Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life's Embrace

Holi is the Indian festival of colors. It marks the welcoming of Spring. People play Holi (smear each other with colors and douse each other with colored water) and eat festival foods till they are sick. By late afternoon, everyone is exhausted from playing and then scrubbing (attempting at least) to get themselves clean.

Yummy Scraps
Growing up in India, I hated Holi.

It was an excuse for just about anyone (male/female, young/old, familiar/stranger) to touch you, on the pretext of playing Holi/smearing you with color. The colors were not good for your skin. Some would not be washed away for days later. It was messy and filthy and I hated it.
I would lock myself in my room and not come out till 4:00 in the afternoon, when the “playing Holi” was officially over.  I actually enjoyed the Holi foods, though.

Now that I am away from the forced mingling and should stay away from most festival foods anyway, the big question is – how do I celebrate the festival of colors???

…With Fabric, so much yummy fabric. Playing with colorful fabric scraps is like Holi. But it is so much better.

And that is exactly what I did - played with colorful scraps.

Elongated 4-patches

With lots of 2.5" scraps left over from Grape Salad and A Walk in the Park, I started to play. I cut up the scraps into rectangles - 2.5" by 4.5" and played and played till I was exhausted and Paul admonished me to go to bed.

Playing with Color!!!

The pattern came to me in my sleep. It was the "Phoebe's Flower Box" Pattern (Thank you, Jenny).  As I started putting the blocks on the design wall, Paul suggested that instead of using white sashing, I should use black. It stands out more, he said. What do you think?

Sashed in Black

Jewel Tones

All things bright & beautiful
I had 100 blocks. I could make either a lap size quilt or two baby quilts. Hmm, two quilts - spread the joy!!! Right?

As I was sashing the colorful batik blocks with the Kona black solids jelly roll strips, I was listening to Bollywood music, as I often do when I am sewing. Sometimes, nodding my head, sometimes singing along and occasionally I will translate for Paul the meaning of the song, in the hope that he will “try” to learn the language. Silly me!!!

So Simple and Stunning

One such song is “Ae Zindagi, Gale Laga Le. Humne bhi tere har gam ko gale se lagaya hai, hai na”
Translation – O Life, embrace me. I have embraced all your sorrows. Haven’t I?

Love love love this song/lyrics. It is as if Life is another person. The writer/singer is conversing with Life and saying that since I have accepted you, O Life, with all your troubles, won’t you embrace me too? Show me some love…

The finished quilt is about 43" square. The batting is Warm & Natural.

Walking Foot Quilting

I am naming this quilt – Life’s Embrace. 

Life, because it is colorful with its myriad hues, lights and darks and mostly because even our happiest moments are tinted with sadness (Batik) and the saddest moments may have something to smile about. 

Embrace because the black sashing embraces the colored rectangles.

I used this super adorable fabric for the backing.
Pink Elephants
Is this too girly, I asked Paul. No, it has animals, he said.

Orange Giraffes (Note the flowery tail)

I quilted it using a decorative stitch on my Janome, in almost straight lines. The binding is a pale orange and it matches the backing - Love when that happens.

This time, I did something different. Instead of using the squiggly stitch to secure the binding to the front, I used a straight stitch. It worked!!! it was faster too. I guess, that my sewing has improved (even if slightly) that I don't have to hide my imperfections with the squiggle.

Binding, from the front

Binding, from the back
This will be henceforth my go-to style of binding.

And finally, here is the label - Life's Embrace. This is my 7th finish of 2015 and I am so happy with the way it turned out.

Hope it will inspire to play with fabric scraps and have loads of good clean, non-messy, fun with colors!!! Happy Spring to you all!!!