Magic Triangles

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My whole family comes out for a photo session. My husband Srini and younger son Vedul patiently holding while my older son Anshul is behind the camera.

This is my first entry for the Blogger’s quilt festival hosted every year by Amy Ellis of http://www.amyscreativeside.com.

My dad turned 80 last year and what does a quilter give to someone who has been a huge part of her life? A quilt, of course. My dad is a true engineer who sees beauty in the laws of physics, and who sees engineering as a way of life. He has always challenged me to learn and understand the world around me. I grew up with questions like how does this toy work, or how can we fix this leaky hose, or let’s build a light for your bicycle. At work he designed test beds for aircraft engines, and at home he rebuilt and fixed an old antique car. My sister and I were his (often unwilling) assistants. We learned quickly to never mix up metric and British units, and to look at a nut/bolt and estimate what size wrench to use. It does come in handy – I can easily tell if my seam allowance is anything but a 1/4 inch 🙂

For his birthday, I felt compelled to try something new and to learn something new, which in turn changed the rest of my quilting journey. This is my very first quilt on my mid-arm machine (Block RockiT 15 from kathyquilts.com). The best thing about making a quilt for my dad is that I know he will love it no matter how good or bad it turns out. He loves it because I made it.

IMG_1036I started with a pattern I picked up at the quilt festival last year, called Mezzanine, by Ruth Ann Berry from quiltersclinic.com. I changed the sizes and layout to make it bigger. The “3D” triangles are called Penrose triangles, arguably the best known impossible figure. Impossible figures are optical illusions – 2D drawings that the brain interprets as 3D but on further study, you realize such a 3D object is physically impossible. The mathematician Roger Penrose as well as the artist M. C. Escher made these intriguing concept  popular.

I gathered a number of light, medium, dark fabric from my stash and auditioned them against a grey background. The best method to audition values is to take a picture and view it in black & white. I quilted some airplanes and clouds on the top and some interlocking gears near the bottom. I also quilted every motif I knew. The ruler work was not perfect – chipped off a corner of the rulers and broke a couple of needles (very scary!), the spirals are a bit flat but over all it is not bad for a first FMQ quilt. My dad and mom say they discover new hidden figures everyday.

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Fabric: Various light, medium, dark from my stash.
Background: Kona coal (and probably something else – I noticed the slightly different shades of grey only when taking the pictures)

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Linking Blogger’s quilt festival and all the usual linky parties.
Main Crush Monday

Midweek Makers
Let’s Bee Social
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF
Finish it up @ Crazy Mom Quilts
Finished or not Friday
Friday Fotofun @ PoweredByQuilting

Upcycle – Throwback Thursday & September goals

IMG_2910I’m so happy to write a blog for Throwback Thursday.  Sandra Walker from mmm! quilts hosts one on the first Thursday of every month. I have so many quilts from my pre-blogging days, I should have enough material for years!

I found a pile of shirts that my husband, Srini, didn’t use any more. The collars and cuffs had worn out, so we could not donate it. The rest of the shirt looked perfectly fine. Most of them are dress shirts made of fine Egyptian cotton and I couldn’t bear to throw them away. Following this Bonnie Hunter’s Deboning a shirt video, I ripped out a whole lot of usable fabric from each shirt. As you can see, I had a huge pile of blue pinstripes, about 15 shades of white, a few grays and not much else. I had just bought a 60 degree ruler – so I cut up a few of them into large equilateral triangles. After playing with different layouts I came up with this simple design. I also used a red bandanna fabric from my stash to add interest. No, Srini does not own a red shirt of any kind.

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IMG_2966IMG_2967This is a special quilt for me, being made of Srini’s shirts but also special is the free-motion quilting. This is the very first quilt where I’ve tried FMQ beyond stippling. It took me 13 years of making quilts to work up the courage to try free motion quilting. My first advice to anyone out there too intimidated to start free motion is – just do it! After watching videos by Leah Day, Angela Walters and a few others, and doodling on every writing surface I could find, and quilting a few small practice sandwiches, I was ready to jump into the real thing. There were a few hiccups – thread breaking or bunching up, needle breaks, etc., but not much.

Here’s how I spray basted the quilt using a 1″x 4″ board. Layout the batting on a table. Roll the backing over the board. Unroll the backing a few inches at a time and spray baste. Turn the sandwich over and repeat with the quilt top. It worked very well but not really my favorite part of quilting. I’m happy to have my long-arm and frame.

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I quilted a different design on each “shirt”. The light blues (there were 3 shirts in slightly different shades of blue) have paisley feathers. The dark blue has point-to-point (using a walking foot) and some pebbles. The dark grey has point to point and wishbones. The light grey has some wavy lines. This whites – there were 4 identical shirts – have the craziest designs – some paisleys, some spheres joined together by wavy lines. Along the inside edge, I used a glow-in-the-dark thread that shows up slightly yellow in the picture – most of the spheres are glow-in-the-dark. It’s so much fun to see the designs in the middle of the night. I got this thread years ago and used in in some baby quilts. It is a lot nicer to use with FMQ that with walking foot quilting.

