Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Winds of Change

I started this quilt in October of 2018. I was hoping to gift this to my daughter Kavita as a Christmas present but as you can tell, it is still here.

This quilt has gone through many changes. It evolved from a plain and simple Kawandi quilt to what it is right now.

Winds of Change 23" X 41"
I made the background from pale fabrics because I wanted to challenge myself with light and soft shades. Well that did not work out as a quilt in itself but they worked very well as a background.

I used every shade of red plaid I had in my stash to make the "table" for the pot of flowers.

They were layered and stitched like a Kawandi quilt. 

The pot was little difficult to stitch because that grey fabric is a piece of my pants. I machine pieced the rectangle pot and then hand stitched on the background. 

I love the use of large prints for the applique. It makes it easier to have a great impact with simple and bold design. One piece applique takes out all the trouble of registration of patterns. Gwen used to say, "Folk art applique used to be simple and then they made it complicated." I love simple so here it is!

I did use the freezer paper to make sure the leaves fit the background. I also wanted an oversized, organic shapes. The only way to get that was to not worry about prints, patterns and where the branches and leaves end up on the back ground. Because it was spontaneous, it evolved throughout with every step of stitching. 

Last step was deciding the shape and color of the flower. My basic instinct was to go for red and teal blue solids. 

This is what I had in mind but the fabrics were too thin and somehow for the first time in my life I thought, solids are not working. They were overpowering the entire quilt design. I chose blue and red prints in the end and changed the shape of the flower. I think the flower could have been the same as here but you learn as you go. 

This was another option but somehow I decided to go with the flower. I added lots of extra stitching for the feeling of winds of change that is blowing through my life. 

The quilt measures 23" X 41". It has layers of fabric as batting. It is stitched entirely by hand other than the construction for the pot. 

I will continue adding the "wind" for a while until it all settles down. 
I am also adding this quilt as a workshop sample for future workshops and retreats.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend and have a great week!


Friday, May 3, 2019

Have you?

Have you been wondering where did I disappear?

I was hoping to post all the pictures from both, Santa Cruz and San Francisco shows. Write about my wonderful experience with all the people I got to interact. All I can say is, the shows were a fantastic way to mark over four years period of publishing the book and traveling as a quilt teacher.

This is the latest quilt I finished just before the show in San Francisco. I have not made many quilts with pink fabrics but for some reason here it is!

My all organic pink quilt! It has bits and pieces from previous projects but also has pieces of my skirt from 1992 and my husband's shirt that also was used in Primary Colors Quilt. All organically cut with scissors and hand quilted!

When I was posting process pictures of this quilt on instagram, I would tag it as #pinkisnotmycolor but that was about to change.

On the morning of Tuesday, March 19th, I had all my quilts out for selection for the Q_U_I_L_T San Francisco show. I was busy picking and choosing but at some point I decided to take a break from it and shower instead. 

While I was taking a shower, I found a lump in my breast.

"No, it can't be!" I just had a mammogram!

At first I thought I imagined it. I tried to feel it couple of times and then rushed out of the shower. I got dressed but that fear had already made a home in my mind.

I kept working but I could not stop thinking about that lump and feeling it. My hand would just reach in to confirm what I now already knew as a fact. I guess I was hoping over and over that it wasn't true.

I had a show to hang on Thursday, 21st March. I thought for the time being I will put it aside. Keep working and make the appointment on Monday after the show.

Next three hours, I found myself just focused on that lump than anything else. I even went back in the bathroom, undressed to check if it was a mistake.

It was not a mistake!

I called the doctor's office to make an appointment. I continued packing my quilts in bags making sure that everything I needed for the show was in right order.

The next day, after a physical and a mammogram I came home expecting a call for an ultrasound.

I remember feeling exhausted after the appointment. They were nice to take me in so quickly but surprisingly enough, the doctor thought both my breasts were the same and there was nothing abnormal. I asked, "Don't you feel the lump?" I had to hold her hand and put her finger on the lump so she would feel it. She ordered the mammogram, told me not to worry, "Not every lump ends up being cancer." I came home and crashed on the couch. It wasn't even half an hour, I got a phone call to get an ultrasound done. I made the appointment for Monday, 25th March.

For next three days, I boxed away all my worries and concerns and had a really great time at the show. It was just lovely to be able to talk about my quilts and their stories. The whole time I was thinking, "What a great way to end this journey as a traveling teacher if that is what it will be!"  

On Monday, 25th March, my husband and I went to the hospital for the ultrasound which obviously followed by a core biopsy. We both came back home, again with - "Don't worry, not every lump is cancer. It will be okay. Someone will call you with the results in 3 to 5 days."

Somehow those words were meaningless to me. Deep down in my gut I knew.

The next day around noon I received a phone call. Not 3-5 days... the very next day.

"You have breast cancer."

Four words and my life changed!

It is important to me to share my experience with all of you, my friends who are scattered all over the globe.

I had my routine mammogram early this year on 30 January 2019.

The result of that mammogram was negative.

Exactly six weeks after that I found a lump.

