Monday, December 30, 2013

Quilt # 7 - Alphabet Soup

My MIL lives in Georgia. She sews too, much less now than she used to. However, she has enough evidence - fabrics, notions, machine and more - from her sewing days. We visit her every year on Thanksgiving.  When I told her that I had started sewing, she was overjoyed.

MIL: Welcome to the family, my dear.
P: What? I have been apart of your family for several years now.
MIL: Oh, I mean sewing family. Finally, I have someone to pass on my stuff to.

When I sent a picture of my first quilt to her, she wrote back to me the sweetest email that any MIL has ever sent to her DIL. How sweet, you may ask.

Well, it was so sweet that I forwarded it to my mom in India.
What did my mother do with that email?
She printed it out and has it framed. Well, not quite but she has  shown it around to friends and family.
That I got kudos from my MIL reflects on her excellent upbringing. It is a cultural thing. If you are from India, you are more likely to understand.

Here is the text from the email

"You do such beautiful work. Have saved the pictures you send so I can show them to others and brag about my wonderful daughter-in-law who cooks, bakes, sews, takes such good care of her husband and so much more. I'm the luckiest mother of all."

So, when my MIL asked me to make a quilt for a friend's niece who was expecting a baby, I hopped to it. I used charm packs and my favorite pattern - the disappearing nine patch and here is the result.

The birds fabric for the backing was totally irresistible.

Quilt # 6 - Pink pinwheels

Once I completed the "Down to earth" quilt # 4, I took it to work to show to a co-worker Laura, who is very talented. She makes and wears her own clothes - and looks terrific. While Laura was admiring my handiwork, Dan stopped by and noticed the quilt. The following conversation ensued:

D: Did you make that?
P: Yes. It was fun.
D: How much does that cost? How long does it take?
P: Well, it depends.
D: Would you make a quilt for my niece?
P: Absolutely. I cannot stop making them and if someone wants it so much the better.

Well, I was dying to try the pinwheels pattern and the fact that Dan would give it to his niece was just perfect. Dan's niece Julia is about 3 and loves everything pink. I showed the fabrics to Dan and he agreed to my choices.

There was one other thing. Dan wanted me to add the letter J on the back of the quilt. My applique skills are less than rudimentary. Here is the result - hope Julia won't notice the imperfections. I love the backing fabric :-)

Pink Pinwheels was completed in August/September 2013. Julia must have received it on Christmas morning. Hope I can get a picture of the quilt with Julia!

And here she is - Julia enjoying the quilt. And this is one of the reasons to see that face.

Quilt # 5 - Sunshine Quilt

Blocks for the Sunshine Quilt
Quilt # 5 is my first scrappy quilt.  When someone has been quilting for years, it is so..... easy for them to have a stash of scraps and scrappy quilts are more the norm than an exception. For a newbie quilter, scraps are a luxury.

So, how did I make a scrappy quilt?
I used fat quarters and remnants from Joann and pretended they were scraps. I did have a few scraps from quilts # 1 and 2.

Here is the result:

What can I say - I love scrappy quilts too.

Circle Sewing Studio

I bought my Janome Sewing Machine from Circle Sewing Studio in Woodbridge, Virginia. Parker, the owner/manager, is an accomplished quilter and seamstress. The machine comes with free lessons. How many lessons, I asked? As many as you need, Parker replied. WOW!!!

Parker outside Circle Sewing Studio in Woodbridge, VA

I had a hundred questions. Parker answered all of them and showed me how to do it on the new machine. Parker taught me "stitching around the ditch"

Stitching Around The Ditch???
When I try to stitch in the ditch, I end up all over the ditch. It was frustrating trying to stay in the ditch. What is the solution - stitch around it.
Parker showed me how to stitch around the ditch. Pick a decorative stitch that is not too dense, preferably uniform about the y-axis (meaning - the mirror image of the stitch is same as the stitch e.g zig-zag). And then, instead of a straight stitch, use that decorative stitch to quilt. It allows you room to make mistakes which are less visible than a straight stitch in the ditch.

That was a life-saver.

It is important to note that the decorative stitch will be slower and use more thread. But it is a better look with fewer visible errors. When your seams don't match, it is definitely more forgiving and maneuverable than a straight stitch.

Here is an example. See the meandering stitch?

