The Purple Autorickshaw…

Finally it can be revealed…the foundation paper pieced autorickshaw I made for a visiting quilter friend! 

I used my friend’s favourite Kaffe Fasset fabrics for this little 18″ x 18″ quilted wall hanging.

The Purple Autorickshaw – the quilting from the back.
The Purple Autorickshaw – foundation paper pieced!
A close-up of the quilting.
The driver was an afterthought, as I thought the empty autorickshaw looked abandoned and a bit forlorn!
The cheeky looking auto driver is modeled after a free online image.
A closer look at the back!
Do not miss the registration number ( from the fabric selvedge)!
The label! Like real autorickshaw s, it carries the date of ‘registration’, the ‘owner’s name’ and the name of the ‘manufacturer’ too!
As you can probably see, I had a lot of fun making this little purple and green autorickshaw, but the best fun was the expression on my friend’s face when she read the owner’s name on the label!

What You Can Do With A Single Quilt Block…

…and why you are going to enjoy this Block of the Month!

I am one of those people who jump headlong into a project and the enthusiasm peters out in no time. I often don’t start a great looking new quilt, because I don’t know if I’ll finish it. Who doesn’t hate the thought of adding to those sad orphan blocks calling out to them to do something, anything with them!? Besides, what a waste of money and effort, which most of us cannot readily spare. I don’t want that to happen to any of you lovely people out there who embark on “Round the Year”, my Block of the Month Quilt! So I decided to pattern all my blocks to be versatile, stand alone blocks. At any stage, you can say, “Okay, that’s enough, I am not going to make any more of these!” (Though I do hope you won’t!). There are lots of ways you can use them, just as many as you end up with. I was playing around with my laptop and here are the options I came up with. (One of the advantages is that we have fairly big blocks which finish at 18″ with a 15″ inset circle.)

So what if you decide to make only one block?

Quilt it and make into a small table topper 18″ square. Incidentally, this is a test block made by my online quilter friend Nikhat Syeda– hasn’t she done a marvellous job? Reduce the size of the square to 15″, which is a great size for cushion cover. You could make a set of cushion covers depending on how many blocks you end up with. Add a border, quilt it to make a stunner of a wall hanging! Another quilter friend Sobana tested the same block. (She has even blogged about it here – you must see the other wonderful work she has done!). She is going to use it as the centre of a quilt she is planning! I am waiting to see what she comes up with – but this does give you an idea of what you can do with a single block! I almost forgot to remind you of what I did with a single block – in fact , with a little less than a single block… I skipped the outer square and quilted the pieced circle into a pretty, round table top.   This is my friend Aliya Mir’s test block , which I have photoshopped to show you the look. Well, tomorrow evening I give the fabric requirements for the full quilt, do tune in! But before that, tomorrow morning I am experimenting with various quilt layouts here on this blog!

Of Roses and Octagons

I am sharing today a small quilt made by me almost 3 years ago! I had no idea then what a wealth of information was available on the net, so much of this was trial and error.

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It is just about 15″ across. The roses are two pieces of muslin left over from another project which is, sadly, still a UFO ( unfinished object for the uninitiated!). The pink was fabric from an old salwar which was no longer wearable. The white and green muslins came from my stash.
I remember a lot of Maths went into calculating the length of the strips at each stage and angles at the edges. And then to make accurate 67.5 degree angles on the strips using a small protractor was going to be even tougher! I was further handicapped by the fact that I had only so much of the centre focus fabric so could not play around with the size too much.
What I finally did was to make 8 strip sets, somewhat larger than needed. I cut the octagon on flannel from a newspaper template, then marked the ‘spokes’ on the flannel. Using that as a guide, I stitched on the strip sets directly on the flannel. Wasn’t easy to ensure accurate points! But I am quite happy with the result 🙂

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Once the strips were all in place, I did the hand quilting. I had had the foresight to add a layer of poly fibre under the flower panel, so I could get a trapunto look to the roses.

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I had great fun quilting this – I particularly love the trellis on the white strip! By the time I reached the outermost strip, I was so exhausted that I decorated only one of the corners!

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But the quilt looked unfinished, so I thought I would add the prairie points which I had seen in a quilting book! But how on earth was I going to bind it?!? And then there was the back to be taken care of too, as I did not care much for the white flannel. I solved the problem by inserting the prairie points between the quilted front and backing fabric and attaching two separate bindings – one for the front and other for the back.
All that was left now was to add a few flowers and leaves to give a three dimensional effect to the little quilt. I used a double layer of the fabric to secure the petal and leaf edges. Surprisingly, these have withstood several washings!
The quilt is much faded today, but much loved still…

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The Hippie Happy Quilt

My Desi Quilter Challenge Quilt
Fused Text `Quilt’

Now it can be revealed!