I am thankful for the day I found it. I have a long road ahead of me but I am going to be fine. Thankfully, it is a stage one cancer.

So the reason for the title of this post? 


HAVE YOU had your mammogram in past year?

HAVE YOU done a self breast exam in past month?

HAVE YOU put your health on the back burner for whatever reason?

Life changes in a flash.

After I shared my news, I have already heard from women in my family and friends who do not do a self exam. They will now. 

All you have to do is close your eyes and feel your breasts as if your life depends on it.  IT DOES!

This pink quilt is now my healing quilt. 

I will be carrying it with me to every chemo treatment and cuddle under whenever I feel like it. Yes! pink is my new favorite color! 

Today I am a breast cancer patient and in six months I will be a breast cancer survivor. 

Make that appointment. Don't just stop there. Do your life good by following through at home.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Show

I had to put the uandu quilt to the side for a short while. A lot is going on right now and there are only so many hours in the day.

I am going to be the featured artist at PVQA annual quilt show this weekend. Past couple of weeks I have been busy sewing hanging sleeves on my quilts that has never been hung before. Those are some very large quilts so you can imagine the time it has taken to make them show ready.

Today I am grouping them as they will hang in the show to make it easier on the the volunteers who are working there.

It is even nice to see them hanging side by side in my house on this bedroom where light is always bright.

I also have some Ralli and Siddi quilts from India made with old saris and other scraps. Most of the quilts I have are two sided quilts as they are when you make do. It was hard to decide on which side to attach the sleeves on. If they were visible from both side, I would have taken a different approach but only one side is going to be seen. I thought I would post here both side of this particular quilt so you can all see the quilt.

I am calling this the front side since the other side ended up with a sleeve.

Wouldn't you agree the sleeve looks really tacky? I am going to remove it as soon as I get it back. This quilt weighs a lot with old clothes being used as "batting". I appreciate the old Indian ways of quilting and curious to use thinner fabric layers as batting in my next few quilts.

Interesting observation of the day is that quilts in the first picture were made many moons ago. I bought this Siddi quilt last year. To see them all side by side in this blog post confirms my thoughts on how our mind works as artist. I can never take India out of my head. Although, it has been 33 years of living in the United States, I drift very easily between minimalism and maximal-ism when it comes to quilting and designing. One thing remains constant is the use of colors and textures of India in my quilts.

Here are the close up pictures of Siddi Quilt.


If you are local, please stop by and say hello. The lecture is at 2:00 PM. Quilts will be hanging in two different buildings.

Here is the link to the show.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Progress on UANDUQAL

I have been stealing some time away from having to put sleeves on my quilts and making progress on my uanduqal blocks.

When I made first few, I wasn't sure where this was going to go or if I will be able to stick with it. I don't usually do foundation piecing. I like to just cut my fabrics and sew but this is a different kind of quilts and it required the good old phone book, and lots of little pieces from shirts and few solids.

Every morning I make a few and later in the evening when time permits, I have been trimming them. It has gone pretty well so far.

It took no time to fill this design wall up. I am working with 9"X 9" blocks so you can see how small this design wall is. It is good to see them on the wall though, it gave me an idea on which direction to go.

It is mindless sewing but I am mindful about picking my colors and textures next to each other. Just because a quilt is scrappy, doesn't mean I let go of my need to design.

Once I ran out of space, I decided to just have fun arranging them in a beehive pattern.

Oh dear! There is another idea for a quilt! I am telling you I could devote this entire year for the quilts inspired from U and U! It is that good!

As you know, initially I had decided not to work with Y seams but it will be a great quilt if I can pull it off.

For those of you, who might want to stay away from those painful seams, there is another way of working with squares.

Isn't this exciting? The more I look at the pattern better it gets!

So how would you avoid the Y seams?

It's simple. Make your blocks square!

This is for a nine inch finished block. I would simply add setting triangles on either side. I cut mine at 5 inches and then cut once diagonally to finish the square. Yes, you will see that seam in the middle but if you use solid fabric it won't show after quilting and if you use prints, oh what better than add more texture to the quilt?

Once your square blocks are done, you will simply use the diagonal setting and set the blocks on point to finish the quilt top. You will need setting triangles at the end to finish the edges.

How about that?

So those of you who are struggling with quarter Square triangles not working, you can still use these blocks and make them look like continuous octagon shape.

I have made a little stack here and I plan to continue.

 I hope all of you who are in deep freeze weather are staying warm.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

2019 - A Year of New Quilts and Classes

 I have been looking at my latest quilts lately and wondering.

If I am floating between the spaces. It is easy to do when I go down the memory lane while stitching away.

Primary Colors

They are mostly paved with million little stitches. Each one gets me closer to the space I am trying to reach.

 Most of my favorite quilts have had humble and spontaneous beginnings.

 They surround me with brightness just like the Sunlight in every nook and corner of this home.

They brighten my evenings like that ray of light at the end of a gray day. 

No matter where I am headed with quilting, my past remains with me. Not a bad thing to be attached to if you ask me.


These are the samples of my classes for 2019.  Come away with me!

