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!
You have seen those 3/4″ ninepatches, of course, in my previous post. I do not recommend this quilt in this size, unless you are seriously crazy about miniatures, which is why I did consider calling this quilt The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Here are some pictures of the process.
First I machine sewed the nine-patches. This method had given me two sets of nine-patches in reverse combinations, half with the pink in centre and halfwith the white in the centre. So, I designed the quilt to make best use of the nine-patches. I also made six lime green and white nine-patches, to add some zing to the pink quilt.
Then I fussy cut 3/4″ triangles, with freezer paper at the back to make pieces for English paper piecing. 24 of them had a green flower in the centre and 18 of them had a white flower in the centre. Again, this was to make best use of my fabric where white flowers alternated with green on a pink background. I needed 13 hexagons for my original design; these were also fussy cut, with freezer paper.
Now I was ready to put together the blocks. I am not sure I used the most efficient method, but it appeared to be the best when I embarked on it. I tried English paper piecing some of the blocks, but gave up and resorted to machine sewing, appliqueing and even hand sewing!
I began with the centre block.
Once this was done, I expanded on it by adding the surrounding hexagons with their teapots and more nine-patches…
I then made the six blocks that were planned for the edge and started to put everything together…
Ah! Finally done! But wait…
It needed something more! Back to the drawing board …er…Quilt Assistant software on my laptop. More fussy cutting and six more hexagons. This time the cupcakes. Well, what is a tea-party without cakes, in any case?
I appliqued the whole piece to a white background, and cut away a circle from the background centre. Next, I added two layers of thin polyester batting. cut away a circle from the inner layer so that only the white background had a double layer.
I did think of hand-quilting it, but it was too much of an effort. So stitch in the ditch it was! I started echo quilting it, but soon got bored of that so just finished off with some straight lines. My Husqvarna Viking does not need a change to a walking foot, so the entire quilting was done with the regular B foot!
A picture of the back. The binding was also fussy cut from a fat quarter and done in four pieces; I finished it to give a mitered look on the front.
As usual, I had to do a mathematical check of the number of pieces! That is 548 pieces, excluding the binding and backing.
But all in all, I am quite happy with how this finally turned out. I am in the mood for another crazy mini. What do you suggest? I would like it to finish at the same size. Happy Quilting to you all, while I go and make myself a cup of…coffee. I am not a tea person.
Eight mini quilts designed and quilted for a class reunion.
A few months ago, eight classmates, who studied together in Grades 8 and 9, got connected after nearly fifty years – on an online chat group. Within a couple of weeks, they were talking of meeting in real life. The venue was to be my city and the occasion, my birthday! Naturally, I had to think of a very special gift for my seven girlfriends, three of whom would travel from 250kms, another three from a 1000kms and the seventh from right across the world!
It was not be just another bag, or cushion cover, or mugrug or whatever! It had to have a deeper significance, something that resonated with all of us. I thought of our ties of friendship, which time could not weaken, for we, each of us, knew each other when we did not know who we would become, before we learnt to wear masks to fool the world…And now that we had found each other, we were not going to lose each other! Mini quilts these were to be!
I visualized eight girls holding hands, in a circle perhaps? Scrolling through Pinterest, I came across a hand-embroidered design of two sisters holding hands and pointing out to a rainbow and something clicked in my mind! The designer, Jessica, mentioned how she had modeled the hair of the two little girls after her own daughters.
The Design Process
I liked the fact that you saw the back of the two girls, and so I decided my girls would also have their backs to the viewer, representing our collective roots in the past. I would have the eight friends hold hands, to represent what we meant to each other, literally and figuratively. Gazing at distant horizons, we would be seeking our own rainbows, together and individually… I also wanted the quilt to be special for each girl. I thought then of one colour from the rainbow for each girl. The eighth colour could be aqua. The dresses of the girls would be appliqued in fabric in their respective colours. But I baulked at the thought of having to appliqué 64 dresses! Another design decision was taken. Each girl’s quilt would have just her dress appliquéd; the rest would be just ‘thread-sketched’.
It so happened that the eight girls names began with Sa, Ra ( two of them), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Nee which are the names of the musical notes in Indian music! The girls, therefore, stood in that order. Why did I begin with the red and end at the violet, instead of vice versa? Because I could be either green or aqua, depending on which way I started, and I preferred the aqua to the green!
