Saturday, April 10, 2021

Island Batik - April Challenge

Me: How is it?
Paul (mildly irritated): What?
Me (irritated): Your breakfast...that I just brought you, my lord.
Paul: I am still alive, am I not?
Me (through gritted teeth): In that case, let me get you another serving.
Paul (calmly): It is good to have goals.
Me: If you want me to cook for you then you need to tell me that you LIKE my cooking.
Paul: I will...AFTER I finish eating it.

Let's ignore Paul for now. 

April 2021 is a free month which means that it is all up to me - any project, any size, any theme and any technique. 

First things first - start with a sketch/concept. When you translate a concept/idea into fabric, the end results are rarely what you expect. There have been times when what seemed brilliant as a concept fell flat in fabric :-( 

With the Autumn Sunset collection in mind, I started with a rough sketch.  But picking fabric pairs to achieve the right degree of contrast (within each block) and gradation (from the adjacent block) was a huge challenge.  

The Concept

I took many many pictures and converted each to grayscale to determine value gradation. Changes were made and often. I was happy with some choices and I settled with others.  It was time to start making the blocks.

Starting here

These look fine

But will they work together?

Going from concept/design to flimsy was a gut-wrenching journey. What if this does not turn out according to my vision?  What if something just stands out too much or something just fades into nothingness?

The light blocks

The medium and dark blocks

Setting aside all my anxieties, it was time to piece the top.  No more thinking and no overthinking.

Piecing the Top

Once the flimsy was completed, I placed it on the design wall, turned and walked away about 12 feet. 
When I turned to look at it, I knew that my gamble had worked!!!


No more hesitation now. Time to baste and quilt!!!


In the end it did work out according to my expectations :-) What do you think?

Suns in the Sun

Konark Quilt

I have named this quilt Konark, meaning the "angle of the sun". Konark is also the name of the temple dedicated to the Sun God in India. The town where the temple is located is also called Konark.

Konark Quilt finished at 60" by 84".

Autumn Glow

Burning Hot

Light Suns and Dark Suns

But I have more pictures to please humor me.

Cascade of Suns

Walking Foot Quilting

Hot and Spicy :-)

I used Hobbs Cotton Batting. Thank you Hobbs.

I used Schmetz Microtex Needle 70/12 for piecing and Schmetz Needle 90/14 for quilting and binding. Love Schmetz.

I used Aurifil Thread 50wt for piecing and 40wt for quilting. 

Disclosure: The fabrics, thread, batting and needles were generously supplied by the following companies:

But wait there is more... The odd cuts leftover from Dawn were fashioned into a zippered pouch.

These colors are so yummy

Love the Autumn Sunset collection

Hugs and Kisses inside :-)

Paul: Thank you for breakfast. It was yummy.
Me: Umm Hmmm.

Whether you like your eggs poached or scrambled, here is hoping your weekend is sunny side up :-) 

One last look - Sun in the Shadows

The next Island Batik Challenge is "Make it Modern" with a Blog Hop. I am working on it right now and I will be posting on May 3, 2021.  Sorry no sneak peeks. 
According to Angela, April is light and bright blue.  Here are my fabric picks. 

I will be sharing with Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge linky party and all my favorite linky parties, see full list on the sidebar.
I have a new finish and an exciting announcement - all in the next blogpost!!! 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Honoring RBG

The date was September 18, 2020. Paul and I were eating dinner while watching TV as we do most evenings. My phone buzzed. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87

"Oh no", I exclaimed. "Mitch McConnell will fill her seat." 

As the country grappled with grief and shock, the Senate republicans did just that. Swooped in for a power grab in record time, during an election year, while flouting their own precedent as the pandemic ravaged the country. The Supreme Court now tilted firmly conservative with a 6-3 majority.

2020 will forever be the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Add to it the racial terror of George Floyd's brutal murder and the unrest that followed. An administration that ignored the pandemic, pushed questionable remedies, silenced medical experts and spread lies and hatred while ignoring scientific guidance. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the last straw.

My grief and shock was replaced with anger and disgust followed by fear. All the progress that we had made towards women's rights, marriage equality and gender equality was now at risk as were the efforts made against voter suppression. 

The first block

If I did not channel my roiling emotions into quilting, I would be devastated. And yet this was not about me. I turned my thoughts to the memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sisters waiting to be armed

If you are one of those who believe that RBG was against pro-life (you are misinformed) and may want to read about how RBG's decision helped end forced abortions in the military.

I made the International Sister Block and added the lace collar.  And then there were more.



Work in Progress


When asked how many of the nine judges on the US Supreme Court should be female — and at what point there would be enough women on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a simple answer: "When there are nine."

Honoring RBG

All complexions

Many colors

Jelly fish and elephants

Blues and Yellows

We Dissent

Inspired by RBG

All colors are welcome

Striving for Equality

I love you all

And nine wore lace collars to symbolize the nine Supreme Court Justices, as envisioned by RBG.  

The quilt was completed on October 18, 2020, as the nation geared for an election that would decide the fate of not just one nation or a continent, but the fate of the planet. 

