Saturday, March 14, 2015

QuiltCon : Part 2 : Volunteering

If you haven't heard about it, I went to QuiltCon this year. It was surreal!

I have been a member of the Modern Quilt Guild in one way or the other right since I started quilting. The MQG has always given me a direction, first through online inspiration and assistance and now through QuiltCon. I do dream of playing a larger role in the MQG someday. But meanwhile, I decided the best way to 'be involved' was to apply to be a super volunteer for Quiltcon. And I'm so happy that I made that decision!

I reached Austin at about 2 am. I was supposed to reach at midnight, but my flight from New York was delayed. My first volunteer shift started at 8 am! Was I tired? Not at all!!!

I helped prep the lecture halls for a while before being sent to the exhibition hall along with the fabulous Kathy York (Her quilt iQuilt) won the "Best of Show). I had been in touch with her before - when I made my 3D quilt. She is a warm and a generous person. I loved the fact that everyone greeted me with a lovely warm hug!!!

I kept going for 8 hours volunteering because of the wonderful people around me and the adrenalin of being a part of this show!!!

The awesome Colleen - the lady in pink hair lying at the bottom of the stairs was the one who decided how the volunteering schedule worked! She was SUPER! Always smiling - I totally admire her strength. It was not a joke to try and make everyone work and feel like they are being given a gift! 

I also got a pat in the back from Jacquie! She is an unbelievable lady! She is the Chairman of the Modern Quilt Guild, but yet she was so accessible! She recognized me by my name when she met me! I love her!!! I got to learn so much from her. Throughout QuiltCon, there was not a moment when I saw her stressed. I know it is a HUGE task to organize a show of this volume, but this lady is a pro! Hats off to her!!!

I got to assist two workshops - the perks of being a Super Volunteer! First was Cristy Fincher. Her class was about Quilting with straight lines. And I got to learn a lot of things. Especially how to bury threads - even when they're super short!

The other class I assisted was Yoshiko Jinzenji's!!! It was amazing. The lady is an enigma! I loved her work since a very long time. But the way she played with material - ranging from sheer organzas to silks and upholstery fabrics - it was crazy awesome! She taught me to be fearless in my approach!!!

Will I go to QuiltCon again? Of course Yes. But I'll request MQG to have it at a time other than February. I cannot afford to miss my son's birthday AND my anniversary every time.

Will I volunteer at Quiltcon again? Definitely!!! It was a huge part of my experience. Everyone at MQG made me feel at home. I was not homesick for even one moment! I enjoyed being a part of the show! I am proud of being a part of Quiltcon!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Quiltcon Part 1 : Roomies!!!

I went to QuiltCon this year!
It was a dream come true for me. I had been planning on doing this since Quiltcon2013.
I managed to save enough money to make it a reality this year!!!

It was an awesome experience!!!

I traveled 9500 miles to reach Austin, but it was totally worth it!

I will need much more than one post to write about all that. But in this post, I will write about the wonderful women that I shared my room with!

Here are my room mates for QuiltCon.

From left to right : Laura (she won the people's choice award for her awesome quilt), Emily (since we had 2 Emilies in the room I called her EmB), Elaine, Me and Emily (This one was EmL)

We stayed at the Marriott! It was a beautiful room on the 10th floor with a wonderful view of Downtown Austin.

Meeting Emily (EmL) was the highlight of this trip EmL and me have known each other since 2010 and we really became friends in 2011 after I made this Doll Quilt for her in a Swap.

We have been talking (aka chatting on FB) with each other so many times. When she went to Austin in 2013 and had a lot of fun, I was so jealous! It was then that we decided that we will be roomies for Quiltcon 2015!!!

EmL's and mine is a friendship I cannot describe! Meeting her in flesh was so awesome!

We talked a lot (as much as I could stay awake to do) into the night. We got Tattoos together. Not same ones (But I'm sure she's going to get one to match mine - she was so in love with it)

Mine is the "expecto patronum' one.

She did hers first. I was super nervous. When I asked her if it pained a lot. she said - Not a lot. A little. But when I started getting mine done it pained. A LOT!!! I was actually glaring at her!!!