To echo the rainbow theme, the backing would be strip pieced in the eight colours. I even had the perfect fabric for it, a Bali Batik jelly roll gifted by my friend, Elvira Threeyama of Chez Viez Quilts. Each girl could sign on her own colour strip at the back, and we would each have quilts signed by all the others.
The next step was to scroll through all our class photographs to zero in on the hairstyles of the eight friends. I drafted the pattern of eight little girls, with hairstyles matching their hairstyles from high school, standing in a straight line. The girls were wearing shifts, like in the original pattern by Jessica of Cutesy Crafts. I was finally ready to ‘test’ my pattern.
The ‘Test’ Quilt
The first quilt was to be my quilt; all the experimentation was to be done on this! My pattern was to finish at 15″ x 21″ approximately. To make best use of my jelly roll strips, I cut them into three pieces, approximately 14″ long and added a 3.5″ black strip at the bottom and two 3.5″ black strips on either side to make up the width and length. Once I had my backing strip-pieced and ready, I got around to preparing the ‘top’.
I taped the pattern to a sunlit window and traced it to my light coloured fabric with a pigment ink marker with a micro tip. For the quilt sandwich, I used a polyfill batting. Using Pam Holland’s method, what she calls ‘ Quilting with Character and Charisma’ I machine quilted over my traced figures very slowly, adding in details as I went along. Once I reached ‘my’ figure, I did ‘raw-edge appliqué’ around the aqua dress (which I had glued on with a dab of school glue to ‘my figure’). This quilting took me about two hours, including the dress 👗 preparation.
To trace the rainbow, I marked a point at the centre bottom and rotated a 12″ ruler on the quilt, marking with a pencil as I went along. I used the needle-to-presser foot edge distance to space and quilt the various colours of the rainbow. I also did a bit of ‘outlining’ in the other dresses with thread!
-The indigo and violet were too dark and the quilting did not show up at the back. I would need lighter shades for the rest of the quilts.
-I also forgot to reverse the colours in the backing and the ‘violet’ girl lined up on the red strip! The girls did not ‘stand’ in their respective colours, but nothing could be done about this, as the coloured strips were two inches wide.
-Black was not a good choice for the ‘additional’ strips. A lighter colour, preferably the same as the front, was needed.
For the life of me I could not see myself quilting seven more rainbows! Very tedious!
If I had to make seven more of these quilts, I would have to make it more interesting for myself! Perhaps they could all wear bell bottoms, which were such a rage in the late sixties, in one? Skirts in another? Lacy frocks in yet another? What about ‘lungis’ (sarongs) also very popular then?
So that is what I did!
The Dedication and the Quilt Label
For the quilt labels, I downloaded free vector images of hot air balloons from the Internet and printed them on special computer printer fabric, which I had bought on my last visit to the USA. I then quilted these on to the front of the quilts.
On the back, I fused the dedication cum label!
I originally planned to bind the each of the quilts in its special theme colour. I began with the yellow, but then thought black would look nicer. Here are the bindings!
Before I conclude this story and start posting more pictures, I have to share with you what we did at the reunion! Besides catching up on each other’s lives in late night sessions, talking non-stop, giggling continuously, screeching and screaming and having the time of our lives.
Of course, we signed our quilts for each other. We also went and bought tied and dyed ‘leheriya’ stoles, in the colours of the miniquilts; each wore a stole in ‘her’ colour! Don’t forget to check out the photos of the eight friends in their stoles!
Before I forget, why is this quilt called ‘Palat!’? Palat ! is a Hindi word meaning ‘Turn Around!’ Almost every one with whom I shared the quilt told me they wanted the girls to turn around and show them their faces!
So here come the pics! Beginning with the girls as they did ‘Palat!’
Here are the pictures, front and back of each of the quilts.
And here are the close ups of the eight dresses!
The eight quilts, laid out to receive their intended owners…
…who were delighted to receive them!
Well, so that was the story of my Palat! Miniquilts. Do stay tuned in to find out what I have been up to in the last few days!
I don’t remember if I blogged about this miniature quilt, which I began exactly a year ago, to the date!