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This was quilted on a Brother PQ1500sl, a domestic sewing machine. It’s a huge quilt (about 64″ x 92″) but I quilted it in two halves and then attached the halves.

The batting is warm & natural 100% cotton. It makes a nice spring/fall quilt for Houston.

I’m piggybacking the One Monthly Goal onto this post. My OMG for September is to quilt and finish this cute pixel star baby quilt I made a couple of months ago.IMG_1025

Linking:
Throwback Thursday at mmm! quilts
OMG at Elmstreet quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF
Finish it up @ Crazy Mom Quilts
Finished or not Friday
Friday Fotofun @ PoweredByQuilting
Main Crush Monday
Midweek Makers
Let’s Bee Social
Free motion by the river
Needle and Thread Thursday

Serendipity – a quilt for Sid

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August has been a very busy month at work and otherwise with not much time for quilting or blogging. I managed to finish quilting and binding this to meet my One Monthly Goal for August.

I made this quilt for Sid, who graduated from high school this summer and started a vocational training program. Sid’s mom, Rekha, has been one of my best friends since we were both 10 years old. Sid’s  favorite color is black. I collected a bunch of black, white and grey fabric from my stash and a few yards of Kona black and set out to find a quick and easy pattern.

I picked a pattern from Thomas Knauer’s book called Modern Quilt Perspectives. I bought this book after seeing a wonderful, moving and thought-provoking exhibition of his work at the 2017 International Quilt festival in Houston. He calls this pattern Split Personality, referring to the different styles  on the two halves of the quilt – the traditional patchwork on one side and the modern minimalist negative space on the other. The point of this design is to show that opposing ideas can thrive side-by-side in harmony.

I had to modify the pattern a little to fit the size I wanted to make. The pattern was easy but certainly not quick – it took tremendous effort to keep track of the pieces and the blocks.

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I quilted free motion swirls and some feathers and whatever I felt like in the black, negative space. I kept the quilting quite sparse to keep the quilt soft and cozy. On the patchwork area, I quilted in the ditch around every block and loose wavy lines in the white background area.

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The back of the quilt is as special as the front. I used a solid grey (Kona coal) and leftover scraps from the front. One of Sid’s favorite people is my husband, Srini. The off-white background here is from one of Srini’s shirts. One long sleeve shirt minus the frayed collar and cuffs yields an unbelievable amount of fabric.

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Pattern: Split Personality by Thomas Knauer
Fabric: Assorted black &white and grey, Kona White, Kona Black
Batting: Hobb’s heirloom 80/20
Thread for quilting: Isacord charcoal, Isacord white.

Linking to all my favorite linky parties.

OMG at Elmstreet quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF
Finished or not Friday
Main Crush Monday
Midweek Makers
Let’s Bee Social
Free motion by the river
Needle and Thread Thursday

Throwback Thursday, One monthly goal, +QAL

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My (late) Throwback Thursday project is this Tangerine cool aid quilt from years past. I had collected several fat quarters of turquoise and orange fabric for a few years. My husband had picked up a few on a business trip to Ohio (first quilty gift).

I started piecing this in 2012 when Jeni from In Color Order  had a HST BOM. I made most of the blocks at that time. About a year later, I made a few more and came up with a layout with lots of negative space. I wanted to practice some nice negative space quilting but that never happened. In 2016, I sent it out to a long-arm quilter.

IMG_2673I gifted this to my great-aunt, Pushpa, for her 80th birthday. She is the consummate artist in our family – very creative and resourceful in making arts and crafts with whatever she can find. I know she treasures and uses this quilt everyday. This was quilted with an edge to edge design by Geeta Mehta of Fabulous Quilting.

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My one monthly goal for August is to quilt and finish this black & white & red quilt top.  The pattern is split personality from the book Modern Quilt Perspectives: 12 Patterns for Meaningful Quilts by Thomas Knauer. This is also a gift for someone. More about the quilt with my finish post. This was another completely “unplanned” projects. I was looking through my quilt books for a quick project/idea and this took hold of me. It was not quick 🙂

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Finally, here are my fabric choices for the Modern Plus QAL by Cheryl and Paige. Green outer background, light grey inner background, the mottled hot pink for the large plus and bits of other pinks for everything else. I may add a splash of turquoise or orange if I feel it need some variety. All fabric from my stash.

Linking:
Throwback Thursday at mmmquilts
OMG at Elmstreet quilts
Main Crush Monday
Let’s Bee Social
Free motion by the river
Midweek Makers
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I get a whoop whoop
TGIFF
Finished or not Friday