Monday, March 04, 2013

A Tale of Many Quilts

It is funny how I got interested in quilting only last month and suddenly, I see quilts everywhere. So here's a picture-heavy post with notes on my quilt-sightings.

On Friday, I played hooky from work and spent the day at a fabulous quilt show where dozens of local quilters displayed their best work. The morning started with the baking of a large batch of muffins, a little something to take to the quilt show for sharing. The recipe is Sunshine Orange Muffins from Alanna, one that was patiently waiting in my bookmarks for months. The main attraction of this recipe for me was the fact that a whole orange was blended with the wet ingredients. And that the resulting muffin looks like a plain, spongy cake, the kind I always loved from bakeries in India.

To make enough muffins to go around, I doubled the batch, and perhaps I used more flour than was necessary, because the muffins turned out a little dry. Other than this, I adored how quick and easy the recipe was, and how wonderfully spongy (and not overly sweet) the muffin turned out to be. Instead of the whole orange, I used three clementines, but I did peel them, because I was not sure how the waxy peel would work. All in all, if you're looking for a treat to enjoy with tea or to pack into a picnic or lunchbox, this recipe is worth a try.

Sunshine muffins basking in the sunshine

The quilt show just about overwhelmed me- the textures, the colors and the ridiculous talent on display.  I came away with ideas and inspiration, and a goal to work towards.







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A couple of weeks ago, I heard a talk about a quilting project undertaken by a quilt group from a town an hour or two away. A quilter from this group was a children's librarian and she had collected over a hundred children's books that included quilts as part of the story. Her idea was to create a quilt based on every book. Unfortunately, this quilter passed away from a serious illness; her quilter friends took on the project in her memory. In the presentation that I attended, they held up books, told us a brief synopsis of the story, and then held up the quilt based on the book. Books and craft came together in such a beautiful way. See for yourself at their website.

This group lends the books and quilts to individuals, schools and libraries, so do contact them if you'd like to borrow a beautiful quilt and matching book for your little ones to enjoy, or pass on this information to your child's teacher. It is very nice that our kids have all sorts of screen-based devices for entertainment and learning, but to touch a beautiful quilt hand-made with colorful fabric is an experience that would be very enriching for any child.

*** *** ***

The AIDS memorial quilt is the largest community art project in the world. Starting in the 1980s, the decade when AIDS started sweeping the world in a storm of confusion and suffering, the AIDS memorial quilt consists of quilt squares representing the lives of those who have died of AIDS-related causes. It has grown and grown to the point where it is estimated to weigh 54 tons and of course it is no longer in one piece. However, chunks of the AIDS memorial quilt are displayed around the world for the public to explore.

And that's how I got to see some of this quilt locally. Pieces of the quilt were laid out in a huge hall. The atmosphere was hushed and solemn as we walked around looking at tributes to people who died too young. The quilt squares were as diverse as you can imagine: some stark portraits of grief, and others colorful displays of personality. Most captured the unique interests of the person they celebrated- favorite hobbies, sports, clothes, pets were all represented.

  I don't know if it is obvious in the picture, but this is an actual net
sewn onto the quilt.


This must have been someone's favorite recipe, or signature recipe perhaps.
Sounds like a tasty black eyed pea stew.

Squares cut from old jeans sewn together.
Several quilts had favorite garments sewn on them.


A tribute to Anthony Perkins, the actor well known for his role in
Psycho- hence that bloody shower curtain.



Click on the picture to read the words.
Someone had placed a box of tissues near the quilts.
They were needed.
*** *** ***

As for me, I've finished my first quilt. I'm feeling a bit sheepish putting pictures in the same post where I've posted all those gorgeous quilts up there, but one has to start somewhere, right? This quilt was a joy to make, and when I was finally finally holding up the finished quilt, I felt such a surge of joy that I knew right away that there are more quilts in my future. In fact, I just started on my second quilt for friends who are expecting a baby, using the zig zag baby quilt pattern from Purl Bee.

Pattern: Road Trip Quilt
A detail of some of the panels- but don't look too closely;
I'm just a beginner. Stitching in the ditch is harder than I thought.
The back of the quilt.

Have a wonderful week! 

63 comments:

  1. This is such an interesting post. My aunt used to do a lot of quilting, using bits of cloth from the dresses she stitched for her daughters. They were the prettiest and most colourful ones. I really liked the idea of that quilt and matching book - such a novel concept. Was thinking about you yesterday when I decided to attempt applique work for a small blanket for my friend's daughter. I haven't attempted too much in this area, but would like to learn. Could you suggest any basic sites that would help me learn how to do applique work. And congratulations on your first quilt. Thats a real achievement. The colours are so bright and happy !

