This Week’s Insanity


Nearly Insane Blocks 56 (left) and 57

Vital Stats

Block 56

No of pieces – 64

Difficulty level – Moderately easy

Technique used – Foundation paper pieced except for centre Pinwheel and surrounding frame.

Block 57

No of pieces – 49

Difficulty level – Easy

Technique used – foundation paper pieced

Red and White Mini Completed -For Now


I always wanted to make a red and white mini! This is 10″ x10″

I am not very happy with the quilting. Am in two minds whether to rip the machine stitching and do the white border by hand. I do think it would be worth the while. The shabby quilting adds no value to the quilt. I also need to block it and add a label. All this will have to wait. I have had enough of it for now!

One more thing…every quilt needs a name.  What do you suggest for this?


Of Delectable Mountains and Pineapples…

I posted just a couple of hours ago and I am back again and this is the reason why!


How does one quilt this?

My red and white miniature quilt top is ready! It finishes at 10″x 10″ and has 505 pieces, including the 4 pieces for the white inner border.

The border was the most insane bit of paper piecing I have ever done and I would not even have attempted it had I not chanced upon the most wonderful free tutorial and pattern for the delectable mountain border here. She has the cleverest way of paper piecing! I had such a ‘duh’ moment when I saw what she does. This technique will come in really useful in my Nearly Insane blocks and I will definitely share it with you when I use it. By the way, I have not used the pattern given on the website, only her technique. My ‘blocks’ for the border finish at 1″x 2″, whereas her patterns are for larger (though still mini) blocks.

I will also never, never, ever make a border like this again. Once is enough, in fact, more than enough!

Now for the quilting? How on earth can this be quilted? Hand quilting will look pretty, but I do not relish the idea of trying to push the needle through those seams by hand. I do need suggestions!

Who is Afraid of Salinda Rupp?

What is the craziest bit of piecing that you have ever done?

276 pieces in four 1.5″ wide strips there!


Mine has to be this! 276 pieces in 36 square inches when finished,  equivalent of a 6″x6″ block. I have worked on it for well over 20 hours now, including the drafting, printing, ironing, cutting, sewing, ironing, sewing, ironing, sewing – you know the drill! I am still to remove all the paper.

Do check in to see what I have been up to! I get back to removing paper from each of those 1/4″ strips you see in the picture ( the remaining  four pieces are huge 1″ squares!

Happy quilting to you!

P.S. You can see what I did with all that piecing here.

Nearly Insane – Block 61

I find this block really pretty and intended it to be my first block! In the original quilt it is really striking in solid yellow and red.  

Block 61 – not as perfect as I would wish!

It was actually tougher than it looks. I made those 16 squares using 3 different methods. A couple of them were done with tiny squares being joined diagonally to the corners of the bigger square and flipping open the inner triangle to the corner. For another two I drew foundation paper templates on printer paper. For the rest I used freezer paper foundation piecing templates. This is how they looked, ready for assembly!


Ready for assembly…
It took me nearly two hours to assemble that – there were dozens of points to be matched, and too many layers of fabric. Not so simple in a block of this size. I am not very happy with more about half a dozen of those points…wondering if I should re-do them. Perhaps later, when I am assembling them. When compared, English paper piecing (EPP) is so much more accurate and pretty!

Tomorrow, I’ll be cutting fabric for the next seven blocks and start working on them next week.  I’ll do an EPP block next, methinks! It has 4 eight-pointed stars and is really lovely! 

One more pic of the block, on point this time!


Vital Stats

No of pieces –80

Difficulty level – Moderately difficult

Technique used – foundation paper piecing with freezer paper ( fold away) method

How to do a Simple Quilt Binding

What if you do not wish to do a mitered binding? I was working with scraps and did not have enough fabric to cut out a length of binding without too many joints. I decided to do a simple quilt binding instead – where you bind two opposite edges first, and then the other two. I have always finished with very untidy bumpy corners where the binding overlaps and I searched for a tutorial which would tell me how to go about it properly. I did not really find anything, so I recorded my method as I went along. It is nothing new, but I hope it will help new quilters obtain a fairly neat result!

My small quilted piece finished at 10.5″ x 14.5″, inclusive of the seam allowance along each edge. I prefer a single rather than a double binding for small pieces, so I cut two pieces of binding 1.5″ wide and about 11″ long for the shorter edges. I sewed the binding on the top and pressed it open. I folded it to the back twice and hand sewed it to the back. Both of the shorter edges were finished before I trimmed it to size, to get a sharp, square corner. I have no photos of this stage, I guess this is simple enough.

