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!


  1. I love your clothesline feature! It was fun to read about your early days of quilting and sewing. Your kids were sooo cute! Its fun to look at old photos of them, isn't it?
    I do have my first quilt. I start my lecture with it. It's fun to think about that time.
    Your plant may be sad, but how nice to have hosted a bird family!!
    Hope your back continues to improve. I've had issues too and it stinks -
    Happy Rainy sewing

  2. Great post I will love watching your quilts on the clothesline! xox

  3. How sad not to be allowed to have a clothes line - the smell of laundry dried in the fresh air is surely the best there is! I loved the story of your first quilts. I made my first patchwork cushions when I was about 14 or 15, but I didn't finish my first 'real' quilt until about 7 or 8 years ago - it was an Ohio Star lap quilt made entirely by hand for a very special couple (my sister-in-law and her husband) that I wanted to say a special thank you to. (Never had any classes, just been sewing since I was about 8 and never stopped - so my first quilt was made by winging it!)

  4. Lovely quilt photos, and it isn't a clothesline - it is a prop for displaying or photographing quilts :)

  5. I loved hearing about your first quilt and I love your new feature of showing us your earlier quilts! I didn't take lessons until after I'd made about 12 quilts. I borrowed every quilt book that my local library had and worked from those. It's really quite amazing to have a potted birds nest.

  6. I enjoyed this story of your first quilt & how you connected it to remembering your mother's visit. How sad your neiborhood association does not allow closelines. To me they are so beautiful & of course so much better for the environment. Your quilts look so pretty on yours ( your mom's) surrounded by trees but your neighbors are missing a beautiful sight. I hope your back is better soon. Have you tried yoga? It is often helpful for people with back problems.

    1. Hi Sally,
      It is sad that this association doesn't allow the clothes line. There is nothing like the sight of fresh laundry hanging on a clothesline in the the soft breeze. I think that's the reason I love taking pictures of my quilt on the clothesline. I love yoga. For a while, that was the only form of exercise I used to do as a routine. At times I do feel that I am on the mend but it is a slow process. I am getting there!
      Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. I can't imagine not being allowed to hang my washing outside! I love the smell of the fresh air when I bring it all in.
    What's a clothesline for? I guess they think that using a dryer and all that electricity has a lesser impact on the environment.
    That said, your line looks great with all your quilts hanging on it. Technically, its not washing!

  8. Looking forward to your Friday feature ... seeing pics & reading about your quilting journey!

  9. They can regulate laundry? That's just wrong. Love the quilts. I'll be watching for Fridays!

  10. Well you are hanging art not laundry! Even your first quilt has unmistakable spice in the colours:) I am a long time sewer and a more recent self-taught quilter. I've learned from books and lately Craftsy which suits an odd schedule. I look forward to your weekly "Clothesline Gallery" exhibit!

  11. Amazing Sujata color!! Thanks for lovely post.

  12. This is a fun trip through memory lane. I'm looking forward to all of your installments. Your first quilt has your signature color pizzazz! Your little ones are so cute. Now you have little ones in the fuchsia nest. Best wishes finding the right apartment for your daughter. My first quilt class was shortly after my father died, almost 10 years ago. The teacher and the other students didn't know they were my grief support group!

  13. I hope you heal quickly. I love your clothes line idea. I don't have my first quilts - they wore out!

  14. What a great post and a wonderful idea to talk about your quilting history! Being introduced to quilting was a turning point in my life when I realized how fulfilling it is to be creative with fabric. And you can meet the neatest people in the world when you get involved with quilting :-)

  15. What a great feature idea! I look forward to reading more! Take care, Pam

  16. Love this post.....what a great idea. Your quilts are beautiful!!

  17. What a great post, I enjoyed reading about your first quilt. My son still has the first quilt I made. I did a class for that one but learnt a lot by taking books out from the guild library.
    How interesting about the clothesline. Every house in Australia and New Zealand has a clothes line as most of us dry our clothes outside.

  18. The clothesline postings will be wonderful. And what a special memory each time you hand a quilt...for both about your mom and about the quilts. It will be fun to see the quilts thru the different seasons! I had to laugh when I saw the little quilt in the middle. Sujata? Oh... A first quilt. Yes!

  19. Gorgeous little quilt, wonderful to know you had such a lovely time stitching up this cutie chatting with your quilt teacher about India!

  20. I am so behind on my blog reading but I loved this post!!! what a great idea and a great story. I still have my first quilt which was a baby quilt for my first born! I had taken an intro to quilting at our local comm college and then I just used a book and some floral fabrics that at the time I liked (now I wonder what I was thinking!)

  21. lovely post! I sympathize with your frustrations about your back pain. I have been suffering from a stiff neck and shoulders (causing headaches) and lower back pain. mostly from too much sewing/quilting. I have been getting some massage therapy, which helps alot. I am learning to take frequent breaks and doing some yoga stretches a couple of times a day.
    The first quilt I made was for my son about 15 years ago. I made it without ever taking a class. just tried to figure it out on my own. he still sleeps with it, layered over two other newer quilts that he has on his bed. I noticed recently that all the quilting stitches are gone! need to fix that.

  22. A lovely process of sharing your quilts. I will be following you right along - Hugs Nat


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