My online quilting forum Desi Quilters’ monthly challenge for January was to come up with a quilted wall-hanging for my sewing place with text in it! And the entries were to be anonymous too – for the group.

I thought long and hard and hit upon hippie art, very popular when I was growing up! And I had the perfect fabric for it, with bright flowers and paisleys! The text had to be pieced according to the challenge rules, and what word better than `PIECE’ to piece? I love playing around with words, so the first part of the quilt was designed with a peace symbol! I used Elizabeth Hartman’s (of Oh,Fransson!) method to piece the text, using lightweight stabilizer – the pieces are ready at 1/2″.

Peace / Piece Block
Peace / Piece Block 10″X 17″

For the pieced ring border of the Peace symbol, I did something I thought was super clever! I’ll talk about that later! I quilted this block with a kind of paisley pattern in contrasting yellow and pink , using the walking foot. I quilted as I went (QAYG), as I had long wanted to try this method ! (Also, wanted the quilt to be be in an almost- ready position to be submitted at the deadline, in case I could not complete all the blocks 😉 !)

When we were teenagers, a favourite doodle was a name or slogan written in a circle in this `font’! ( We were all in love with Rhett Butler of Gone with the Wind, so our rough notebooks were full of imaginatively decorated doodles of `Rhett’ in circles and hearts!) So this bit of art was a must for my quilt! After much brainstorming, I hit on SEWL – a play on SOUL! (DH thinks the word-play is incomprehensible; I am quite proud of it, sew there!) So in went the `SEWL’ into a circle with rays radiating from it.

Soul / Sewl Block
Soul / Sewl Block 17″ X 17″

To construct the rays block, I used an 18″ square freezer paper. I marked the centre of the paper and drew drew three concentric circles, at 5″, 7″ and 9″ . A protractor was used to draw the rays – there are 24 rays in all, 15 degree angles. I pieced the block in halves, using the freezer paper technique, folding away each ray as I pieced it. I wish I had taken pictures 😦

Now came the brilliant part (IMNSHO – where H stands for humble!) I cut out the smaller ring (5′ inner and 7″ outer radius) and used it to border my `PEACE’ symbol! This ring had to be raw edge appliqued.

The rays were ready to be used as the background on which I appliqued the SEWL circle, after turning in the edges. I fussy cut the highlighter fabric to decorate the block, using raw edge machine stitched applique. I quilted around this applique to highlight and raise it, but this was a disaster of sorts! It made the work look terribly untidy. 😦

So I had PIECE and I had SEW, but wanted something more! After browsing through hippie slogans a hundred times, the brain wave struck…tranquility! So the final block was designed.

TranQUILTy block
Tranquility / Tranquilty block 27″ X 11″

For this block, I was inspired to attempt Chenille quilting, explained so beautifully by by the talented quilter Vani Roy in a Chenille Quilt Along on the Desi Quilters’ facebook forum. The block was designed as a long narrow horizontal panel below the other two blocks, to give a feeling of expansiveness. The oversized full moon linked up the three blocks. I also wanted to add a bodhhi tree, but TRANQUILTY is a huge (pseudo)word! I quilted the whole text, and fused the letters QUILT on it. I did minimum quilting on this block, because I did want it to look to busy. The wall hanging is now a perfect size for my sewing corner!

Wall quilt quilted with walking foot using QAYG method
Hippie Art Quilt – ready for my sewing Corner

Do feel free to make your own wall quilt inspired by my quilt! But I would love it if you would link back your quilt to me 🙂

Wedding Ring Reversible Mug Rug

This is an adaptation of the traditional wedding ring block pattern into a mug rug! It is a wedding anniversary gift for my sister-in-law and her husband of 47 years.

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I wanted to make the mug rug reversible, and this is a picture of the back.

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I foundation pieced two wedding rings, about 10″ outer diameter. The centre circles have a flannel insert. I discovered that I had made a miscalculation, and these were half an inch too big! Nothing could be done now, so I slip-stitched them by hand to the interlaced wedding rings, taking the excess fabric to the back.
With no access to a sewing machine, I decided to hand quilt them. I quite like the extra personal touch the hand quilting gives to the gift:-)
It so happens that the monthly challenge on my quilt forum Desi Quilters for July 2012 is monochromatic quilts! So this could be my entry for the challenge.