I again measured the longer edge, it was just under 15″. I now cut the binding length at 16.5″, that is 1.5″ longer than needed. I lined the binding to the edge of the front of the quilt ( right side down) , folded it to the back about  3/4″ over the bound edge and began sewing. I secured the seam with some back stitching, sewed to an inch short of the other end, similarly folded the binding over and sewed to the end; took a couple of back stitches to finish. I think this picture will explain better than I have been able to! I suggest you make a tight, crisp fold to get a neat finish.

Do the other longer edge similarly.


For the longer edge, fold the binding over about 3/4″ and sew.; finish the other corner similarly.


This is how it looks from the back.

Now open out the binding…Here it is from the front.


From the front…

…and from the back.


Needs to be pressed before being sewed down

Now press the binding, especially at the corner where a crisp fold will mean a neat finish. If you like, you can press it to the back, fold in and press again … and pin in place if you are a pinner! Some people like to use binding clips, I get along fine without any of these.


Press to fold the binding to the back. You can see a bit of a bumpy  extended edge of the binding at the bottom right corner; this will have to be taken care of in the sewing!

Start sewing at the corner , crimping and pulling in the fold to get a straight edge!


Start at the corner, pressing and pulling in the binding to get a straight edge…


As good as a mitered edge, isnt it?


I use a variation of the ladder stitch to bind my quilts. In such a small quilt, hand binding is the way to go, I do believe! The end corner is finished similarly.

Here we are, all done! Almost perfect edges!

You don’t have to do a mitered edge for a perfect binding, after all!

Discovering Lost Treasure

I go on a Diwali cleaning spree and take several trips down Memory Lane…

I had an amazing day today and I didn’t even touch my quilting.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is just around the corner and we decided, as a part of the annual cleaning spree, to finally have a look at the five large cartons and trunks of what we thought were old official papers to be sent for pulping. And look at what I found hidden there for the last fifteen years since they were packed!

First, a folder cover I embroidered at the age of twelve ( it was really filthy and has gone into the wash), but it was not the ugly folder that was important. In a pocket in that folder was a picture of my daughter, when she was just ten days old! How precious is that!?! We also discovered a bunch of these photographs taken on a holiday to South India, travelling from Delhi. I don’t remember seeing these, ever. We probably got a transfer out of Delhi immediately thereafter; these were packed and the wooden box never opened till today.

That photograph right on top has a story, which I love to tell. We were boating on this beautiful lake in Ooty when, right in the centre of the lake (probably right here), my husband, Rajeev, dropped something into the water. We later discovered that it was the key to the main door of our flat back home. As we landed home late in the evening when no locksmith was available, he had to break the door open with a kick (or several). You can imagine how effective this tale is in shutting him up when he is being particularly nasty about my carelessness, which is actually just the natural preoccupation of a creative mind. Or so I would like him to believe!

I also found my collection of Georgette Heyers, about 20 of them! I have since replaced a few, as I thought they were lost forever! My dozen or so volumes from the Pelican series on Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and Psychiatry, which I had scrimped and saved to buy when doing my Masters and also believed were lost… Freud, R.D.Laing, Durkheim…do you suppose a library would want them?

I also found the book I had written for children when I was still in college and which was published in 1979 by the Children’s Book Trust, New Delhi. I had won the National Award for the Best Children’s Literature in English for this and I didn’t even have a copy!

(India) National Award for Best Children's Literature in English 1979
The great Shankar wanted to illustrate this himself, but fell ill.

I discovered a whole lot of letters and cards, including one drawn by a cousin when he was 7 years old. We lost him to a road accident some years ago, 3 weeks before he was to be married. Several letters – some from when we were in school together – from someone who was my best friend for forty plus years, but does not wish to talk to me now.

Let me end this happy-nostalgic post with a few pages of the first ever school project, on ‘My Family’, done by my 6-year old!  We are all there, the Dad – standing in front of his brown Maruti car – who plays with him, the mother who cooks for him,  the uncle who comes back home late from the factory every day, tha aunt who is a lecturer, the sister who loves him, brother ( cousin) who loves to eat chhole-bhature, the grand mom who tells him stories ( I wonder why there is a cat on her saree?), the grandfather who writes letters…

His family – in the eyes of a six- year old!

By the way, we also found a letter of advice written by the same grandfather to my son when he had just entered medical school.

So these were some of the lost treasures I discovered today.  Tell me, how does one throw away these things?