Friday, August 1, 2014

New Friday Feature and an update

After mom left, I have been busy with all sorts of things. Matters like looking for an apartment in NYC for my daughter and taking care of my poor back suffering from a pinched sciatic nerve for over four months have consumed me.. They say it takes a long time for it to heal. I know they are right. After some failed physical therapy I have resorted to resting and taking breaks during my day and driving as little as possible. I have also started walking instead of my regular high impact workouts.

The good thing about this is with enough breaks I am able to sew just fine. Since we moved our old kitchen table in my studio, sewing at any time when I have few minutes has become possible.. Having an extra space to spread out in the studio has been tremendous help. Not moving and shifting of cutting and sewing space on the same table has sped up the process.

Let me talk about the new feature - Quilt on the Clothesline.

The clothesline my mom used is still up and reminding me of her being here. Our homeowner's association does not allow any kind of laundry hanging outside. Lucky for me, we have enough trees in the back to keep it hidden from pretty much anyone who is walking or driving through the neighborhood.

I keep staring at it from the kitchen window and think of my mom. As pleasant as those memories are, I have stared at it enough to think of something other than mom and equally pleasant!

Why not go down the memory lane, document my own journey of quilting with the help of this clothesline? Starting today, each Friday I will feature one quilt a week from the very beginning of my journey as a quilter. I am not sure how many weeks I will be doing this since I have no clue how many quilts, tops I have made so far. I am not even sure if I have them in chronological order but I am going to try my best to keep it straight.

Although there can be only one first, each quilt in this picture is very important first of my life as a quilter.

The small quilt in the middle is today's quilt of the week on the clothesline.

My First Quilt
I took my first class in 1992 in a shop called Going to Pieces. I was introduced to this quilting shop by a friend Kathy who was a quilter and also made dolls whose son was my son Gautam's very first friend in Livermore, CA. She got me into making dolls when I was mother of two boys.

I made dolls and sold them in local gift shops for next few years until the birth of my very own doll. I still have some of those doll patterns in my collection.I often think about revisiting doll making for fun but haven't quite done it.

In that four week long class, I learned the basics of quilt-making like cutting the straight lines, sewing 1/4'' seam allowance and freezer paper applique. It also included instructions on how to butt the seams for a nine patch to get those perfect matching points, difference between pressing and ironing and a lesson in contrast and values in colors. Our teacher, Linda also taught us how to hand quilt and bind the quilt. It all seemed like magic! In four sessions we learned a lifetime of lessons for traditional quilting. 

Wait a minute...that was the only style of quilting I thought/knew was around then!

I was the only girl from India who had taken a class from that teacher. She loved talking to me about India. I was fascinated that she was so much interested in my home country. 

It took a while to finish the hand stitching my first quilt. I used polyester batting which felt like I was quilting through butter. I had poked my fingers so many times, I remember thinking that it was never going to finish. The quilting hoop I bought then still has the label of the shop on it. Love that hoop! Although I enjoyed applique and hand stitching more than piecing of the quilt, watching all those different components coming together was fun.

Do you still have your first quilt with you? Did you take a class or someone in the family taught you?

I would love to know about it. 

And on the front porch...remember this?

 Here is the basket now...

Yes, my front porch is the saddest looking front porch in the neighborhood but it is filled with joyous sounds of little wren chhikies chirping.. Momma wren is constantly flying in with food and babies open their mouths and stick them out as soon as they hear her. As happy as I am for them, I am also ready to switch that basket with some fresh foliage. Hurry up and fly away please!
Have a great weekend. It is supposed to rain here.. I am ready with my bobbins filled!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

1017 little squares

You would need 1017- 1 1/2'' x 1 1/2'' squares to make 113 - 3'' x 3'' finished nine-patch blocks. No, I did not piece them individually. Barb shared a cool technique on how to make these scrappy nine patches the easier way. Read all about mine here and visit the link for the tutorial on these little jewels.

I also worked on a small quilt top yesterday. Now wondering on how to quilt this wall hanging.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mom and a sparrow with long beak

Last month my mom visited here for three weeks. It was such a privilege having her in my home. I think they were the best three weeks of my year so far. I am not sure when I will see her in my home again if at all.. I took lot of pictures to keep a photo journal of her visit.
Sharing some of them with you all today.

We spent some of hour evenings watching the sunsets

We took her to the Longwood Gardens.. She was quite amused.. walked in the rain and distance to see everything she could. That picture of my husband walking with her is my all time favorite!

I asked her what is her favorite color.. I knew but wanted to double check.. This is it!

I tied a cloths line for her in the back yard because she liked doing her own laundry the old fashion way.. I enjoyed watching her as she made her way out there to hang her sari to dry..

and back with dried laundry. 

She did not know I was taking her pictures when she Sun gazed.. A different kind of sun-bathing than any of us know!

She loved walking in the morning Sun.. Noticed few things and made a point of telling me about them.. Like the dew drops..

and the hummingbird who loved going up and down the planter filled with Zinnias.

She called him the sparrow with a long beak! I will forever think of that when I see a hummingbird. I took this picture the day she left for India.

Together we cooked in my kitchen,

and made a quilt! Walked and talked, watched Indian TV programming which I hardly do.

Final edits for my book had arrived while she was with me in my home. I got to read the dedication to her, sitting next to her, in person! It was a special moment, I could hardly hold my tears back as I translated it word by word. Neither could she.

I am going to miss her. We had the best time together!

We gained lot of great memories, and I gained a few pounds!

Her food!!! I get to eat it again next January.. Can't wait for my trip to India! Few more months!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blogger Question

I am curious about replying to the comments on the blog.

I recently found out that in spite of replying to every single comment in the comment box, my readers may not have received those replies in their inbox. I am curious if there is anything in the setting that can be used to redirect the replies or is it something only a reader can choose by clicking on the 'notify me' option.

I will appreciate any answer you may have. 

Rachael recently did not receive the reply I wrote to her in the comment box and now I am thinking none of you did! I am so sorry! I have always tried reply to the comments you all leave. For once I thought of trying something different, only to find out that it did not work. And it happened on one of my favorite posts!

I apologize for making you wonder about the comments you left. Thank you all for responding, placing the order on the book and for your words of encouragement.
Summer has arrived! I am enjoying working on sewing machine, hand stitching and photographing some old and new quilts.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stitching memories

of a visit from a friend and hot flashes.

Chris from Hudson News and Muse sent a note few weeks back wondering if I was going to be around on the 3rd of July. In past few years Chris and I have had quite a few email visits with each other involving conversations about family, hobbies, work and quilts. On Thursday, for few short hours I got to meet her in person with her husband, Scott - two of the nicest 'first time in person - friends' I have had opportunity to welcome in my home.

I am generally very shy meeting someone for the first time. Believe me when I say this, I was definitely not 'as cool as a cucumber' as I greeted them. As a matter of fact, within first five minutes of their arrival, I had one of my worst hot flashes! I was so embarrassed, I had to stop talking and get myself a glass of water to cool down.

Although it lasted for only first few minutes, I will never forget that. Over the lunch we talked about our kids, quilts and friendships. After lunch we did a little show and tell. I showed them my studio! She also got to see few of my quilts from my book. Just in case you missed it, YES!!! I wrote a book! Cultural Fusion Quilts is due out this December and available now on Amazon to pre-order.

Scott was nice enough to take a few pictures of us. He did a great job.. What do you think?

After they left, I sat down with my scrap quilt and took a few stitches thinking about the time spent with them. I have met many friends through blogging and continue to appreciate what it has done for me. I had not stitched a single stitch by hand in a while. I am thankful that a visit from Chris and Scott brought me out of that slump.

I spent rest of the day stitching what I call organic quilting. No marking, no tools, no noise of the machine.. just my needle and thread along with my thoughts.

By the way, Chris had pointed it out on her way in that a little bird was making a nest in my fuchsia basket. 
No wonder no matter how well I took care of that basket, lately it was looking rather disturbed!
That afternoon I paid close attention to the activities out there.. A pair of wren were making quite a nest. 

They had dug out a considerable size hole in the basket. I watched them line the hole with grass, twigs and even dried leaves and build a structure with walls and roof! When they were done it looked like an igloo made with grass. Clever, right?

It seems like our front porch has become quite the maternity ward for our backyard - front yard birds. Early this spring robin had made nest on the front porch lamp.. We were only gone for couple of days and before we even realized what was happening, momma robin had made it her home. We kept the front porch light off for the entire time.

Now I am wondering if I can water the basket with the nest.

I would like for it to continue blooming.

It's been blooming since the month of May!

I am going to continue hand quilting today. Here are some more pictures of the quilt in progress.

Have a great weekend!