We spent a lot of time giggling about it!!!

When it was time for good byes, we did share a lot of tears. I remember people giving us sympathy smiles or avoiding looking at us while we stood outside a classroom that I was volunteering in and hugged and cried!

I loved all my roomies! I had heard about them through Emily. We started chatting on FB as a group and if one of us missed a (long) conversation, they had to go back and scroll through eternity to get to the top!

We also had our own roomie swap!

I made all the girls mini quilts. Here they are.

This one is Emily B's

 This one was for Elaine. I wasn't a huge fan of the colours, but this was definitely the one most difficult to part with!

 This one was for Laura. It even had her blue glasses!

Lastly, this one was for EmB. It was the most difficult to make. I dont know why. But it was also the fastest to come together!

I had a blast at Quiltcon because I had such wonderful girls to come back 'home' to! Thank you ladies, for making my stay awesome and for making me not feel homesick.

More about my trip in the next post. Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sew Mama Sew! Giveaway Day!!!

Hi all!
Its that day of the year! Yes! The BIG Giveaway Day at Sew Mama Sew.
And I am participating.

I will be giving away ONE copy of my eBook

ABOUT face : Portrait Quilts using the Reverse Applique Technique

To enter you just have to go to Facebook and 'like' my page!
13 Woodhouse Road on Facebook
Thats it! Like it and leave a comment that you've done that!

If you already 'like' me, leave a comment telling me so!

I will draw a winner on December 12, 2014 at midnight PST!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

52 Prompts to Blog Every Week in 2015 : specially for quilters

I know i have been slacking on the blogging front for quite a while now...
But I do have a lot of plans for my blog in the next year.
Whats different about that? Well, I have a VERY specific plan for the next year!
I'm sharing my plan with you today!

I will probably be doing a linky party every Monday. The topics are all listed below. You can join me in the Blogging Party! The linky will be open all week!

Here's the list :

January is the month of planning. The focus in this month is to dream and dream about ways to achieve this dream.

Jan 05: Quilting resolutions for the new year : Post about all the things that you plan for your blog and for the quilting stuff in your life in the new year.
Jan 12: Keeping it real : What the situation currently is in your quilting studio.
Jan 19: Dream Sewing Space : Show us what your dreams are.
Jan 26: Favorite Organizing Tools : Show us the tools that you use to organize your quilting stuff.

February is the month of love. We will be telling about our favorite things this month.

Feb 02: Sewing Machine : Tell us about the favorite sewing machine you have  or your dream sewing machine.
Feb 09: Fabric : Tell us about your favorite fabric.
Feb 16: Quilter : Tell us about your favorite quilter.
Feb 23: Quilt : Tell us about the quilt you have made which is your favorite.

March is a month when we will share our experiences with everyone.

Mar 02: Quilt Show : Tell us about a quilt show you have attended or would like to attend.
Mar 09: Quilting Class : Tell us about a quilting class you took. It could be an online class too.
Mar 16: Quilt Guild or Group : Tell us about a quilt guild or a group that you are a member of. Again, it could be an online group too!
Mar 23: First Quilt : Tell us about your experience when you made your first quilt!
Mar 30: Making a Quilt for someone you love : Tell us the story of a quilt you made for someone you love. How you made it? Why did you make it? How did you feel?

April is when we will be teaching and learning from each other. Tutorials will be the theme for this month. You could write tutorials this month or write about your favorite tutorials from someone else's blog and include a link to it.

Apr 06: Tutorial - Item : Write a tutorial for a small item. A mini quilt, mug rug, bag, pouch absolutely anything that you want to. Or share a quilting tutorial written by someone else that you love.
Apr 13: Tutorial - FMQ Design : Write a tutorial for your favorite FMQ design. Or share one that you love.
Apr 20: Photography Tips : Tell us about your photography tips.
Apr 27: Tutorial - Technique : Tell us about the technique that you love. It could be anything - binding, piecing, applique absolutely anything!

May is the month when we have school holidays here in India. So this month will be about vacations. It might have some posts that will be more in general.

