Friday, October 29, 2010

Basket full of Scraps 1

 20" X 32"


The scraps turned into a huge basket. 
Few leftover grays made nice background  for the block.
Appliqued handle fits just right!
It turned out bigger than I had expected! I have no idea how this quilt is going to evolve but that is part of the fun! 
Read more about it here
Want to join in the fun? 
Visit here
Send me an email saying you would like to join the fun.
I need your emails to send you an invite. 

So far I have, 
Nifty
Buffy
Rachael
Julie
Bonnie
Beth
Sallgood 
and
Kelly

If you don't see your name and you already sent me an email, may be I did not have your address. 
My apologies, if you did and I forgot.. send it to me again!

Remember..
Basket full of scraps makes baskets full of scraps!

Have a great weekend!


 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gridlock



If you are a Kaffe Fassett fan, you know what I am talking about. This quilt pattern was in his first quilt book,  'Glorious Patchwork' with Liza Prior Lucy published in 1997.
Roughly, around the same time I started exploring quilting in my own little way. My friend Linda had introduced me to the book and that's all I needed. 


 This was one of the first books I could relate to as a quilter. Although the photographs of quilts were staged in different parts of the world, the colors of quilts were very similar to what I was used to seeing while growing up in India. 

Other well known quilt artists at the time may have used Indian silks and woven fabrics in their quilts but for me, the way Kaffe Fassett could bring all of India in a quilt just by using combination of different colors and textures..
No one could!

Every quilt picture I saw reminded me of home. The plaids and stripes, the bold combination of magenta reds and emerald and chartreuse greens and bright Orange and turquoise blue..Just to name a few!


I started dreaming of all the quilts I would make.. I would day dream in colors and textures..
I would go to the only local quilt shop that carried some of his fabrics. At the time, the quality of his fabrics was not well appreciated among seasoned quilters because the woven fabrics from India were too thin for long life of a quilt. For me, they were perfect because that's how they were supposed to be.. light and airy for India's hot and humid climate.. 

The only problem? 
They were too expensive for me to buy for a whole quilt at the time..

So, I would go and visit the shop but never buy an inch of his or any other fabrics. 
Instead, I would go to a local Jo Ann store and buy what I could justify for my new hobby!

Few years went by and my urge to make a quilt with fresh fabrics took over. 
In 2001, I  started working on an applique quilt, 'Stars in the Garden'. The pattern was designed by Piece 'O Cake designs. I needed some plaids to make the stars for the centers and I  knew where to go! 

They worked like magic!

And, I was hooked!





In 2002, I started working at that very quilt shop. It also turned into a teaching job. 
A workshop based on Kaffe Fassett fabrics and quilts!
My dream job!

I loved helping our customers with the colors and textures from a different eye... 

An Indian eye!

I found these blocks in one of my boxes from the move almost three years ago. During those years, I only could sew while I was in the class with my students and co workers/friends.. 
At home, there were three kids in three different schools, and soccer, boy-scout, baseball and everything that goes with it! 
What I couldn't finish, stayed in a box!



Thanks to my friend 'Nifty' who mentioned of old projects during our last week's conversations, I pulled out that box with the blocks and finished the quilt top.


The light wasn't perfect for pictures yesterday, but today it is raining... So I say, this is great!


This picture reminds me of a silk sari draped in a window display of a sari shop in India.


The quilts looks rather bleached outside than it actually is! But guess what? The blocks are put together after seven years! I say that's an accomplishment by itself!


You see, it was fun for me to put together colors and textures outside the Kaffe Fassett fabrics and make them look as if they were from his collection. As beautiful as his fabrics are, I liked them as an inspiration and as a guide to a gorgeous and glorious color palettes.

Now, don't get me wrong.. I have collected lots and lots of his fabrics over the years. 
Who can resist? 
I am only human!

But, I was stuck in a gridlock!

The line that I used to describe my class, 'let the fabrics do the work for you'  was not working for me. 
I love putting my own colors and textures together. I would see students not wanting to mix his fabrics with other fabrics or follow the exact 'quilt recipe' from the books with all the same fabrics...

That was not my thing!

Quilts are supposed to be fun..

So, I took a break.

A break form creating from his beautiful fabrics.

 It had been three years since I moved. Last I had worked with those gorgeous fabrics was in spring of 2007! I stopped teaching the workshops and moved. The fabrics and unfinished projects stayed in the boxes. 

Yesterday was a great day! 
I feel free again.. moving in the direction where I am supposed to be. You will see in the next few posts..slowly and steadily.. I will be moving forward with his fabrics and inspirations!

Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably's workshops and lectures are lots of fun! I have  learned a lot during those when I got the chance. 
The man can describe a  really pale candle so beautifully with his words at a dinner table, you can start dreaming of a quilt just by hearing him talk about that candle!
Thanks to my friend, Stacie Baumeister who is also the owner of Quiltworks Northwest , I had the opportunity to sit next to him over the dinner, work very closely in the class and had a great time!
Thanks, Stacie!

I wish they would come near my town..I have lots of memories from the past.. I want to share more and make more by using more of their gorgeous fabrics in my quilts.

 I am out of the gridlock! 

By the way, if you missed my previous post about the basket full of scraps, check it out. I am still collecting names. There is no deadline and you can start anytime you want! 
Leave me a comment on that post saying you would like to join the group.

Have a great day!



Monday, October 25, 2010

Basket full of scraps...

makes baskets full of scraps!


Yes, I couldn't stop at just two.
I made a couple of more this morning.
What started out as just scrappy fun is now consuming me!
Has that ever happened to you?


My day began with this today.. I had so much fun with it, I decided to make another one.. bigger than the previous one..of course!


My heart said.. more...more... more...
My brain said, Yes... Yes... Yes...


So, I made several little patches from the scraps, 
Sewed them together how ever they wanted to fit with each other.. and I ended up with a large square patch!
Didn't want a square basket!
So, I rotated it around... funny how things look completely different from a different angle!


Made a patch for the top left side..


 Made another one for the top right side..


All it needed now was a handle.. A really long one!


And a base too!

Too tiny?

I think so!


I think now it is just right!


I am definitely going to make some more! I am not sure how this quilt will evolve but I am not thinking too much into it. I am just having fun making these scrappy basket from my basket full of scraps!

Want to join in the fun?

Leave a comment on this post and include that you are interested in the quilt along. If there is enough interest, I will start a separate blog for you all to be part of this super scrappy fun!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Dress!

It was a big success!
Are you all tired of me going on and on about the dress? I promise, this will be the last of it. 
This past week I worked on the dress, blogged about it and even threw ( privately) tantrums of my own. 
I managed to finish it on time and she went to the dance as one happy girl!

Few of the phrases that went through my mind were... 
Just shoot me.. Never again and What was I thinking?

My dear daughter, might I add is the most understanding, calm and non judgmental human being was not looking for a perfect dress. Just a finished dress! 
Some thing to wear at the dance that would fit her. 

Every time I had my doubts, she encouraged me and when that wasn't working she went on with her life with such trust and faith, believing that it was somehow going to happen.


And it did


 The bag too!

Of course, you will never see the details on the dress. 
I did terrible on finishing details.
But she assured me,"Mom, I don't mind!"
Last night she tried it on and it was almost three inches big..
I sewed a seam from top of the back to the waist..
It worked great!

Her glowing face was enough of a proof!

Last year was my first attempt at a formal dress. same story.. went to the mall and did not find anything that would fit her and my pocket so I somehow made this dress. With boning and zipper and all.. 
Another one of those- you never want to see from up close! 

Those people from that show would throw a fit!


 But she was as happy as she could be!


I think she is just a happy girl because if my mom made me a dress that had so many flaws.. I am not sure how I would have reacted.. Wait a minute.. I know and she does too!  
LOL...

Now that I can reflect back on this past week,
I will never say never.. 

why? 

Because, that's what I said to my mom when I was a teenager.. 
I was never-ever going to sew in my life.. 
and here I am!

I know for fact that I don't  follow instructions well. 
It is not because I can not.. I just don't like it.
I am just made that way.. 
No big deal!
  
All the while I was trying to follow each and every one of some 45 steps, I was eagerly anticipating for the Saturday to come and be done!

Living in the moment would have saved me a few trips to the fabric store and ripping out seams over and over again! 
By the way, I only do that while I sew garments..
Quilting is another story!

Speaking of which, now I have some beautiful silks from this and past experiements.
I am thinking a crazy quilt. That 's how they were made.. scraps and strings from the tailored clothing..
Oh.. it feels good to be talking about quilts again!
Can't wait!

The second biggest advantage of making the dress?
I was forced to dust of my Viking Designer One and learned that it is a very classy machine.. 
 It sews like magic and after first few getting used to it moments I was sewing like a champ!

The first and foremost advantage.. you ask?
 
Did I mention the smile?
 

Never say never! 
 
Live in the moment.
 
Trust me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Needle in the haystack?

Or is it all over the house?

Is it possible for us to never misplace the needle while working on a project? I have tried my very best to keep them organized.. I still manage to lose them every once in a while.

