Monday, May 29, 2017

Elephant Under My Needle

Growing up in India, we learned very little about world happenings.  Even after the advent of the internet, we were all about local events, local/national news and Bollywood celebrity gossip.

And now, I can hardly believe that I am the same person.
with Melanie

I heaved a massive sigh of relief following the news about the French elections' outcome.  I danced with joy after I heard the news about the release of the Chibook girls by Bokko Haram. I fell in love again with Justin Trudeau as he stood up to the American government's unreasonable demands.

Melanie taking pictures at the Ethiopian Restaurant

And earlier this month, I ate Ethiopian food with Melanie - a quilter blogger from Germany!!!

My Sew Together Bag - Gift from Melanie

Look what she brought for me - a Sew Together Bag in yummy rainbow colors.  I love it!!! There are little surprises inside like the bright zippers, a bug, and a fabric that Melanie herself designed.

Bright Zippers, Fun Fabric

The fabric is hilarious. It has literal English translations of German sayings.

and a bug!!!

Check Melanie's blog to read about the process.

May was a rollercoaster month for me with friends, travels and looming deadlines.  That is why I am particularly thrilled with my OMG finish.

Mayflower Finished!!!

This quilt is for my cousin brother and his wife.  They live in India not far from my Mom and are there for her, whenever she needs them.  They are quietly supportive and completely dependable. 
I make it a point to visit them whenever I go back to India. 

Moda Paradiso - the inspiration
Cutting fabric
I am unlikely to travel to India any time soon. Therefore this quilt will travel with my sister who visits India in June. The deadline on completion for this quilt is/was Memorial Day.  Since I just returned from my trip after successfully delivering the finished quilt to my sister, I can heave a big sigh of relief and share the story, the process and the pictures.

Finished Flimsy

This quilt uses a modified rail fence block showcasing Moda Paradiso fabrics combined with a dark blue yardage. Each block is 10" and the finished quilt is 80" by 100". 

On my bed

At this time, let’s take a side trip 
One morning, a few years ago, I was traveling to Washington DC in the Metro.  I was sitting next to a woman who was knitting a scarf. Naturally, we engaged in a conversation. She told me that wherever there is a mistake, it results in a knot like appearance on the knitted surface.  She showed me a couple. But here is where it becomes fun – she said that each knot shows that the recipient is loved. So the grandkids receiving the scarves LOOK for those knots and whoever has the most knots wins because he/she is the most loved.

Can you spot the two mistakes?

So when I discovered the two mistakes in this quilt, I chose to leave them there – one showing my love for my cousin brother and one for his wife.

Wide Backing

I chose a wide backing from ConnectingThreads.  The batting is White & Natural.

Quilted the Beast

The quilting is ...well, quilting a queen size quilt is a pain.

Quilting Detail

The plan was to quilt two straight lines an inch apart and then quilt a gentle curve between them.
At some point, the flimsy developed a mind of her own - she moved and writhed and was determined to escape from under the presser foot as I struggled to keep the elephant under control.

Ooh the play of light and shade

I could still quilt it but there was severe distortion, several tucks and infinite frustration. I left the room to check emails and then drifted off to Facebook before landing on Pinterest. Time passed.
I heard a knock. Paul was at the door.

Paul: What happened babe?
Me: What do you mean?
Paul: You left your sewing machine on?
Me: Well, I got distracted and then I got sidetracked before I took off at a tangent.

Are we there yet?

Knots to Bury

By now Paul is rolling on the floor laughing

Me: But thanks for checking. 
Paul: Don't you have a deadline.
Me: I hate this beast of a quilt.
Paul: But you must finish it.
Me: Hate it
Paul: Finish it
Me: Hate
Paul: Finish
Paul: Finish it and put it away.
Me: OK.

Mayflower - Photoshoot

This is my May OMG FINISHED!!!  Time to reward myself with some fabric :-) 

Since Connecting Threads is having a Memorial Day sale, I just might get something from there.

Of course Craftsy is having a sale too. Some classes are $10.

This one caught my eye. I guess Indian food is becoming more mainstream.

Hope you had a relaxing long weekend.
As usual, I'd love to hear from you about your distractions, side trips and finishes!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

An evening with Bonnie Hunter

Beaming with Bonnie

On Monday, I attended a lecture and trunk show by Bonnie Hunter.  To be able to fully understand my fascination for Bonnie we have to go back to Homeful.


I made Homeful in 2015 and shared the link to the blogpost on my Facebook page. That is when a magical thing happened. Bonnie Hunter saw my Homeful quilt. She loved it and shared the link on her Quiltville FB page.

But I had NO IDEA!!!

My friends on Missouri Star Quilting Forum noticed it and started a thread.

After I absorbed (somewhat) the euphoria, I sent an email to Bonnie, thanking her for the recognition, for the kind words and giving me a free advertisement.
Bonnie wrote back to me. I was an Cloud Nine.