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    1. LOL I'm not Nupur. However, go look at this site for an excellent tutorial series on appliqué. Ir is a four part series about half-way down on the page. http://www.youtube.com/user/MissouriQuiltCo/videos?view=0

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    2. Thanks Judy- that looks very useful!

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    3. Archana- Applique is something I'm very interested in too! I haven't identified any particular tutorials yet (there are so many out there). The basic method is to cut out a shape from fabric (the applique) and sew it onto another fabric using a zig zag or satin stitch around the applique. Most tutorials I've seen iron on the applique to some interfacing first, to keep the edges from fraying. Although the frayed edge look is nice too! Here are three applique projects that are on my to-do-someday list:

      http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2009/10/tutorial-scrap-buster-fall-pillow.html

      http://wheneightcreate.blogspot.com/2011/03/french-roses-quilt.html

      http://helpinglittlehands.blogspot.com/2012/01/bird-and-bunting-quilt-with-pattern.html

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    4. Thank you so much Judy and Nupur. I hope to try and get down to actually doing it..You are a huge inspiration Nupur

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  2. Awesome nupur. Glad u had the time to feast ur eyes with such creativity and talent. Dont undermine ur work.....its bright and beautiful!!!! I am guessing its for lila from the cute pattern at the back. Lovely sunshine muffins as well.

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    1. Yes! Lila gets to keep Mama's first quilt.

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  3. Wow! All the quilts and the stories they tell are beautiful! Your quilt looks amazing too! great work!

    Subha

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    1. Thank you Subha! I'm glad you enjoyed this rather off-beat post.

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  4. Hi Nupur,
    Greetings from Bombay! Your quilt looks cosy and inviting :)
    About the muffins: I suppose they burst with citrussy freshness? I hope so. But I don't quite like using oil in my cakes--do you have any formula for using butter instead?

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    1. Oops! Sorry, I commented from my Google profile so I assumed my name would show up. I'm Aarti :)

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    2. Oops! Sorry, I commented from my Google profile so I assumed my name would show up. I'm Aarti :)

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    3. Hi Aarti- yes, I did think the muffins were citrussy and fresh. Melted butter instead of oil would be worth a try.

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  5. I love your quilt! So bright and cheerful! Honestly, for a first timer, you rocked it! It looks wonderful.

    We visited an Amish place over a year ago and there were these awesome quilts - handmade and expensive ones. I still remember those!

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  6. Umm love the collection ,,,specially the one with the recipe,,,nd the muffins look yum,

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  7. Hi Nupur,

    Wow - mindreader. Just last week after reading your post I meant to ask you to put up any pictures of the quilt that u were making.. and u actually put up an entire post.

    Thanks - these are lovely. Quilts always take me back to memories of my grandmother - she made lovely ones.... Cant wait to see some more of the quilts that u are planning on making.

    Take care,

    Meenal

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    1. Thanks Meenal. I'll post pics as I make more quilts, but I predict it will be a couple more months before the next one is done!

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  8. Your quilt is beautiful! I love the colors and the way you placed them. Stitching-in-the-ditch is one of the hardest ways to machine quilt. I can't wait to see your next quilt.

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    1. Thanks Judy. I though stitching in the ditch would be easy- just follow the line- but ummm no :)

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  9. I was super curious to see your quilt, so I scrolled down first, and urs surely is gorgeous :) well done!
    - suchi (ur fan from brisbane, Australia)

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    1. Thanks Suchi- I'm happy with how it turned out, simple as the pattern is.

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  10. Congratulations! on your first completed quilt.
    As u rightly said "better to start somewhere".
    Your quilt reminded me of the quilts my Grandma used to make.
    Nilima

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm glad I could bring back good memories.

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  11. I am in love with quilts! Thanks to you. What a beauty some of these are! I cant imagine how much time and love went into each one of them. Did you notice one of those have small rangoli patterns on it? And there's our Dale peeking out from one of the art pieces. :)

    Your quilt has turned out so beautiful! :) I want to make one too! I have to get a sewing machine to start with, right?

    - Priti

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    1. Yeah Priti- quilting is such a beautiful art/craft and now that I am dabbling in it, I have even more respect for those who do it well (it is difficult!!!). Yup= that black dog with the bandana totally reminded me of Dalu and I had to take a pic.

      Quilts can certainly be made completely by hand like in the old days! Quilting predates sewing machines. But quilting by hand needs time and patience and expertise.See if a friend/neighbor will let you use their machine if you want to try making a small quilt.