In a year that was historic for a hundred horrible reasons, there was hope and positivity in the nomination of Senator Kamala Devi Harris, the first woman, the first woman of color and the first woman of Asian origin for national office by a major political party.

In broad daylight

Reflected in dark waters

From a bridge

While battling the breeze


Through twists and turns

Backing that Glows

At Home

I took lots of pictures, added a hanging sleeve and on October 20, 2020, I mailed the completed quilt to Senator Kamala Harris' office in California. It was my homage to RBG. It was also my hope in Kamala Harris' candidacy and it was my dream for a better, more equitable future for all women.

Can you find all the nine Sisters wearing the lace collars?


In Royal Blue

Turquoise is mine

Ultramarine Glow

Resplendent in Red

Abstract Prints

Geometric Designs

Fancy Florals 

Embracing my Freckles and Age Spots

In November 2020, the Biden-Harris ticket won. The world heaved a huge sigh of relief. 

I was sure that the quilt had reached its destination. I had the tracking. But did she get it or someone else receive it on her behalf. Did she see it? What did she think? Hope she likes it? Will she put it on her bed? Of course not. She will hang it in a prominent place.

I knew I would get a response but did not know what or when.  I imagined getting a lovely letter of praise and gratitude followed by an invitation to meet. I imagined myself in the office of Madam Vice President, discussing women's education, microlending and Bollywood music over steaming cups of chai and hot samosas.

Hoping for the Best

I was sure a letter was on its way. Instead I got a text...from Paul (he was working from home). There is a package for you.

This did not seem right. I hurried home. I saw the package and recognized it immediately. It was the same package that I had sent. No, no, no. This was not happening. 

The quilt was returned to me from the Senator's Washington DC address with a short note saying that the ethics rules prevent them from accepting gifts.

Paul: I am so sorry.
Me: It is fine. I have my RBG quilt to comfort me.
Paul: It is a good thing that ethics rules are followed.
Me: I understand.
Paul: But you seem so deflated.
Me: I feel like a fool.
Paul: You are not a fool. You are passionate and wiser for the experience.
Me: Thank you.

Serenity, Courage and now finally Wisdom. The trilogy is complete.

Closed Doors

Turned Away

The sisters were gently turned away.  Understandably. 

But the journey does not end just because we encounter one closed door.

In December 2020, Birgitta (member of the Swedish National Guild called Rikstäcket) reached out to me inquiring about the block and asking permission to transform the International Sister by giving her a Swedish folk costume.  I did not even have to think before saying YES!!!

Sister Reimagined by Birgitta

Sister in Sverigedräkten, by Birgitta

Many email exchanges later, the Sisters made their way into the Swedish Quilting Magazine - Rikstacket. I am still waiting for the physical copy of the magazine, but Birgitta was kind enough to send me a picture of the article.

 Read Birgitta's words below:

I saw that ”the International Sister” quite easily could be transformed into a woman with a folkloric/traditional costume. I started with the ”Sverigedräkten” and then with a traditional costume. It worked out well. I took contact with Preeti and Gail by e-mail to get the stories behind the block and to ask permission to use it. They answered that they were happy to give their permission. Preeti wrote like this: ”It warms my heart that you have taken the International sister block and changed it to suit you. You have made it even more international which is the whole purpose of making and sharing quilt blocks”. Gail gave her blessing too, she wrote: ” I love the idea of turning the block into a Scandinavian beauty. I hope that you will have a good response from the Rikstäckets members.” The idea was presented for
the board of Rikstäcket, and they liked it.

So the International sister walks on, in her third version, to spread happiness, a sense of
community and to show female diversity in all its forms and colours.

When I was photographing the second sister quilt, I was approached by someone who bought it.  
The third has returned to me. These sisters will stay with me.

You Stay With Me!!!

March is Women's History Month. Here is how women were celebrated in the "evolved" West:

March 3, 2021 - 33 year old Sara Everard was kidnapped and murdered as she walked home in South London.

March 16, 2021 - A mass shooting killed six women in Atlanta.

And if you think the crimes and atrocities against women are horrible let's see how the law in this great country of "law and order" is lately doing for women.

March 2021 - South Dakota governor bans transgender girls from sports teams by executive order.

March 2021 - A Maple Grove man's rape conviction was overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court because the victim willingly consumed alcohol and therefore cannot claim to be incapacitated. 

February 2021 - In an effort to further restrict abortion in Tennessee, two state  lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow a father to deny an abortion without the pregnant woman's consent, with no exception for rape and incest.

Imagine being raped and impregnated by the heinous act, the rapist then gets to further control your body even if it is from behind bars. 

The reasons may change but my disgust and anger remain. I am also fearful for those who will be victimized twice - once by the perpetrator and then by the law. Where are the laws that protect us? 

I cling tightly to the progress made by the efforts of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and hope that we do not slide back.

Through the darkness...

We soldier on

I speak out...I quilt on...I vote. 

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties (see full list on the sidebar). Should you add your voice to the mix, I'd feel ever so hopeful.