Bonnie and me

If you are a quilter, you know Bonnie Hunter. How do I explain this phenomenon to a non-quilter?
Well, Bonnie is so famous that her calendar is fully booked for two straight years.  Folks want to book her for further out but she refuses to do so, because that would be insane. She has several patterns to her name and has written several books. She has a signature style.


It is like if I was a minor theater actor or an understudy and then I receive commendation for my acting from Meryl Streep.  You get the picture. But here is what is really important - the way she treated me speaks volumes about her.

Bonnie signed this to me!!!

So when I learned (by stalking her calendar) that she would be in Manassas (45 minutes away) for a lecture and trunk show, I made it a point to be there.

Talking Turkey

My friend Jennifer (also a Bonnie Hunter fan) was only too happy to drive with me.

Blue Skies

I walked into the room and walked up to Bonnie, as she was sitting behind the table with her books, notions etc. She looked up. I smiled and began to speak. She squealed with delight as she recognized me. Next thing we are hugging (like old friends). Bonnie recognized ME!!!!

Bonnie in action

I enjoyed every minute of her presentation. Loved each and every quilt and drooled over the scrappy goodness. She has amazing energy and such an easygoing manner.  I am so thankful to the Stone House Quilters Guild for hosting Bonnie Hunter.


I had to buy Bonnie's book - String Fling. It includes patterns for both Talking Turkey, Blue Skies and  nine others.  She was kind enough to sign it for me :-)

No, it is not too small :-)

On our drive back, while I was still giddy with excitement, Jennifer remarked - explaining the stature of Bonnie Hunter to a non-quilter is hard.  Jennifer had told her friend earlier - Think of this as attending a Lady Gaga concert.
Yes, I said, except Lady Gaga picked me out from the crowd and hugged me :-D
Hope you can forgive my self-absorption for just this one time.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Crazy Daisy May

Last month, I met my local quilty buddy Cynthia for lunch.
She had a surprise for me.

She was at a store closeout sale and bought fabric bolts for $5 each. Saved these four for me.
I was speechless.

According to Cynthia, this fabric had my name written all over it. I am such a lucky duck.

Speaking of fabric, I did buy a little something. This spaceships flannel from Connecting Threads.

Because it is so bright and cheerful and at 60% off it is such a deal. It will be perfect for a baby quilt backing.


May is going to be a Crazy Daisy month.  There is just so much happening.

Bee Blocks - in process

But first the HoneyPotBee for May block.

Blue Green

This is the best (my absolute favorite) block so far in the Honey Pot Bee.
Thanks to the tutorial from Intrepid Thread.

I made more than two. Well, actually, I made more because I made a mistake.

Blue and Yellow - one option

And then I loved how gorgeous they looked. So I made a few more.
Pinning helps

Is it acceptable to dispense advice on making these blocks? 
Well, after making a few, I chose to change a few things.

The tricky part

So, when you finish piecing the 2" strings, you get a block that is about 11" wide.
You are required to trim it to 9.5". That means cutting 3/4" on either sides. Now, this is not a big deal but that would make the end strips much too skinny in comparison with the other strips

Skinny Strips on the end - not good

So, I cut the strips at 1 and 7/8".  Also alternated sewing direction for alternate strips and ironed them in one direction after finished sewing all seven.

Not too skinny purple end strip

Used generous amounts of spray starch and ironed again, before cutting them into triangles.

Snowballing corners

Followed the remaining directions the best I could and here we have the two blocks.

The others are not truly completed in time for this blogpost.

I am saving the corner HSTs for the next scrap vortex quilt.

Other activities in May include the following:

  • I am going to attend a Bonnie Hunter lecture next week.
  • I joined Instagram. Must get more comfortable with it and follow others.
  • I will be meeting with Melanie of Melanie's Kunstraum next week, when she will be here on a visit to Washington DC.  I am so excited :-)

I am sure I am forgetting something. Oh yes, Craftsy has a sale  - all classes are under $20.
I mean all classes including knitting, dressmaking, baking and more.  Here is a picture to go with the promotion.


Here is my OMG for May.  Complete a queen size quilt and deliver it to my sister by Memorial Day so that she can take it with her when she leaves for India this month. How is that for a deadline?

Moda Paradiso

For this quilt, I finally opened the Moda Paradiso FQ Bundle.  Love the pink and turquoise. Added a dark blue background. Here is a sneak peek. I am saving the details for the FINISHED post.


This is the backing and binding.

Wide Backing and Navy Binding

Since it is my OMG for May and it has floral fabrics, I am calling this one Mayflower.
Linking with Elm Street Quilts for May OMG.

I'd love to stay and chat but you know I have a deadline (and so much to do) and I cannot dawdle. 
Please tell me how May is shaping up for you - no matter how dull or how exciting. Of course, I 'd love to hear from you and I will be there at all the linky parties.