May 04: Favorite Holiday Destination : Tell us about your favorite holiday destination. How was your trip? Who did you go with? What did you do?
May 11: Trip Essentials : Every trip needs different stuff. But I'm sure there are some things you just HAVE to carry with you for every trip. What are those?
May 18: Carry with you - quilting : Is there any quilting stuff that you carry along with you? If yes, what is it? And do you really work on it when you're there? If not, why not?
May 25: Dream Vacation : What is your dream vacation? Who will you go with? What do you plan to do?

June will be the month we will focus on fabrics!

Jun 01: Favorite Fabric Line : Tell us about your favorite fabric line. Who designed it? Why do you love it?
Jun 08: Favorite Fabric - Neutral or Solid : Tell us about your go-to neutral or solid fabric. Why do you choose it every time? How much do you buy each time? Where do you buy it from?
Jun 15: Favorite Fabric - Backing : Which is the fabric that you usually use for backing your quilts? If you use a different one each time, how do you choose the backing fabric? Do you piece your backs or use a single fabric?
Jun 22: Favorite Fabric - Designer : Who is your favorite fabric designer? Why? Which design of his/her is your favorite?
Jun 29: Favorite Fabric - Material: We all use cotton fabrics for quilting. Have you used any other fabric? How was it? Did you like it? Why? didn't you like it? Why?

July is all about notions.

Jul 06: Cutting Tools : Tell us about the cutting tools that you have and love to use. How does that help you make your work better? Is there anything you'd like to change about them? Is there anything you wished you had?
Jul 13: Templates and Rulers : Do you use any quilting templates or special rulers? Do you love them? Is there a template or ruler you wished they had made?
Jul 20: Marking tools : What are the marking tools that you use to mark the fabric? Temporary and permanent. Are there any tools you's like to have?
Jul 27: Other Notions : Are there any other notions that you use and love? Are there any you hate? Tell us about them.

August is all bout threads!

Aug 03: Thread - Brand : Which is your favorite brand of thread? Have you used other brands? Why is it your favorite? Where do you buy it from?
 Aug 10: Thread - Color : Which is your favorite thread color? How often do you use it? How much of it do you have right now?
Aug 17: Thread - Weight : What weight thread do you use for piecing? For quilting? Have you used threads of different weights? How was your experience? Any recommendations?
Aug 24 : Thread - Type : What type of thread have you used? Want to use? Monofil, Polyester, Metallic? Any tips on using that thread?
Aug 31: Thread - Storage : How do you store your thread? Bobbins? Any tips on thread & bobbin storage?

In September, we will be talking about sewing machines.

Sep 07: Sewing Machine - Yours : What sewing machine (s) do you currently have? Which is your favorite?
Sep 14: Dream Sewing Machine : Which is your dream sewing machine? What do you love about it? How much does it cost? When do you plan to buy it? Have you seen / used it? How did you feel?
Sep 21: Sewing Machine Names : Does your sewing machine(s) has a name? Why did you choose that name?
Sep 28: Sewing Machine Maintenance : How often do you clean / service your sewing machine? Have you had any problems with it? How did you solve them? Any tips about maintaining your sewing machine in excellent condition?

October is a month when we talk about storage.

Oct 05: Storage - Fabric : How do you store your fabric? How do you wish you stored your fabric?
Oct 12: Storage - Notions : How do you store all your notions? Any tips on storing notions?
Oct 19: Storage - Patterns : How do you store your quilt patterns? How do you save your online PDF patterns and eBooks so that you can find the one that you want when you want it.
Oct 26: Storage - Finished Goods or Quilts: How do you store all the lovely quilts that you have made? Any tips to store them so that they are always in excellent condition?

Holidays are fast approaching and it is time for making those lovely gifts! So the theme of November will be handmade gifts.