I am working on finishing the dress. I feel like I have been deprived of joyful sewing experience for past week, but I am not going to fuss about that right now. There have been some good things that came out of that too and I will share that some other day.


 

This morning I was working on the dress and decided to take a small break.

I was not close to my beautiful pincushions at the time. In that moment I put the threaded needle to a SAFE place so I would find it right away when needed and took a little email break!

What seemed like few minutes of reading and answering the emails, It had been good half and hour. I forgot where the safe place for that needle was.. Needless to say, I spent next half an hour searching so that it would not show up at random places.

I finally gave up and threaded another needle wanting to just FINISH the dress.
As I sat down on the chair again I noticed a thread on my pants around my left knee and I looked down...

Guess what?

I had found my needle!

So, here are today's questions:

Do spend half an hour looking for the lost or misplaced needle or secretly hope that it will turn up somehow ( think of the possibilities.... ouch) and carry on with another needle?

Do you stick it in your shirt thinking it is the safest place in that moment?

Do you get out that vacuum cleaner before someone else discovers it?

Okay now...Be honest!




The dress is almost finished. I can not wait to get back to sewing 100% cotton fabrics.. Strings and scraps..


But I did do some fun stuff too. Took some pictures of my finished quilts for this. Check it out!
Got some more quilt tops out to baste.
The one on the left is almost 10 years old. How terrible is that? That's going to be my canvas for machine quilting!
But first, got to go back to hand work on that dress.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Still cleaning!


I thought I was done sorting cleaning and rearranging until I hit the scrap bin!
  More thin and fat strips were crying to be used.
So, I made some fabric for future string quilt.
 

Kept cleaning and found few leftover blocks from this quilt.
So made a little doll quilt.


Not sure what I will do with it. But they are better in a quilt top than in a bin! 





I also found a stack of thrift market shirt fabrics and scraps. A quilt block made in 2002.

 THAT WAS SOME FIND!

 That means lots of new and fun projects are on the horizon.
But first, I have promised my daughter a homedcoming dress!  And when is homecoming, you ask?

Next weekend!

I better get started! I am really not a good seamstress. I stress over making outfits. 

As much as I love watching Project Runway and wish I could sew beautiful dresses, working without restrictions on size, shape and colors is my way.

I am better at  making 'it work' than making 'it'.

I hope she has a decent dress to wear next Saturday.


Wish me luck!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lost and Found

It is the second day of my clean up job! Yes, I decided to take a break from sewing and just clean up and organize the space. Like a lot of you who stopped by yesterday, I like to clean up in between projects. 
It gives me a clean slate to work with inside and out. 
It is a time consuming process and while I clean, I constantly think about zillions of projects I could be working on. But this process gives birth to new ideas and wild possibilities. 
I found fabrics I had forgotten I had! 
Now that is like hitting a jackpot! It's like getting new fabrics and you don't have to spend a dime.. 
Well, you did at some point... but not today! LOL!!!
I like that about reorganizing the fabrics. It also give me a sense of accomplishment.  

And look what else I found when I was emptying a box of fabric!

 


 A choo choo train wall hanging I made out of felt 22 years ago!




And the airplanes and some clouds to go with it!




 A quilt half way hand quilted needing some more attention.




A basket quilt top I made while my husband was on a business trip back in 1998.
I had major plans for hand quilting that one too! 

 


A king size quilt top inspired from one of the Kaffe Fassett books.




 And more of those wagon wheels!




 Few of the Jan Patek blocks sitting on the quilt 'Kavita's Garden' I designed in 2003.




An Amish quilt top!  The wheel fits just fine there don't you think?




I like it when it is all nice and flat!
There was a third ring to go with it. I wonder where it is right now!


This was the original quilt I made few years back.
 


I also found the only art project I brought along with me when I moved to this country! 
I often get asked if I have formal training as an artist. 
Yes, I went to an art school in India and studied graphic design in days when computers were hard to find for students. For some silly reason, I chose to major in Typography and Calligraphy.   
Drawing and painting was fun then and still is. Although, I have not picked up a paint brush in a long time.
I guess these days, I am painting with fabrics!


 
 
The word "GLASS' is 1 mm thick and I am proud to say that I hand painted it. 
No tools, no gadgets, just a paint brush and lots of concentration! I remember chanting in my head like little engine that could.. I think I  can! I think I can!
 
Oh yes, I also painted the glass candle stand.  
 
It is really good to find old things filled with great memories.
 
I am so glad I was stuck the other day and found my way back to 1984!
 
More about this next week.
 
Have a peaceful and happy weekend!