Click on the link below each picture to sign up for the classes.

Here is the link to all of 2019 schedule.

Happy Quilting you all!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

My first attempt

I drafted my own pattern and made few string pieced patches. I also posted a tutorial on how to draft your own pattern for first quilt of uanduqal.

If you are just joining here, please read the previous post.

You can find the tutorial on the link below.


I am in a hurry today so excuse the poorest quality of this picture. I will polish it up next time. :)

Have a great sewing day!

Monday, January 7, 2019

U and U QAL January 2019

Overlapping Octagons

It is all about "U"! Thank you all for getting as excited as I am about this project. So many of you have signed up for this QAL! I am excited to see so many versions of a quilt.

The first quilt I picked screams both - Unconventional and Unexpected!

Facts and my observation of this quilt: 
Find it in your book, Unconventional and Unexpected Quilts on page 51. 

The maker is unknown and so is the pattern. I am going to call it Overlapping Octagons.
Quilt in the book measures 77 X 66 inches.
Finished blocks 8 X 8 inches
Fabric used shirting and flannel

I must say the maker was pretty clever! She made this simple pattern look quite complicated.

Our eyes are so trained to find a square block in a quilt.. I couldn't see one, can you?

I looked closer to study the construction of the quilt and deconstructed the "Block".

I think this quilt was hand pieced. Two different units were used to make this quilt. A square for the center of each octagon and string pieces rectangles with triangles on either ends.

Why do I think it was hand pieced? Those rectangles with triangles on either side are string pieced  and some of the patches continue from the triangles to the body of the rectangle.

Here is another close-up.

I am not sure about you all but I do not want to hand piece a quilt top at this time in my life.
So here is what I came up with.

The best way to sew these Overlapped Octagons is to sew them in columns using required units..

Here are some loose instructions I promised.

This quilt can be constructed with finished,

2" Quarter Square Triangles
2 X 4 inches String Pieced Rectangles
4 X 4 Center Squares

Are you with me? If not, I have more to say :)

You will construct it in columns. Yes! Strips!

  • You will need (give or take)

132 Center Squares - 4 1/2" X 4 1/2"

156 Stringed Pieced Rectangles - 2 1/2" X 4 1/2"

156 Quarter Square Triangles - 2 1/2" X 2 1/2"

  • Strip Set - A 
Sew 12 strips starting with quarter square triangle alternating with string pieced rectangle and ending with quarter square triangle - 74 1/2 " long. For each strip you will need 13 squares and 12 rectangles.
  • Strip Set -B
Sew 11 strips, Starting with stringed rectangle alternating with a plain center square, ending with pieced rectangle. For each strip you will need 13 Rectangles and 12 Squares. 

Sew strip one and two in alternating order.
The quilt should measure 68" X 74" or something like that.

Here are few other things to consider.
  • Use many shades of same color to mimic the use of recycled shirts.
  • Observe the size of the scraps and compare those to the prints you may be using. Large prints will definitely get lost when cut providing even crazier look!
  • You don't need to make entire quilt with small blocks. Play around with large scale prints and large size blocks. The blocks can be reconfigured as long as the measurements are divisible by 2
  • What if you choose those 4" squares to act as background? How will those overlapping octagons act against same fabric throughout? 
  • Consider low volume, high contrasts. "Take a trip" to another country for inspiration and use colors inspired from it.
  • Use your travel pictures for color inspiration.
  • Use stripes, dots pr plaids to create drama.
I can go on and on. 

If you are not interested in making this quilt, pick the one you like. There are so many beautiful quilts in the book, just have fun, make it your own.

I am still trying to figure out the best way to have one platform to visit each-other's projects. Meanwhile, let's make some dent in the scrap box!

If you are on Instagram, use #unconventionalandunexpected and #UANDUQAL
I am told U&UQAL will not work.

And lastly, you do not need to have a blog nor the IG account. I really hope you have fun making these quilts.

Happy Monday you all! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year!

I hope your holidays were as bright and filled with love as ours. I am still here.. This house was filled with relatives from distance and kids.

The kitchen was always open and the laundry was constantly running. I said goodbyes to all the kids at once. My heart is full. This was our grandson's first visit, first plane ride. First Christmas together for now seven of us!

 Kai did not mind posing for camera for me at all.

Younger two kids went home as soon as I took our oldest son and his family to the airport this morning.

The house is empty and it has opened up space for our quilt-along. If you missed it, read all about it here.

Those of you who are interested in the quilt along, I have received and read every single comment.   I hope you are patient. I will come back with quilt # one next week.

A lot of you have ordered the book or already have it in your home. I hope you have had a chance to go through it.

Couple of reminders before I end this reminder post - (couldn't help myself)

This is going to be a stress free experience.

Those of you who are anonymous, please send me an email so I have your email addresses to send you an invite  to post on a community blog.

If you do not have Instagram or a blog? No worries, just have fun. This project is designed to get to know other like-minded people and build a community of quilters who appreciate quirky quilts just like the man who brought them to us.

Have a great rest of the week!