Nov 02: Wishlist! : Let us start with you! What would you like to receive this holiday season? Feel free to share your wishlist so that your family and friends know what to buy for you!
Nov 09: Gifts for Boys: What would you recommend making for the men in your life? Little boys or bigger boys both.
Nov 16: Gifts for Girls: What would you recommend making for the women in your lives? Little women or the elder ones.
Nov 23: Gifts for Pets: Do you have a pet who is a family member? What would you make for him/her?
Nov 30: Little Gifts : Share your tutorials or gift ideas for little gifts that can make great stocking stuffers.

December will mark a near-end to our blogging journey together. It is time to look back at how far we have come.

Dec 07: Review resolutions : Go back to your first post of the year and see how many of the new year resolutions you have achieved. how far have you come? How do you feel?
Dec 14: Blog journey : You have been blogging fairly regularly for the entire year now, ahs that impacted your blog? How? Has that impacted you? How?
Dec 21: Dream Sewing Space: Remember your dream sewing space? Go back to that post, and see how close are you to your dream? What have you done? What do you have to do?
Dec 28: Way forward : Now that you have done an year of regular blogging, do you want to do that again next year? Any suggestions for the prompts?

Will you be joining me on my journey next year? Do leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A book release and BERNINA ambassador!

This  week has been totally awesome!

The highlight of the week is something I have been working on for almost 6 months now!

My first ebook!!!


I'm nervous, excited, anxious, happy, scared, delighted, and utterly terrified ALL AT THE SAME TIME! I never would have thought you could be all those things together!

So here's presenting to you, my first ebook

ABOUT face : Portrait quilts using reverse applique technique!

 Alex Veronelli of Aurifil generously agreed to be the subject for the book! I loved making his portrait! I'm calling it Mr. Aurifil!

The quilt itself is @36" x 36"

I have used Aurifil monofilament thread, both white & smoke to put together the quilt top and Aurifil #50 and #40 threads in assorted shades of Grey to quilt it. I have used 5 shades of fabrics from Kona cottons and Ross (my Bernina 710) had absolutely no trouble sewing through all the layers!

 Writing an ebook was a super experience! I have no idea how people are going to receive the book! But I'm doing it for me! It will make me happy! 

I am really proud of my work, as well as the fact that I came up with this technique by myself. Making portraits using applique is a pretty common but highly time consuming method. I wanted something that is quicker! And this book will teach you how to make Portrait quilts, quickly! Want to know how quickly?

Well, Dada Ajoba's portrait took me 3 months with about 3-4 hours of work everyday (do the math). But Steve Jobs took me a week with about 1-2 hours every day (@10-14 hours). Alex took me 3 weeks with about 5-6 hours every WEEK! (@15-18 hours)

Go buy the book in my Etsy shop here! Or click the "My Etsy Shop" button on the bar above!

Quilt Stats
Name : Mr Aurifil
Size : 36" x 36"
Material : Fabric - Kona cotton - PDF Bleach White,Silver, Ash, Steel and Jet Black.
Backing fabric - Block Printed Indian Cotton from stash
Thread - Aurifil monofilament Clear & Smoke
Aurifil 50 & 40 weight White, Dove, Grey, Very Dark Grey and Black 
Technique : Reverse Applique
Experience : Ranging from utter helplessness to ecstasy!!! Making the quilt was totally awesome, writing the book was, at times, terrifying!

And now coming to the second part of why this week is awesome!

I have been chosen as a BERNINA Ambassador! It is a HUGE honor! I have always loved Bernina and right from the first machine that I bought, I have been amazed by not just the quality of the machines, but also by the excellent service provided by Bernina India - specifically Mr. Ajay Gupta.

Be it my Bernette e56 (the lowest machine on the price ladder) or my 710 (somewhere near the top), they have been equally attentive and have always advised me generously. I still remember my call to Mr. Gupta when I was looking to buy a new machine. I told him my budget and then asked his advice about which machine I should buy, and he told me not just the features and limitations of the Bernette e56 that I ended up buying, but also of the machines of the other brands within that price range. Every trip to Mumbai, now, includes a heart to heart conversation with him where he guides me like an elder brother would guide his sister. He has been supporting and encouraging me right since when I was a novice! He believed in me even when my own belief was breaking down into pieces. 

