My new year started in a most amazing manner....a 3 day workshop with the wonderfully talented Nirmala Akka who taught us how to quilt in her traditional Uttar Kanada style. Three full days of working without rulers as we learnt to measure use our 'haath' (hand and palm) and 'ungli' (finger) and make totally accurate corners and motifs! A new understanding of colours and a unique variety of combinations and so much more. Akka is a generous and natural teacher and shares her skills with ease! Nirmalla Akka can't read or write as she is from a remote tribal village in North Karnataka! But what a talented lady!
Using an old sari for the base, working without rulers or precise measurements, no pinning, using thick cotton thread and a very big needle to sew, very sore fingers, was all part of the experience! I looked with some awe and a great deal of respect as Nirmala akka put together a beautiful piece of sewing, tearing strips of cloth, old and new, making the traditional motifs for the chariot, or kites, or the 'ramjhula'. Her sewing lines were exact as were the size of the stitches as she placed and fixed small pieces of fabrics one on top of the other. My quilt is 5 layers thick!
There is a system and science to this as can be seen from the back of the quilt! My stitches are nowhere as even as Akka's! This is a traditional form of quilting from North Karnataka.