Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unconventional and Unexpected - American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000


''Some experiences leave a permanent mark in your brain, they change the way you think and process, they remind you of who you are and supposed to be..Going through the pages of your book has confirmed my values as far as this art is concerned. Thank you for collecting, writing and putting this book together. It will be forever in Shah family collection. Some day my budding artist/writer daughter will inherit it.''

Above was my reaction in an email to Roderick Kiracofe's within first 20 minutes of it's arrival at my doorstep.

I had been anticipating my shipment of ''Unconventional and Unexpected - American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000'' for so long, I did a happy dance when I saw the UPS truck stop at the front of my house.

Turning to the first page itself was an emotional experience. I froze for a few minutes and then carried on to the next page. I was trying to hold back the crazy excitement and mad rush of wanting to go through the entire book to see all at once. Every quilt made me think of one or more elements of design.

Importance of contrast
 Does this make you wonder what the back of the quilt looks like?

Mix of hard and soft lines
Can you see the movement?

Texture within texture

How about here?

 Doesn't this make all you wonder about the definition of modern design? The concept of making do was just a way of living.

Why figure 8? Seems like a form of expression but what? Did she leave a label on the back with an explanation?

Am I the only one who sees a nose and an eye of a puppy here?

How about this chest of drawers? Doesn't that remind you of some furniture in some Asian import store?

Totally unexpected, right? 

Every page screams HAPPY. Yes, that's with all caps! It's like one big celebration between cover to cover. it is filled with pictures of the quilts' front and back, essays written by quilt designers, authors and educators in the field.  I could keep posting pictures of the quilts from the book and talk about it for next few posts but there is nothing like actually holding the book in your hands. I had seen many images on various blog posts and fb groups but nothing is as satisfying as having it in my library.

Here is the link to Amazon to purchase the book. Make sure you click on the reviews by customers and read what others are thinking too. I hope you already have the book. If not, it's on its way. If you like unexpected results, thinking outside the box and surprises that come along the way of improvisational quilting, this is the book for you.

Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Moving along with Painted Zigzag

Last week I pieced the back for my zigzag quilt. Read about it here how it all started. It makes me happy when I piece a back for such a large quilt because that means I have reduced a chunk of my old fabrics.

This quilt was almost entirely made with used clothing from the Goodwill Store. Women's skirts, shirts, children's clothing and aprons, scrubs everything went. I had taken a challenge for myself to make something from recognizable fabrics. The fabric content include all cotton to polyester, rayon and cotton blends.
This is what I came up with. It may not be perfect by today's quilting standard for some but I love it.   

Click on the picture on the side bar and you will find the loosely written instructions for the quilt.

I spent most of my evening wondering whether to machine quilt or by hand but finally resorted to machine quilting. It is going to be another challenge for me. It is a queen size quilt with busy prints.. My eyes are going to pop out by the time I am done with it.

Wish me luck! I am going to need it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quilt on a Clothsline - Basket Quilt

We took Kavita to college last Friday. She is settled and ready for her academic year. I could write an entire post about it but I would rather talk about the basket quilt on the clothesline today.

I used to subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens magazine for as long as I remember. I loved the ideas and inspirations for home and garden. I don't quite remember which year it was but it was soon after I had finished my house quilt, I found a basket quilt in the magazine. Black prints of basket blocks sparkled against the background color I thought was orange but later found out was called cheddar.

Once I had changed few details in the house quilt pattern, I thought, I could make this entire quilt without a pattern by just looking at the picture. There was no internet and charts that would tell you how to configure the half square triangles.. But I have a mathematician/engineer husband who helped me with the measurements. I followed the picture and made one just like it.

This quilt still is one of my favorite quilts. I hand quilted with crosshatching 2'' squares. 

Most of the off white fabric was leftover from the previous quilt. I think the navy blues were also leftover fqs from Jo-ann fabric store back when they cost only 69 cents.