And now, to be made a BERNINA Ambassador!!! Wow! You will find me blogging on the official BERNINA international blog very soon. I am actually working on my first project to be put up there, right now!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

20 Random things about me!!!

Hello all!!!

This has been a long due post! For the past few days, I have been having a lot of new traffic to my blog. So I thought this would be a great time to tell you guys something about me! So here are 20 random things about me!

1. Thats me!!! And my favorite sewing machine Ross - my Bernina 710!!! I took a major financial decision and brought Ross home in May this year. It was the best decision I have ever taken!!!

2. I dont like muddy colors. I have tried to use them in my quilts, but I just end up feeling low!!!

3. I'm an architect by profession! I spent 5 years of my life studying architecture and then 5 years practicing it before I found my calling!!!

4. I have been quilting for 5 years only. I took up quilting as a means to occupy myself on a sabbatical following a bout of Chikungunya. I fell in love with it, and haven't looked back since! Nothing can take me back to my job now! I am, and always want to be, a full time quilter!

5. I am afraid scared terrified of swimming! I dont say water, because I went SCUBA diving 2 years back and loved it! I tried to learn to swim, but when the time came to swim without any aid, I fell sick!!!

6. When I took up quilting, I started out with modern quilts. That was because it was easier, required less precision (or that's what I thought) and had a lot of online presence! I fell in love with it gradually - modern quilting! I feel like it is an empty canvas that I can fill with my creativity.

7. I cannot cook! When it comes to cooking I have two left hands!!! I wont starve myself and the family in case of emergencies, but I'd rather do ANYTHING else than cook!!! I hate it. Fortunately I do not have to! I have a cook who makes the basic chapati & rice and my MIL lives on the lower floor of the same house and she makes the veggies and dal!!! My husband has started experimenting with cooking on Sundays (the only day he has a holiday) and he makes the most savory dishes to fill me up every Sunday!

8. I use a scooter - A Suzuki Access - a 125 cc bike, to do my errands! I prefer that to the family car. It makes driving through the insane traffic and narrow roads here much easier! Not to add the ease of parking!!!

9. I have been trying to loose weight from as early as I can remember! I just took up a gym membership and i'm working out 5 days a week now! The weight is coming off, but super-slow! I want to be the weight I was when I got married by February.

10. I will be visiting USA for QuiltCon 2015!!! I am so thrilled to do that! It has been my dream since the last Quiltcon! I have been saving up for 2 years for it! I even had to sell my favorite quilt - Apsara Aali for it!

11. I am 35. I am married to Rohit, a wonderful husband - who is my anchor and keeps my feet firmly on the g round all the time! I have a 7 year old son, Aadi! He's quite a handful and loves to play on my sewing machine! He is scared of Ross though, so he plays with Emily - my Bernina 330 (she's named after my quilting BFF Emily from Mommys Naptime)

12. I dont have a favorite color! I love colors and picking one as my favorite does not seem fair to the other fabulous ones! I go through phases of liking 'combinations' though. I loved Grey-White-Yellow, then I went through a phase of loving Red-black-White and then Grey-White- Orange! My wardrobe is full of stuff in Turquoise blue! Most of my sarees are that color too! (though I do not wear them often, I do have a load of them, not to mention that since no 'fitting' is involved, I can always wear my Mom's or my MIL's)

13. I love getting up early. I get up an hour early than I need to be so that I can get some 'me' time!

14. I grew up in a joint family. My father and his brother lived together till recently and I was the only girl in the household with 3 boys! And I was also the eldest of the lot! All our other cousins came over for Summer holidays and we always had a blast with about 10 kids at the house - 8 boys and 2 girls!!!

15. I have an awesome quilting studio! my studio has transitioned from a corner of my living-dining area to a small room which was a part of my master suite to a dedicated sewing room to now a cottage in the backyard converted into a sewing studio!!!

16. I have the most awesome in-laws in the world! My FIL & MIL are my staunch supporters. Without them, I would not have been able to pursue my passion! They take care of my son while I'm out and they also motivate me!!!

