Friday, October 21, 2016

A workshop of a lifetime....painting with fabric!

I have been wanting to attend a workshop by Jenny Bowker ever since I saw pictures of her amazing quilts. As amazing are her quilts, is Jenny herself, a generous and gifted teacher, who shares her knowledge and skills with complete honesty, encourages you to the extent that you feel you are a master! For me free motion quilting has always been a challenge, and something I was petrified to try....what if I ruin my pieced work!!!! But Jenny made it simple, shared a systematic way of us doing it and at the end of the 3 days, I felt confident and kept wondering why it had taken me so long!! 
The preparations for the workshop started a couple of months before we actually met. She sent mails giving details of what she was going to do and encouraged questions, which she answered in great detail. Finally the days arrived and 14 of us met in Mumbai to experience an exhilarating and exhausting 3 days! 
We learnt how to create our template, increase the size and get tracing done onto the backing fabric, trace out the outline on fusible web and then start putting the pieces. It was like painting with fabric! 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Cockeral is finally done!

It's finally done!!!!!! I actually finally had the guts to try free option quilting and finished quilting a top of a quilt I made 3 years ago!!!! As a 60th birthday present my family gave me a very special gift....a week's residential workshop, learning to quilt with Karen Sengel, a wonderfully talented quilter who lives in Chiangmai in Thailand! She specialised in a technique developed by Ruth McDowell, another very well known American quilter, which is completely pieced and machine quilted. I have given the link to my earlier blog post incase anyone is interested in checking out the process.

I like using local Indian woven fabrics, and the problem with that is that they are all of varying weights. This creates huge issues while quilting as the fabric stretches. I did try to stabilise it with starch, but it was still difficult. Didn't make it easier that I am a hand quilter, and free motion quilting proves to be a challenge! I am really pleased with the final result....although the FMQ needs a lot more practice. I like the fact that I have caught the superior expression of the cockerel!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Creating something new part 2

Once the pieces were placed and ironed on the top was ready! Then I made a sandwich with batting and a backing fabric and quilted it.....using the thread to paint with and shade the picture! I have only just stared free motion quilting as I prefer hand sewing, so the stitches are defunetely quite uneven! But on the whole I really enjoyed making this! 
In case any of you are interested log on to The Quilting Acedemy......they have a host of excellent classes!

The final product.... I call it Aamar Sonar Bangla! My Beloved Bengal!

Dino for Nikhil

Nikhil, who's all of 3, is in love with Spider-Man and Dinos! The pattern is by Abby Glassenberg. The original was made with fleece, but I made it in cotton. Nikhil lives in Hanoi and can't see him cuddling a fleece toy in the heat! So I used a nice Batik! He loved it! He says the colors make Dino, a magical creature!

Sewing for Rafa!

So I did what I wanted to for a long time.....a quiet book for my little Rafael. I am amazed at the generosity of people in sharing ideas, thoughts, patterns, how tos....and so much more. So this is being posted with a lot of thanks to all those generous people. My grandson Rafael, loved it! I had a ball making it and customizing it for Rafael.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Back to quilting!

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.
There are special motifs that symbolize everyday things from the village, like a swing, a gate a chariot, kites flying in he sky and so on!