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  12. Wow! Really superb job Nupur. Tiny seams still intimidate me. Love the fabric combination.
    I see that you dont update projects on Rav anymore. But your projects have really helped me choosing mine. Keep crafting. I really love all the work our fingers can create.
    Sapna

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    1. Sapna- this particular quilt pattern is super easy and forgiving, you don't need tiny uniform seams.

      It has been months since I posted a new project on Ravelry (because I've been making more of my favorite patterns that I've made and posted before) but in fact just posted a new scarf this morning!

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  13. First quilt? Seriously? If you didn't tell we wouldn't know. Really cute quilt. My mom used to make them - still have one I use. Unfortunately mom's fingers are stiff with joint pain now a days.

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    1. Oh gosh trust me if you looked closely you'd know without a doubt that this is the work of a novice! I'm sorry that your mom is unable to quilt- it must be very hard to have pain come in the way of a hobby.

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  14. This is such an achievement, Nupur! I don't know the first thing about quilting, but I did wander into a tiny but wonderful Quilt Museum near Lancaster a couple of years ago, and was stunned at all the gorgeous patterns and the amount of work that must have gone into making these quilts.
    Can't wait to see your second quilt!

    - Radhika

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    1. How cool, Radhika! Seeing quilts in person is such an amazing experience, isn't it? Yeah, the hours that go into a complicated quilt are simply staggering.

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  15. Your quilt is so beautiful! And this post is eye candy!
    I am yet again amazed by the number of things you do. How do you manage with a baby and a full time job? One day I would like to read about how your organize your day/week.
    Can you also elaborate on what type of sewing machine you used for the quilt? I am thinking of buying one but not sure which model of sewing machine to get. I am not going to make any quilts but want to use mine to do basic stitching and altering.

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    1. Oh my new job in GA is a part time one- hurray for working 3 days a week! I love it- it is very hard to find a good part time job and I got very lucky there.

      My sewing machine is a Brother one- Project Runway edition or something like that. The particular model is not made any more (Brother makes a million models with minor variations every year for some strange reason). I like it- the more favored brands like Janome and Bernina are way more expensive and Brother is good enough for me at this point.

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    2. Yes, good part time jobs are hard to find! Glad you can make the work family balance work so well!
      Thanks for the Brother suggestion. I will look into their models.

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  16. The quilts are all so gorgeous. And yours is such a bright and happy-looking one! What an awesome achievement! As someone else commented, you must be great with managing time. Juggling a baby, home and job plus finding time for hobbies is no joke.

    I must confess I have zero talent when it comes to creative stuff like art and craft. I hope to learn some day :)

    Preeti

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    1. Not everyone has to like art and craft! There are so many other things to get creative with- like music (which is foreign to me). Find what makes you happy- and then make time for it :)

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  17. That's great for your first quilt! Congrats. Here's to many more.

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  18. Love love love your quilt Nupur. I loved the back of the quilt too, so cute. I was going to ask you to share some pictures of your quilt and saw your post today. All those quits are so beautiful.

    I enjoyed sewing basics class a lot (it was last saturday). I also came to know I could not even sew in a straight line!. V has ordered a machine for me and it should come this week. I am so excited!

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    1. I was going to ask you how your sewing class was! Glad you enjoyed it. Congrats on the sewing machine and I'm looking forward to seeing what you make :) By the way, learning to sew takes a bit of time but you'll be surprised at how quickly you improve.

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  19. I have been a silent reader of your blog. I simply LOVED your quilt. its so beautiful bright.. I am also new to quilting. I wanted to know where did you such beautiful selection of fabric? The front has so many bright and fresh color fabric and the combination is very good. You are an inspiration !!!

    Thank you for sharing!
    Geetanjali...

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    1. Thank you Geetanjali! This fabric all came from a very humble source: Jo Ann fabrics. I started by identifying one fabric that I adored, which was the yellow background ladybug and flowers. I used the colors in that fabric (black, white, yellow, red) plus gray (since it a mix of black and white) and one contrasting color- green. Then I chose a few patterns based on these colors. I love stripes and dots as you can see. And with the happy Spring theme, there are a couple of flower and butterfly prints. That was my general method for choosing fabrics. Good luck with your quilting and I would be delighted to see what you make!

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    2. Thanks a lot for your informative reply. I am sweetly surprised, i visit Joann's often and I had my eye on lady bug yellow fabric. I have been waiting to make something out of it, would get on that project with all of your suggestions above.
      i am not sure how can i post image of my first quilt.

      You are very talented, its very nice of you to share your thoughts/hobbies. it spreads happiness and enthusiasm in others.

