method outlined by Deborah Hare. I used three four colours and scrunched the fabric to get this. Looks like the evening sky on some days with the red and dark streaks.
Some of these fabrics have not been made with anything in mind while some are for the quilt blocks I am currently working on. I have to admit I am tempted to buy all the shades of paint available and try them out!. perhaps I will too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Old hat or new cap!

We have a saying in tamil that translated means - what you know is like a 'handful of earth', what you dont know is as big as the Earth!. I was reminded of this proverb when I came upon a new technique recently. Well it was new to me - probably it is old hat to you. I am sure Madhu Mathur of Patchwork of my life considers it a old hat. She casually threw the term at me when I was testing a block for her. Use freezer paper and join up the pieces. Sounded simple enough as I had used freezer paper to do my perfect circles (blogged here). But after printing as per her instructions I was puzzled as to how to proceeḍ. I am one of those who like step-by-step instructions and that with a lot of photos. I battered her with questions but since she was laid up with a bad back and could only use her Ipad and draw a couple of sketches with her bamboo software, I did not get much illumination. Not that I blame heṛ I mean picture her lying on a bed holding up the Ipad and trying to draw pictures to explain her ideaṣ My imagination sure boggles!
 And so I googled and read a bit before getting all the tips and tricks which I used while doing my new dresden circle quilt! And decided that a freezer paper foundation tutorial for a dresden circle was the need of the hour! fter all it is time to give back to the universe what I have amply received by way of tutorialṣ And of course this is also a easy reference for me if I need it years later!

I am doing a dresden wheel and I start with a printed template for a quadranṭ.

I am however planning to do not a quadrant but a half to avoid multiple joints so I need a semi-circle of the template. Please note that there is no seam allowance between the templates/sections - only at the ends. Fold your freezer paper in half and match one edge of the printed template with the folded edge. Insert a carbon paper between the template and freezer paper and fold it under the freezer paper so that you pattern is copied on top and bottom of the freezer papeṛ (Or go for you preferred choice of transferring patterns) Trace the lines including the seam allowance on three sides - the folded side will not have a seam allowance. When the freezer paper is opened out the template will be for a semi circle.
Like paper piecing these need to be needle punched so take them to your machine and choosing the longest stitch setting punch them all.
 Take them out and crease them along the stitch lineṣ. You will find out why a in a short while.
I am sewing dresden blades but you can sew anything with a straight edge in this fashioṇ It gives an almost accurate 1/4 inch seam and pefectly joined pieceṣ.
Get the first blade and as you would do in paper piecing lay it right side up on the shiny side of the first template Press it so that the fabric sticks to the paper taking care not to let the iron come onto contact with the rest of the freezer papeṛ. Turn it around and trim off anything in excess of 1/4 inch. The creases we made earlier will come in handy making it easy to find the line where we need to fold.

Lay the second piece on top of the first - right sides facing.
Now fold back the freezer paper except for the portion already sticking to the fabric and take it to the sewing machine.
Sew along the exposed fabric just right next to the folded freezer paper. Take care not to sew on the paper itself. Take it over to your iron and give the seams a press, open out the second piece of fabric and give it another press. The seams are pressed to one side in this as I found it rather challenging to peel back the freezer paper a little and press open the seams. The second piece of fabric will adhere to the template now.

Now it is time to trim. Fold back the freezer paper after the second piece of fabric, lay your ruler and trim a 1/4 inch from the second fabric. I find this very convenient as I can match the next piece properly
Continue sewing laying the third piece and so on in the same manneṛ.
And when you are done trim away the excess fabric from the top and bottom and join the side seams. I found it simple to remove the paper from one half and use the other to get my perfect 1/4 inch seams.
And here are my perfect Dresden wheels.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Around the world bloghop

I am not a great fan of tag games which keeps breaking out like a rash every now and then in the virtual world. Most of the time it is about the stuff that you hate or like or want or ............Well honestly why would anyone on the world want to know the songs I listen to over and over or the books that I cherish except to take a leap from it and talk about their own passions and pet peeveṣ.
So why did I allow myself to be tagged here in this bloghop? As someone who loves to read I enjoy reading blogs especially to find out what makes other people tick. And reading a quilters blog is like icing on the cake. One gets to know the stories behind  quilts and that is always a fascinating story. Anyday it makes for better reading than someones' pet peeves! So when Madhu Mathur of asked me if she could tag me I accepteḍ. Madhu works out of Jaipur and her quilts reflect the vibrancy and old world charm of the city. I fell in love with Madhu's Just takes 2 quilt and went over to her blog to learn all about her. and she helped me with this quilt
 And her other avatar as a quilt block designer is what now captivates me. If you want to know the designer in her you should be doing her BOM - it seems like no matter who does a block in those patterns they emerge a winner. The one below is a personal favourite.

I am supposed to answer these questions as part of the bloghop, a self exploratory trip  so here I go -

What am I working on
      I have just finished a quilt top for my 8 year old niece Mira and will be sandwiching it in a day or two. I want the quilt to be a surprise for her so I hope this picture does not come her way. I have no doubts she will be thrilled to receive this quilt as she has been impatiently waiting for it the last few months She has recently made up her mind to take up quilting as a profession when she grows up and I am so flattered to have inspired her. It makes this quilt all the more special. Here is a peek at the quilt in its half-way stage.