Here is a closer look at the mug rug:

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And of the back!

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My Cathedral Window Quilt completed!

So my Cathedral Window Quilt has finally reached its new home.

I have shared the first part of its journey from squares to quilt here.

We ended with the 9X4 window frames ready for the panes. And I was staying at my son’s place with access to no fabric except two jelly rolls in yellow and red, from jellyrollfabrics.com and some brown charm squares! No sewing machine either. So be it! Back to the old school and hand stitching.
I did the centre square in red, before I decided to do the corners.
I cut out some 1.25″ brown squares, folded them in half, placed them on the frame, and folded the edges of the pane on the square. Hemmed over it and voila! We are done with corners.
My camera settings were wonky, so I have a video of the corners, instead of a click. And I am unable to post videos from my iPad, so 😦

I did think the brown squares were a tad smaller than comfortable! But the fabric miser that I am, I decided to stick to 1.25″ for the rest, because I was working with 2.5″ wide jelly rolls and 5″ squares, and did not want to waste any fabric:-)

But, I got some washable fabric glue and put a drop on the frame before putting the pane on it! Made life that much simpler.

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I did the edging in brown, and a kind of three window pattern in red!
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And I think I have arthritis developing in my right thumb. Can you get arthritis in a single joint? Not sure, so google google! It could be carpel tunnel syndrome, or osteoarthritis! Doctor son thinks it is nothing so fancy, all I have is iPaditis or Facebook-itis! Dear Husband thinks that the whites look shabby with all the seam joints showing.
It is meant as a gift for his sister, after all.

I go back to my design board ( that sounds fancier than the carpet) and try out different colour combinations on my windows – here are some of those:

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But all of these were vetoed by the Husband and the Son as “too loud”,
And I finally decided to make something more ‘sober(?)’
While I was doing the panes, I saw some of the window corners had this pretty little four cornered flower where the folded corners meet. Where the rows and columns meet was an ugly mess, with even a pinhole! So I went ahead and sewed a tiny stitch around each joint, just so!

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After several hours of sewing, interspersed with tending to a progressively sorer thumb, my Cathedral Window quilt is finally ready:-)

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Would I do it again? YES! Though, I would probably use a faster, simpler method now, like my fellow quilter Chumkie Mukherjee’s quilt along on our quilt forum desi-quilters.blogspot.com!
Here is another look at my little quilt before I sign off for today. I shall come back to this topic to share my learnings from this!

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…and a final look as the quilt finds its final home, on my sister-in-law’s sideboard:-)

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Dancing Square Mug Rugs

I saw this mug rug at http://nofightingnobiting.blogspot.in/2012/04/quilted-mug-rugs.html, while browsing the net for a little gift that could be made in a day!

I was not sure if I could understand the instructions given by Katherine. I knew there was another way of making this ‘dancing square’ block – joining all the quilt squares first, and cutting with a template. But I was not sure if I could get my pinwheel centres to match with that method!

I had also made a full size quilt about three years ago, using a stack and whack method very kindly shared with me by Cathey McClure. But I could not remember how that worked! Other than that it went stack, whack, stitch! And stack, whack, stitch again! L

So I used this (more roundabout?) method and surprise, surprise! my little quilt tops came up in no time at all!

I am giving the instructions for 4 mug rugs 8″ X8″ (not arbitrary – but because it works that way!). Through chain piecing, these can be cut and stitched up in an afternoon (other than the quilting).

You will need

Background squares (Blue- B) Twenty 4″ X4″

For the Pinwheel- Four Squares
each
of 4 contrasting coloured squares (yellow –Y, Pink –P, Red –R and Green G)

(For each little quilt you need – 5 B, 1Y, 1P, 1R, 1G)

For the backing – 9″ squares of background fabric (or any backing of your choice)X 4

Binding – Four strips 9″X 2″ of each of the pinwheel colours.

8.5″ square of batting

I like to mark a light square with a pencil on each corner of the wrong side of my solid squares – so that i don’t have to strain my eyes later trying to decide which is the right side!

Making the Template

I make my template with graph paper. Only centimetre graph paper is available in India. So I used a print out of inch graph paper available for free download online.( Free Multi-color Graph Paper from http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/multicolor/)

Of course, you could draw the square on plain paper, but graph paper gives it the accuracy I like in a small quilt!