17. I was the founder president of the India Modern Quilt Guild. It now is the India Quilt Guild after the membership was regularized!

18. Mr. Ajay Gupta owner of Bernina India has been my biggest support! He believed in my, when even I did not! He has given me my biggest opportunity - to teach! He also is a huge motivator when it comes to scaling new heights in quilting! Every time I visit Bernina India, we spend a lot of time talking about what I can do to improve myself!!!

19. I love ice-cream. Mango is my favorite flavour! And I hate chocolates!!! My favorite spicy food is pani-puri and Maggi!!!

20. My favorite holiday destination is Goa!!! And fortunately, it is also Rohit & Aadi's favorite! We go there at least once every year! Even on the day that this post will be published, I will be at the beach relaxing!!!

I am happy to have all you new visitors on my blog. Please leave a comment so that I know you were here!!!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival - ROYGBIV Quilts

Hi all!

All those who have come from Amy's blog and are meeting me for the first time, I'm Shruti and I am a quilter from India!!!

I fell in love with quilting 5 years back and have not looked back ever since!

My Entry to this category is not an actually colored quilt, but a quilt that depicts colors in a tactile manner!!!

The inspiration came from a book I was reading "Sisters" by Danielle Steele.
In that book one of the four sisters, a painter, looses her sight in an accident. The other 3 sisters decide to stay together in a single house to help her get back on her feet.

The part when the girl realizes that she cannot see any more prompted me to think what would an artist do without sight! It would be disastrous!

Even for us quilters, colors play a very important role. What would a quilt be without colors? And I mean ALL of it - the value, shade, etc. Not just one aspect of it.

Then I began thinking of what would colors mean to someone who has never 'seen'? How would a blind-at-birth person see them? How would they feel them?

That is when I decided to make a tactile quilt.

This quilt is what colors 'look' like to those who have never seen them.

The dots you see on the quilt are the names of colors written in Braille. From top to bottom : Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet!

Can I tell you a secret? I forgot Indigo and realized it only when I finished quilting it.

I quilted it with almost straight lines using the BSR on Ross - My Bernina 710. I used Aurifil 50 wt White thread for 99% of the quilting, which is super dense (< 1/8th inch apart). I also quilted just 3 lines in each row with the colour I have written so that you can see which one is which!!!

Making this quilt was a wonderful process. It is a quilt that also prompted me to donate my eyes! I filled an online form with the EBAI (Eye Bank Association of India) and am awaiting my acceptance email!

I have put in more thoughts in the design of this quilt than any other that I have made. But in the end I'm very happy with my work!!!

Quilt Stats
Name : The White Rainbow
Size : 36" x 50"
Material used :
Fabric :White Bella Solid, a little bit of the rainbow fabric by Anne Kelly for the binding.
Thread : Aurifil 50 wt - white for most of the quilting. Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue and Violet for some.
Batting : Pellon Fusible Fleece for the dots and Cotton batting overall!
Technique : Trapunto
Experience : Heartwarming!

Do you like my white rainbow?

Go check out the other quilts in this category and nominate your favorite ones to win the Viewers Choice award!!! Just click on the link below to go to Amy's site!!!

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Modern quilt

Hi all!
All those who have come from Amy's blog and are meeting me for the first time, I'm Shruti and I am a quilter from India!!!

I fell in love with quilting 5 years back and have not looked back ever since!

Here's my entry for the "Modern" Category!

My Sassy Modern Quilt! What else!!!

This quilt is dedicated to all those who say Batiks cannot be used in modern quilts!!!
Now let them deny that this is a modern quilt!!!

Quilt Stats
Name : Sassy Batiks
Size : 50" x 57"
Material used : Fabric : Black Solid - local find, Batiks from The Square Inch
Thread : Aurifil Black 50 wt 
Pieced and quilted on Ross - my Bernina 710
Experience - "kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck, fantastic." (those who are not aware, its a quote by Rachel in Friends Season 2 - Episode 1)

Go check out the other quilts in this category and nominate your favorite ones to win the Viewers Choice award!!! Just click on the link below to go to Amy's site!!!