Stitch Around the Ditch

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Quilt # 4 - Down to Earth

There is a story behind this quilt. Isn't there always a story behind every quilt?

A very dear friend informed me that she was expecting. I was so happy to hear her big news. And almost immediately my head filled with patterns for a baby quilt. Here comes the difficult part - she won't share with anyone whether it was a boy or a girl. Yikes!!!

I like a challenge. I decided to go with neutral colors - greens and browns. I used my favorite pattern - the Disappearing Nine Patch.

These colors are really soothing. I wish they were brighter. 

This was my fourth quilt on my very basic Brother machine. I hated it when after spray basting and continually smoothing out my layers, the fabric would still bunch in places. Why is this happening, what can I do differently? 


I travelled to Bethesda, MD to find a walking foot for the machine. Did you notice how sewing machines and vacuum cleaners go together? No, I don't get it either. The shopkeeper was very helpful but there was no way my machine would take a walking foot. However, he offered to sell me a new machine which would be excellent for my quilting needs.

So, I travelled to Springfield, VA to look for a walking foot that would fit my machine. I went to the authorized Brother store. Same result - no foot would fit my machine but I could buy a new one foot and all other contraptions. I needed to think about it. In any case, let me first finish this quilt.

I like how it is coming together. I used Stitch in the Ditch to quilt it - it is slow and painful. And I rarely stay in the ditch. But I still love the outcome.

And there are cute giraffes on the back...

So, now that the quilt was complete, it just felt more like a boy quilt. But that is just my opinion. I gave the quilt to my friend on June 22, 2013. Her handsome boy was born on July 4th, 2013.

Quilt # 3 - Chinese Coins

I made this pink Chinese Coins Quilt for a friend's baby shower. Started with several strips of fabric and stitched them together lengthwise. Cut them into strips across and stitched back together with strips of white jelly roll in between. Came together very quickly.

And the final output is not too bad...what do you think?

and I chose this bright fabric for the backing.

Since I was rushed, I folded the backing over to the front to make the binding. 

And here is the cute baby enjoying her quilt. Super cute!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quilt # 2

I made this quilt using the Gypsy Girl Charm Pack from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I did not like all squares in the charm pack so I swapped out a few with 5" squares cut out from fat quarters bought from my local Jo-Ann fabrics. This design is the Disappearing Nine Patch and it is my favorite design particularly for making baby quilts. Of course, I learned it from Jenny of Missouri Star Quilt Company.

I gave it to a co-worker for his new-born daughter, Alwen. I was told that she loves it!!!
And here is a picture showing Alwen enjoying her quilt and her yummy fingers. So cute!!!

My First Quilt

Quilt # 1 - For Sukhveen's Baby Shower

My dear friend, Manveen called me in January, 2013. She invited me to her sister Sukhveen's baby shower. That instant, I knew it. This is the moment when I had to just go ahead and make a quilt.

 Piecing in Progress
 Showing off the Miter Corner
 Completed Quilt
 Love the Backing fabric

Here is what I learned. Choose fabrics that you really love. Because there will be times when you may get frustrated - enjoying the fabric makes you go on. And I love what my friend Vera says - "Straight lines are overrated"
I think I will start a new page and call it - Musings. For all the funny, pithy quilty sayings...

My journey - how did it begin?

One fine day in August of 2012, Vera invited me to a Quilt Guild. I agreed. That day they were showing a documentary on American Quilts. I watched wide-eyed, totally immersed and completely impressed. The following conversation ensued.

Preeti: I want to do this. I want to make a quilt, no quilts.
Vera: Do you have a sewing machine?
Preeti: Yes, I do.
Vera: Do you know how to thread it?
Preeti: I am not sure.

Vera showed me how to thread my very basic Brother sewing machine on Labor Day in 2012. We made a grocery bag out of an old t-shirt. It was fun.

Let me start by making something small. So, I made pot holders. Thanks to a tutorial on youtube.  And then I made tote bags and small pouches, thanks to tutorials on I made a book bag for my niece and a messenger bag for my nephew.

I made an iPad case using this super cute dog and bone fabric. My sister saw it and I never saw it again :-)

I wanted to get into making quilts but there were so many cute bags and totes and pouches to make...I was like a kid (a very hungry kid) in a candy store. I am a newbie quilter and any comments from the readers would be such an encouragement...