If you have template plastic, great! It is not available here. (For my full-size quilt I had used plastic sheet cut from a plastic folder and marked with a permanent marker. You can use that for your template). I find that the graph paper template I use here works equally well.

  1. On the graph paper, draw a 4″ square . From each corner mark a point ¾” to the left (or right) and join the diagonally opposite points.
  2. Quick way of checking if you have it right – the diagonals meet at the centre point (2″ in this case)
  3. Stick your graph paper square to a thin, stiff card sheet, and cut out the shape.

    Cut across one diagonal – this is your basic template.

    Marking and cutting the fabric

    1. Stack up the squares colourwise carefully, matching all edges – make sure the wrong side is up in ALL of them. ( Or you will end up with a few anti-clockwise blades, which you will have to set aside for another project! Ask me! ) The background squares can also be in stacks of 4.
    2. Place the template on the top square and cut the stack. Do this for all stacks. For the sake of convenience I am going to call these pieces Half Squares or HS.

    3. Now comes the part which appears tedious, but makes life much simpler! On each half square, draw the crossing diagonal by placing the template perpendicularly– but DO NOT CUT. You can see in the pic below how your half square will appear.

      (No way I would do this for a larger quilt. But quite doable in a small quiltJ)

      Put the pieces back in stacks colourwise. Makes it easier to chain stitch. Remember to keep the wrong side up in all the pieces!

      Making the Block

      (You can skip reading this part and go on to the next part – it is an explanation of the process, more as a reminder to myself how I worked it out…)

      This project is basically a nine patch.

      The centre square has 4 pieces – YPGR

      The corner squares have 3 pieces –

      1. ½ B piece
      2. ¼ background piece b
      3. ¼ coloured piece( 4 corners each different)

      The outer centre squares have –

      1 ½ background piece B

      2. ¼ coloured piece

      3 ¼ adjacent coloured piece

      We begin by deciding what colours would be adjacent to each other. I decided on this scheme.

      1. Begin from the centre. Join 1 pink HS to 1 adjacent green HS, matching the pencil marked diagonal of the two pieces carefully. Join 3 more Pink HS to 3 green HS.
      2. Similarly join 1 Red HS to 1 adjacent yellow HS. Make 3 more red-yellow squares.
      3. Now join 1 red HS to a green HS. Similarly make 1 more Red-Green Square.
      4. Now make 2 Pink Yellow squares.
      5. You are now left with two HS of each colour (total 8). Join these to the background BHS .

        You will have ( besides 32 background halfs – which will not be cut)

        4 RY squares

        4 PG squares

        2 RG squares

        2 YP squares

        2 BY squares

        2 BP squares

        2 BG squares

        2 BR squares

      6. This is what your squares will look like. Cut all these squares across the marked diagonal! Now you know why we marked the line. You could also stack them and cut across the diagonal – this was a small project – so I preferred to cut each individually.
      7. Press open the units, seams to one side. It does not matter which.

        Putting it together

        1. Centre Square. Put together the 4 coloured squares. Make 4 such units. (rg-yp )

        2. Corner Squares Take a br HS and join to a B-HS. Match the seam of the brHS to the diagonal of the BHS while joining.

        1. Similarly join all other double coloured HS to BHS. You shall have 4 sets of

        Bbg, Bbp, Bby, Bbr

      8. Outer Centre Squares. Join the remaining double-colourHS units to the backgroundHS. You shall have 4 sets of Bpg, Bpy,Bry, Brg.

        1. Now press these seams towards the background fabric.

        Squaring Up

        Personally, I find this the most tedious part. I trimmed the squares to 3″. The centres are already available where the seams meet – so it was really not so much of a problem.

        Positioning

        Position each of the 4 sets in 3 rows of 3 patches, and join. Be careful while joining them – I had to rip seams thrice, because I joined the `wrong’ edges!

        So here it comes together magically!

Only one thing remains before you quilt it. Flip it over – and set the seams at the pinwheel centres into whirls!

Just so…

Quilt as you like. I added a binding overlapping the ¼” seam allowance – hence my little quilts were 8″ each.

This is what I did on the reverse on one mat.

I’ve decided to do a different colour binding on each of the 4 little quilts.

Two of my reversible mug rugs are quilted and ready. I just echoed the pinwheel outer edge in the quilting. I also did an outline quilting on the pinwheel, but didn’t like it. You can still see where I ripped it!

My finished mug rugs.

You could, of course, join the four blocks with/ without a sashing, add a border and and make a runner.

Do let me know if you make these!

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