The nine 2.5″ blocks had been foundation paper pieced and joined, waiting for the border and the binding, all of which was cut out and waiting. I have been long wanting to experiment with a scalloped border and this seemed a good place to try it out! It took me hours to do this, because I could not find any tutorials on this. It seems every time I want to go somewhere, I have to invent the wheel!
So here is a pictorial tute on how to make scallops on the border to your mini! If anyone is interested in the scallop pattern for a 10″ mini quilt, you can message me on my Facebook page ‘Patchwork of my Life’ and I will be happy to share it with you. You can increase the number of scallops in 2″ increments ( or reduce them!).
1. Get your quilt top ready. Add the batting and backing, ready for quilting.
2. Quilt the centre of your quilt, leaving the outermost border ( which will be scalloped) unquilted. I did a simple stitch in the ditch around the blocks and inner deep purple border.
3. Pin the scallop pattern on the border, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance beyond the paper pattern.
4. Mark the outline by stitching on the scallop line. I used a 1.5 stitch length.
5. Remove the paper; the small stitch length makes it easy.
6. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ beyond the scallop. ( I also added a line of echo quilting within the scallop).
7. When I reached this stage, I realized that I needed a bias binding for the scallops! And all I had was a 1.25″ wide straight binding, which I had no intention of letting go waste. So I decided to do a facing.
-If you wish to add a binding, remember you need bias binding! Sew it on as you would regular binding. Just one thing, you will need a much longer strip than for a straight edge. I have not calculated, but for this quilt, I had made a strip 70″ long instead of 50″ which I would have done for a straight edge. Also, sew down the binding very slowly and use the needle down option if your machine provides it. Stop as often as you need to adjust the layers. Curves are not difficult to handle – look only at the stitch immediately ahead of the needle, ignore the rest! I would suggest notching the seam allowance on the inner curves, especially, before turning over and securing the binding.
– If you want to add a facing ( much simpler), here is how you go about it.
Attaching a facing to a scalloped border
i) Prepare the facing: The facing should be wide enough to go at least 1″ beyond the inner curve of the scallop. Put a ruler on the quilt, the ruler edge touching the outer ‘fat’ convex edge of the curve. See the reading on the inner edge of the curve. For example, if this is 2″, the facing should be 3.25″ wide, including 1/4″ seam allowance. I had originally intended to add a binding to my mini quilt, so I had ready 1.25″ strips. I decided to go ahead with these. I think a 1.75″ strip would have been more convenient.
The total strip length needed for this 10″ square was about 50″. Turn in one long edge about 1/4″. I did a machine zigzag after folding the edge.
iii) Preparing the quilt: This may look tedious, but will give you a great finish! Remove the batting ( use a pair of sharp embroidery scissors) from between the two fabric layers on the outermost seam allowance on the quilt edge.
iv) Attaching the facing. Line up the raw edge of the facing with outer ‘fat’ curve edge on top of quilt . Begin at one corner – remember to extend the facing a couple of inches beyond the corner. Pin if you are more comfortable with that. Turn over to backing side. Start sewing over the scallop outline already marked by the stitching line.
Line up facing strip on edge of top of quilt. Sew over scallop outline from backing side
v) When you reach the corner, make a mitered corner as you do with regular quilts and turn the strip. Pin in place and continue sewing over the outline.
vi) Go around sewing over the outline, stop a couple of inches before you reach the corner where you began. Turn the strip end ( where you began sewing) to form a ‘mitered’ 45 degree fold.
vii) Now bring the other end of the strip to lie over the folded end. Pin in place, turn over to backing side and sew over the scallop outline, continuing around the corner and beyond. Trim the excess fabric, extending beyond the corner!
viii) Just a couple of steps more and we are done! Trim the seam line – from the backing side, of course – and make notches all along the curves. Careful! Don’t get too close to the seamline! However, where there are lots of layers of fabric, like in the corners, try to trim off as much of the excess fabric as you can.
ix)Slip stitch the overlapping corner folds together. ( Right bottom corner in the pic below)
x) Turn the facing over to the back …
xi) …and press the life out of that edge!
xi) Secure that edge with stitching about 1/8″ within. This quilt is exactly 10″ square, outer curve to outer curve, unlike if it had a binding, which would add the width of the binding to it.
Now for some close ups…
One final close up!
I will be happy to clarify if there is any confusion regarding this method!