Completed Quilt#2 in my 19th century wood engraving print series! 7” x10” The original print dated 1883, is 3.5”x5” and the image is from periodpaper.com.
The monument shown is, I believe, Pali Darwaza or the ‘first gate’, at Rajgad ” king of all forts “, near Pune, in Maharashtra, India. Rajgad, known as the unconquerable fort, has a history going back to at least the 15th century, but is best known because of its association with the great Shivaji, whose capital it was for over 26 years! Interestingly, this is a reverse image of the original monument, possibly because the original engraving on wood was correct, but when printed on paper, it got reversed. Look at this picture, from Wikipedia, taken from above, would you agree?
Here is the reverse of my quilt, picture taken before I quilted the background.
I photoshopped the original picture to reduce the contrast and gave it an antique paper finish, before printing it on A4 size printer ready fabric sheet.
Tha sandwich was made with thin poly-batting and free-motion quilted with YLI Softouch ( black) and variegated Gutermann (sand) on Hasina, my Husqvarna Viking Topaz 20. I wanted to clarify that is not first thread painted and then quilted. Finished the edges with a simple zigzag ( which makes it eady to frame under glass, in case the recipient decides to) and a corner curled in to give it a dog-eared look! Here is a close-up!
Can you guess that you are going to see more of these thread sketches here?
One thing that has always entranced me is the illustrations of buildings and places from the India of the nineteenth century. As the British travelled across this vast and fascinating land that they had recently colonised, they made a record of its diverse flora and fauna, its people and its rich architectural heritage. An artist usually travelled with the demographer/geographer/biologist/historian and the final document presented to the world was beautifully illustrated …such intricate drawings, with the minutest details!
Ever since I learnt to sketch with India ink on paper, I wanted to be able to draw like that! (One had those nib pens, that you dipped in bottles of ink and you controlled the width of the stroke by the angle of the nib and the pressure applied!) I never got around to it, but you can see some of my drawings from those days, about 40 years ago, here.
When I started quilting, I wondered if I could replicate those ink drawings with thread. I finally got around to trying it a few days back!
I would start with something not too complicated, I decided. This seemed a good candidate!
I reduced the contrast and brightened the image, till I had an outline of the basic shapes monuments and trees. I then changed the image size to 8″ x 10″ and printed it on printer- ready fabric. Added a 2.5″ wide mitred border in black and prepared the quilt sandwich with thin poly batting.
It was free motion quilted on Hasina, my Topaz 20 ( embroidery needle size 70) using YLI Softtouch thread.
Here are some pictures showing the progress of the quilting!
I wondered how it would look if I coloured it lightly, but was scared to ruin it. Then I had a brilliant idea! I flipped the quilt over, and tinted some areas of the back of the quilt with Inktense colour pencils! And added the border with some fancy stitches.
When I flipped it over, I loved the back as much as I liked the front! Or perhaps more!
Now began my search for the monument that had been the inspiration for the wood engraving.
The legend read, ‘Tchatri at Tintoui in Bheel Country’ and I presumed that these would be the chhatris ( pavilions or canopies built over a place where a member of a royal family was cremated) near Udaipur in Rajasthan. The Bheels a proud, warrior tribe have long inhabited the forests near Udaipur. But I wondered about Tintoui.
A search on google maps took me to Tintoi in Gujarat, South of Udaipur, presumably also ‘Bheel Country’ – you can see how the hill forest to the West of Udaipur continued southward to the North of Tintoi.
Now to hunt for a chhatri near/ in Tintoi! Is it possible that Tintoi, now a small village, was earlier the name of a much larger surrounding area? Further research revealed that Sabarkantha District in which Tintoi Village was located also had ancient monuments in a forest area, called the Polo Forest! From there it was easy!
Not only was I on the right track, I also found my pair of chhatris, sadly much worse for wear over the last 140 odd years! But totally recognisable, including the tree with its slanting trunk! The website of Gujrat Tourism provided me the best picture of my chhatris! !But…the chhatris seem to be ‘flipped horizontal’ or a mirror image of the wood engraving! How was that possible? Then it struck me. The original engraving was true to the monument, but when it was printed on paper, a mirror image was created! Check the back of my quilt!
Isn’t that amazing!?
You can imagine how delighted I was. The Polo Forest is definitely on my bucket list of places to visit now!
I leave you with this image of my finished mini quilt. But I will be back soon with another thread sketch, for this is addictive, I tell you!
Well, technically, it is the same quilt, but quilted differently. I told you how it started off as one large quilt, and ended up as two quilts! In fact, I quilted this one first, but the binding on the other one came first.
This brown strip that used from my stash was thicker fabric than the rest used on the quilt. So every time I reached this band, the thread would break! You would appreciate that that was pretty horrible – I ended up stopping short of the band, skipping that area and continuing on the other side! I came back later to complete the brown band by walking foot! Which also meant I had several dozen pairs of threads to bury all along this strip on either side. In fact, I can still spot some threads which need to meet their end inside the batting, but I wanted to take these photos before the sun set!
I experimented with some straight line quilting to make my task a bit easier – you can see that on the coloured fabric.
I have done a quilt before with a spiral, but that was a single huge spiral on a quilt as you go panel and I think I used a walking foot. This one was almost entirely done with the echo free motion quilting foot, so was quite something else. Over all, I am quite satisfied with the way it turned out!
For the backing, I found an interesting print in brownish greys, which went quite well with my main prints.
I think the lovely lady for whom this quilt has been made should like it, don’t you?
Tomorrow I will show you what else I have been up to! So do check in.
noun the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. “a fortunate stroke of serendipity” synonyms: chance, happy chance, accident, happy accident, fluke;
My Dreamcatcher quilt is being quilted in 5 panels, four of which are 4 blocks put together and the centre piece is a plain square. You can see what I mean here.
I had been wondering what I was going to do in the centre square – browsed through several pins on Pinterest and googled through hundreds of images. And then, suddenly, the answer landed up in my email inbox last month!
I have been an admirer of Geta Grama, the Romanian quilter, ever since I took up quilting some 8 years ago. She does the most fantastic FMQ and her trapunto is to die for! You will fall in love with her gorgeous patterns. Well, to cut a long story short, she has designed a whole cloth quilt pattern (Endless Love) and…believe you me…it has been quilted on Fossil Fern (by Benartex) fabric which I am using for my quilt – even the colour of the fabric is exactly the same blue I have there in the centre of my quilt! Now if that is not serendipity, what is?!
There were two patterns in the package I bought ( with excellent, detailed instructions) and I decided to try out the simpler one on a practice piece, before I start working on the blue fabric.
I traced the pattern (using a regular lead pencil) to a orange- yellow Fossil Fern Fabric square …
It took me almost two hours to do this, beginning from starching and pressing the fabric to finish tracing it. Extremely tedious!
I used the embroidery foot R of the Husqvarna Viking Topaz 20 to quilt the rosette. The pattern is so designed that you can quilt it in one continuous go – without having to lift the foot. It was surprisingly easy. I think it took me less time to quilt it than trace it!
I was not very happy with the uneven stitch length and opted for the regular foot B to do the scallops. I really love the fact that I could just snap off the R foot and put in the B foot, changed the machine setting from Fmq to regular and I was ready to go! I have to admit was much slower going than the free motion quilting, but the results were quite worth the one and a half hours I took over them! In fact the designer says the entire piece can be quilted using a walking foot! I am going to do that for the blue fabric.
As suggested by the designer, I added some more fmq to the pattern to make the rosette and scallops stand out. Here is the final result!
A couple of views of the back…but before that, tell me what you do when you look at the back and discover that the tension had gone off suddenly in a couple of places? Do you rip that and re-do it? I had a couple of such areas! Thankfully they were near the edge and will be hidden under the binding.
At the end of this exercise, I feel confident of being able to tackle the centre. If only, but only, someone would offer to trace out the pattern for me…sigh!
I finished quilting the Chakra Block, Block Ten of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year quilt today!
I quite love the way it has turned out! A close-up of the quilting…
You can follow this link to find the free pattern for this block inspired by the ‘Ashok Chakra’, or the Dharma Chakra ( Wheel of Righteousness), which finds the pride of place at the centre of the Indian national flag and is taken from the edicts of the great emperor Ashok, who ruled over almost the entire sub-continent, in the third century B.C.
Just three more blocks to do, then I move to the outer dark blue fabric panels! Do share your quilt blocks on my facebook page ‘Patchwork of My Life’. Have a great weekend!