      Thanks,
      Geetanjali...

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    3. I have made lots of quilts too fast, but all are very basic squares patterns. Here is the link -
      https://plus.google.com/photos/117491455034487845057/albums/5852414888696269521?banner=pwa

      dreaming of making more complex design.

      Have a wonderful day,
      Geetanjali...

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    4. Geetanjali- you've been very busy- WOW! I adore your quilts- very sweet fabric combinations. This brick-style pattern I made is even simpler than the basic square pattern because the seams don't have to line up.

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  20. Multi talented Nupur! A good job done better. Seriously, how do you find the time?

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  21. Is quilting an expensive hobby? How much investment should I anticipate if I am seriously considering to take this up? What would be the approximate cost of creating a basic quilt? Thanks for your inputs. I really appreciate your help.

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    1. The initial investment is for a sewing machine and basic supplies like fabric scissors, rotary cutter, ruler. Fabric costs vary widely depending on where you buy it. One can save by buying a used sewing machine, looking for sales in stores, shopping yard sales etc.

      Most crafters will tell you that crafting is cheaper than therapy- LOL! I agree.

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    2. Thanks for your quick reply. I asked because the moment I announce at home that I want to pursue it the question that's going to pop up is - 'How much money?'

      The source for fabrics you mentioned above (Jo Ann fabrics)is it budget friendly? I already have an old sewing machine so how much investment should I consider for making a small basic quilt? I can check the store myself but I don't want to get all excited about something and be disappointed later for not being able to afford it. I hope you understand. Thanks for your help.

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    3. Yes, Jo Ann is budget friendly, especially if one takes advantage of their frequent sales and coupons.

      Far from being a high-end hobby, quilting developed as a thrifty way to use fabric scraps. If you are OK with using used fabrics from the thrift store and an old blanket/sheet of flannel as batting, you could make a quilt under 10$. If you want to use all new stuff from the craft store, it could be more in the 25-30$ range. It all depends on your budget and taste.

      Check this article (and search for others)
      http://voices.yahoo.com/frugal-quilting-quilt-cheap-2674370.html?cat=24


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    4. Thanks a lot Nupur!!! I really appreciate your help in this matter. I think I can do this and knowing it makes me very happy.

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  22. Loved your cheerful quilt Nupur. I really think that knowing and pursuing a craft as a hobby adds such happiness to life. A couple of years ago I became really obsessive about knitting. I would knit ( not very well), go to sheep and wool festivals, visit knitting stores and follow knitting podcasts. Like many of my obsessions - the craze was short lived so I no longer knit so much now but still listen to the knitting podcasts which is really strange :-)

    I enjoy your crafting updates. On my to do list for the future us to a) learnhow to crochet and b) make cute little knitted/ crochet ornaments / toys
    Arpita

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    1. Aprita- it does! Hobbies (the word sounds so silly and frivolous) give me so much more in addition to being a creative outlet- they provide a strong bond with other crafters.

      Crochet is really fun and very easy to learn- in fact, right now I'm crocheting little vegetables (play food) as a birthday present.

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  23. Nupur - That is an awesome quilt treat! Love your quilt and the sunshine colors add to the look and feel. Nice work of art. I appreciate the fact that you take time for your hobbies.

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    1. Thanks Ashwini! Yes, I definitely chose bright and happy colors/patterns.

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  24. Hi Nupur,

    Been ages...Just wanted to come and say hello. Just hanging out in this space made me happy and nostalgic.

    Big hugs to you...can't believe the news about Dale. He's in your heart forever, with all his love. Recently, one of my best friends lost her cat-he was my li'l buddy. But he left us with lots of love and sweet memories!

    Thank you for keeping this blog going! Lots of love to you and Lila!

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    1. Hello my dear! I've missed you and I hope you're doing well!

      Yes, we miss our dear Dale every single day. We always talk about the goofy things he did and then we have to laugh.

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  25. Dear Nupur
    Oné hot Stove is like reading and rereading End Blyton On and on and on!
    With best wishes

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  26. Gorgeous quilt, Nupur! You are truly talented. Hope you are feeling better!

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  27. Love it....the post, the muffins & the best "quilts".... Quilts are like beautiful artwork.....love the bright colors in your quilt....I made my first & only one quilt for my second daughter & before I finished it I started collecting pieces for second one but didn't get around to make it.... but the one I made was totally handmade (not even rotatry cutters) but now I've sewing machine, so probably should start making the second one. Here's the link to my quilt if U like to c it:
    http://spicebuds.blogspot.com/2012/05/its-pinkits-not-foodi-made-it.html

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello!