Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pensive


We had the first Quilt Competition in India recently.

I was not sure I would be able to participate. But started working on my quilt nevertheless. It was a lot of work and I had almost given up! But I am glad that I stuck through, Since i won an Opal 650 in the competition for securing the fourth place! I promptly upgraded to an Opal 670! Could not resist having a machine that automatically adjusts tension!!!



But first here's what I made to enter into the quilt.

The theme of the competition was "Tell a story" and we were urged to be as Indian as possible.

Here's my story and my quilt!

My Story : I was overjoyed to have the opportunity of participating in the first of India's very own Quilt Competition.

I have been quilting for almost 5 years now. Being a self taught quilter, and due to the non-availability of proper training here in Sangli, I gravitated towards do-able quilts - Modern quilts. I love colour and most of my quilts are bright, colourful and strikingly modern. For this competition I wanted to attempt something that I had never done before. That's when I got out my bucket list.

My bucket list - the ever growing list of quilts I want to attempt some day - includes quilts like Wedding Ring, New York Beauty, Cathedral window and many more traditional quilts. It also had one item that I kept on going back to again and again - A white on white Trapunto Quilt.
Pensieve is my take on the traditional Trapunto. I am more comfortable using the sewing machine, and hence I decided to make it on my sewing machine ONLY.
 It was a long, tiring yet rewarding process that started with the design itself. The inspiration came from a Mandala colouring page. I had a few of them from my pre-quilting days when I used to be an Architect. I remember I had referred to them for inspiration for flooring design. I combined 3 designs - my favorite of the lot - to make this one. I did the initial designing on AutoCAD - the designing software I'm most comfortable with. Then I got it printed to actual size.
After that began the slow process of precisely tracing out the pattern on my top fabric - Kona Snow. I used a Pilot Frixion pen for it. I basted the top fabric with a thin batting, and stitched along the design lines using a water soluble thread.

Once ALL of the design was stitched, I started cutting away the batting from places where the quilt would have dense quilting. Again, it was a slow, tiring and this time - painful - process. My fingers were sore forever from all the cutting, using the thin manicure scissors.


Glad to be done with the cutting, I then basted the top once again, this time using a high loft cotton batting and once again a Kona Snow backing. After this I spent more than 50 hours doing the super-dense quilting. I used 5 and a half spools of 500 m thread in the top and an equal number in the bobbin! And at last after a lot of work, which I am sure will be considered as aerobic activity, the quilting was done.


I was so happy it was done, only to realize that the quilt was so stubbornly uneven that IT JUST WONT LAY FLAT! Time to block the quilt!


I got my pin up board down from my living room wall and soaked the quilt - I had to soak it anyway, white on white quilts become dusty white on dusty white with all the handling - and tugged and pulled and stretched and pinned till the poor thing was forced to lay completely flat! I then dried it in the sun, that's about the only time I was happy that it was summer - since the deadline was looming at a few hours!


As soon as it was dry - I bound it using the same Kona Snow and it was ready for the photo session!



I named it Pensieve. For all those who are not familiar with the Harry Potter vocabulary, a Pensieve is a stone basin used to store and review memories. Covered in mystic runes, it contains memories whose physical form is neither gas nor liquid. A witch or wizard can extract their own or another's memories, store them in the Pensieve, and review them later. It also relieves the mind when it becomes cluttered with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within, much like a magical form of virtual reality.

 The time I spent quilting this quilt is a time I will never forget. It gave me a lot of time to think about myself and where I am heading in my life. As I took every stitch, I sorted through the memories that came back to me from my childhood, my college days, early days of courting and the last 9 years of my marriage. I reviewed where I stood on my Career front, I wondered about the future of my 7 year old son, and i dreamt of growing old with my wonderful husband! It took me on a awesome trip through time and I enjoyed every moment of it. The grrrrr of my machine as I worked on it provided just the white noise I needed to filter off unwanted sounds! I sat at my table near the window watching little birds flit about on the trees in my garden, I watched cats chasing squirrels, I watched my son ride his bicycle, I watched my family come and leave the house. All these memories will always come back to me when I will look at the quilt!


Quilt stats
Name of the Quilt : Pensieve
Size : 36" x 36"
Fabric Used : Kona Snow
Thread : Calypso Off White - #0000261
Technique Used : Trapunto

And I won the fourth place in the competition. Here's what I got!!! I cannot wait for the lessons to use this one on Wednesday and Thursday this week.


I am impatient to get started!~!!

What have you all been up to?

6 comments:

  1. WOW! Even THAT word does not explain what I want to convey!!! It's gorgeous, Shruti! I don't know what quilts won first, second, and third, but yours is FIRST PLACE in my book! Congratulations! I love your story of how you painstakingly made the quilt - fabulous! I almost felt like I was there in your house as you quilted it :-)

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  2. Congrats! Looks like a great deal of effort you deserve it . - Diya TheHobbyHarbor

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  3. Congratulations on such a momentous achievement. Your piece is amazing. I can't imagine what the other pieces look like.

    Enjoy many years of enjoyment with your prize!

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  4. Like Jodi said this would rate as the best in the competition for me! Amazing work Shruti! Can you tell me whether your dense quilting was just random stitching or did it have a pattern to it?

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  5. That is amazing, Shruti! I've been watching your blog for a while and I love your work, but this quilt is absolutely beautiful - and if this is only 4th place, I really want to see what they judged ahead of you!

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