Here is the back of the quilt. I may have missed a few spots of quilting.


Isn't it funny how some colors never leave you? This mandevilla has been a non-stop bloomer this summer.  

Basket quilt has been hanging above our piano as long as we have had a piano..which was when our pianist was very tiny and in second grade. This picture was taken the day we took her to college.

Funny how I had not thought of that orange quilt in the magazine for such a long time! Fall is near.. may be I will make an orange quilt.. Who knows, it might be with basket block.

My plans for this weekend include basting a quilt and starting a new one. How about you?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This and That

A small wall hanging done with minimalistic approach..

Mix of old and new..

I had some fun with sunlight and shadows...

A birthday gift of a mug rug from Kelly... I turned 51 this month...another year older and wiser!

Although the fun I had with this mug rug suggests something other than old.

I found a place for the mug-rug somewhere other than under a mug.


This was the scene above my fire place.

He is all decked up! Kelly, it looks just beautiful! Thank you!

I felt sorry for the little calf...

So I made one for him too!

  And now they look just right!

A pin cushion from Christine could not have come at a better time..I needed one that would sit steadily on the table. Thank you, Christine!

It was my turn to host my quilting group. It was a great day spent with friends talking about quilts and life over chocolate cake and raspberry sauce. Even I had a piece of cake.. Very unusual of me to eat chocolate cake or any for that matter. My friend Terry is going on another hike tomorrow.. This time in Maine climbing Mt.Katahdin. She loves anything chocolate.. I had to bake her a cake! She is so brave and amazingly talented! I am always inspired by her adventures.

Go Terry! I will be thinking of you!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quilt on a Clothesline- First entry in a show and a ribbon

After finishing there's a bird in my garden quilt I had realized that I liked freedom in stitching. I liked applique. I am not sure if it was the group I was in or those mild temperatures in Seattle or my background but I found myself drawn to homespun fabrics and fall like colors. I picked up this pattern called, Button Tree Lane to make another wall quilt.

It was fun making this quilt. Each house represented my neighbors and friends. Our neighborhood was the friendliest neighborhood, as warm and cozy as this quilt.

 I used freezer paper for the templates for little windows and doors, chimneys and rooftops.. it was like being an architect and urban planner all in one!

I enjoyed picking colors and prints for the houses. The pattern had appliqued tree stumps and then embroidered branches with buttons.. Well, I for one was not a big fan of buttons.. So after following the pattern for two or three trees, I ripped out the embroidered branches and decided to applique them. Added leaves to make them look like the trees I wanted. The pencil marks I had made for the branches were now quite visible but I did not care. I had seen many of those in a finished quilt or embroidered wall hangings in India. I thought it was just part of a handmade textile art.

I honestly have no idea what needle or batting I used. Looking at these stitches, make me even wonder if I ever did this! Those stitches are tiny! I could not pick a favorite when it came to the houses. They are all so cute!
I do know one thing, I wasn't spending a lot of money on this craft. There was no matching thread to the applique fabrics.

Check out my stitches with white thread on dark brown appliqued tree branches. I have always loved seeing my stitches.. good or bad.. I have always been a fan of imperfections of handmade things.. or traces of human hands in crafts.

So here it is on the clothesline.

and the back.

I used 1/4'' quilting tape for diagonal quilting. Stippling with machine was a big deal.. it was something I could never do.. My machine was not even equipped with darning foot. So I decided to stipple with hand quilting. Who does that?

That local quilt/fabric shop had it's annual quilt show. I entered the quilt just to see it hanging somewhere other than on my dining room wall.

It won me my first ever ribbon!!! Second place in hand applique category. Not bad right?
I honestly don't remember which year it was. But looking at Kavita, I believe she was in preschool and it had to be around 1999.. This is why it is important to date and sign the quilts which I clearly did not do.

Have you ever made a house quilt? This makes me want to make another one fitting my life and quilting style today.