Perhaps this gift to her from me when she was born kickstarted her love for craft/art? 
Girl at the well - cross-stitched on Aida 
I am also working on the Round the year quilt BOM. I tested the second block for Madhu and from that one block this beautiful quilt was born. My test block is the centre piece and everything else seemed to naturally come togetheṛ in this quilt. It also reflects my current mild obsession with circles  I love this method of doing the circles and in this quilt used them as a canvas to showcase my passion for FMQ .

The other blocks from this BOM are in various stages of readiness including one yet to be printed out! Here is my dahlia and then the card trick which is yet to be put together.

I am also doing a BOM with Caroline of SewCanShe - the classic block quilṭ  Here is my favourite block from that BOṂ
And then I have this ongoing project that seems like it is going to be a lifetime projecṭ.  My grandmother' s flower gardeṇ. Not that my grandmother ever had a garden of flowers.

How does my work differ from others of its  genre
In as much as every individual puts her/his stamp on what she/he does. my work is different from others. And yet since Nature has already been there and all art is but an imitation and often a poor one I am a copyisṭ.
I have to admit that I get surfeited once I master an art or skill . All right master is a bad choice . I should say I cannot spend a lifetime just sewing bed quilts even if the patterns differ . That would be too tedious . My craft journey started with crochet and I have runners and complicated table mats that are now mute testimony to the hours I invested in theṃ. And then I fell in love with the ordered beauty of cross-stitch . Samplers and other little and some not so little wall art now decorate my walls and also those of my family who admired them . Then there was this time when I wrote - blogs, novels, fiction, funny stuff - well I thought they were funny at least.  Quilts have now taken over my life. But I have to admit that I love the look of wall quilts and art quilts and fiber art and mixed media art and they are all beckoning to me. All this does not make me a 'Jack of all trades'. I see how the tricks I picked up in quilting now helps me in  my dress-making, and I end up with crochet trims or a little embroidery on things I make thereby putting my own stamp. This pair of peacocks was a back breaker and took me three years to finish .

Why do I write/create what I do
Writing is simply the easiest way I express myself - I am more comfortable writing than speaking. In fact of late I even avoid the telephone for it seems like I just engage in thoughtless and pointless chatteṛ.Writing however gives one pause - you think and edit and clean up the frivolous or the petty stuff. Any day it scores over talking or in today's world - chatting! And of course as any writer would know it is your little mark on the world - destined to be lost perhaps or some day found and with the cobwebs blown way read by some curious and kindred spirit . And all other creations follows the same reasoning. I create when the mood gets me, to get away from the humdrum, to makes those chores seem just that - things to be done so that I can get on to the more important business of making pretty stuff. I create like any creator to be admired, to be appreciated, to enjoy those fleeting, tiny little moments of triumph that I too mattered, If it were all a matter of commerce one would be happy as long as they are sold . Creating something call it art or whatever, is for those hours you spend in the process and those few seconds of appreciatioṇ  Then it is time to move on to the next and the  nexṭ....
In as much as this is a way to open your heart and mind to fellow travellers in the path of creating beauty, I want to add another question .
What or who impacts your work the most?
 I belong to the period when schools used to have a class devoted to needle-work and samplers, beadwork and bag making and I guess I developed my liking for working with my hands then . No one else in my family ever showed a tendency to ply the needle - not then and not now and most of them do not understand why I 'work' for hours after all the housework is done instead of watching TV or napping or whatever it is that others do. So it was the advent of dh in my life that encouraged the latent interest - from the time I went to classes to learn dresmaking till now. Hhe stays involved to the extent I ask him to - sometimes it is at the point of selecting one design over the other, sometimes it is the colour scheme and of course he is always the first to admire or appreciate or even point out and talk about my work to others . Not to mention all the prosaic work of buying me threads and notions, mailing and picking up stuff. Or whiling away time while I stay cooped up in a room working on my latest passion . So if I were to point to one person who made it possible and makes it work on a daily basis it has to be him . Not surprising then that he becomes the arbiter of the fate of my work. They pass his standards and I am satisfied with my work or fail and leave me with self-doubts that make me bury them in the back of my cupboard . Here is a work that I only executed - everything else from colour and design choice to deciding how it needs to be framed and who it should be gifted to is his choice.

People I tag
      It seems to me that blogging is on a slow track now. Micro blogging in social spheres has taken over and I know very few quilters who write.For that matter I had to dust the cobwebs off my blogs to write this but that has been long pending so I welcomed this opportunity. So I am tagging only a couple of people.
 I tag Caroline Nagar who not only creates beautiful quilts in a jiffy at that but also is a lovely hostess to the quilters' meeṭing in her city. She has this beautiful home that speaks of hours of housekeeping that makes me wish to give up my crafting and get back to basic skillṣ Ah I am kidding you!!!!! Can't ever do thaṭ. Caroline is from a family where all the male members seem to be in the armed forceṣ. Her blogs are a revelation to us ordinary folk who have never had to contend with absent spouse or parent whose whereabouts are sometimes kept a secret! You can visit her here and here.
And I tag Sandhya Karandikar who combines culinary skills and crochet with her passion for quilting. She blogs at