Kolam (in Tamil) and Rangoli (in Hindi, Kannada) is an Indian art form in which patterns are created on the floor using rice flour, chalk or chalk powder, colored powders, flower petals or rice paste. Kolams are drawn in front of the house, in the courtyard, in living rooms, prayer rooms, in the kitchen next to the stove, along doorways, everywhere. There are hundreds of traditional designs, and everyone and their neighbor is constantly coming with new variations. Kolam was part of my upbringing. We made simple, quick ones every morning outside the front door and made ridiculously complicated ones for occasions like Deepavali (festival of lights) or Navaratri. Google kolam for a million hits and a million designs. Also try rangoli for slightly different designs. Also try pulli kolam for dot-based designs.
Now back to quilting. I made a Celtic quilt (the green and yellow) a long time ago and my mother said it looked like Hrudaya Kamalam – a very special Kolam for Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Hrudaya Kamalam translates to lotus of the heart. Hrudaya kamalam is a sacred design, usually drawn in a place of worship – at the temple or in the prayer room at home. People do not step on this kolam while it is generally OK to walk over other kolams.
Here’s a short lesson on drawing the Hrudaya Kamalam. It starts with a pattern of 8 lines radiating around a point. Each line has 5 dots spaced equally – the dots are numbered 1 to 5 starting from the innermost, going outward. This kolam is a continuous design drawn as a single line joining the dots in the following repeating pattern – 1-3-5-2-4 – until all dots are covered. As you can see in the picture, after a few cycles, it looks like overlapping petals of a lotus. The petals can be rounded as in my quilt or pointy.
This quilt came about in another special way. It was September 2008 and hurricane Ike made landfall near Houston. In the aftermath of the hurricane, we lost power for a couple of days. We had nothing to do – no TV, no internet and no cooking either (we had an electric stove). My in-laws were visiting us and helped me pick out the fabric, and helped me draw the pattern on the background. I finished the quilt a few weeks later and gifted it to my in-laws as a token to remember their Houston visit and hurricane Ike. It’s about 48″ X 48″ and has sleeves in the back for hanging.
Linking to Throwback Thursday at mmm! quilts where you show and tell a quilt from long ago…
Yvonne Fuchs from Quilting Jetgirl hosted a quilt along called Wayward transparency. Thank you, Yvonne, for this awesome pattern.
I picked up some silk fabric on my recent India trip and decided to use them for this quilt. The colors are not exactly light-medium-dark of the same color but they seem to work well together and give a transparency effect.
This is not my first time working with silk, so I knew this is not going to be easy. I used a lightweight interfacing (Heat’n Bond Non-Woven Lightweight Fusible Interfacing) to back the silk. With the interfacing, it has almost the same weight as quilting cotton. It was easy to cut and sew for the most part. However, with right sides together, the silk is more slippery and does not “stick” together as cotton does. I had to pin a lot during piecing as well as for matching seams. Also, I had to remember to turn down the heat on the iron – use the silk setting or slightly warmer. I scorched a couple of HSTs initially but fortunately, I had enough fabric to make up for them. I love how this turned out.
The silk has directional color – the warp and weft threads are slightly different shades. This is quite common in Indian silks, especially saris. This is particularly apparent in the dark background fabric. Sometimes it looks like dark coffee brown (indoors) and sometimes dark cherry-purple (outdoors). I did not take this into account in the piecing. I’m amazed how different it looks from different angles. I’m not quilting this yet. Waiting on getting better with my skills on my new mid-arm quilting machine.
Linking up One monthly goal finished, Wayward transparency, Let’s Bee Social and Finish it up Friday at Crazy mom quilts.
One weekend in the middle of another long and time-consuming project, I had this sudden urge to make hexagons. I had this pattern in my head using 2.5″ strips and 4.5″ strips that I wanted to try right away. I went through my stash and picked out several pink or almost-pink fabric that worked well together. After auditioning many backgrounds – white, off-white, a light grey, medium grey and black – I decided the medium grey worked best with the bright pinks. I cut up 2.5″ strips from most of the pinks and 4.5″ from the grey and some of the pink fabric. The top went together really fast.
This is only the second real quilt on my new mid-arm quilting machine. My control has gotten so much better. I quilted figure-8s of varying sizes in the grey areas. For most of the hexagons, I quilted loops along the outer channel and a point-to-point curved lines in the inner hexagon. As I got bored with that design, I tried some swirls, some meandering lines or a daisy fill. This still is not quite finished – needs a label and binding. I will come back and add a final pic whenever that’s done!
First time linking up: Finish it up Friday and
Yvonne Fuchs from Quilting Jetgirl hosted a quilt along called Wayward transparency. It’s a simple and lovely pattern, and with the right color values, yields a nice transparency effect. I picked up some silk fabric on my recent India trip and I’m going to use them for a wall hanging.
This is my One Monthly goal for Jan 2018. One Monthly Goal is hosted by elmstreetquilts.
The name for my blog – Storied Quilts – was partly inspired by this quilt and the process of designing it. Every quilt has a story but this quilt came about to tell a story.
The story begins about 6 to 8 years ago. My aunt was volunteering at a charity store in Michigan when a family brought a huge collection of fabric to the store after a loved one, a quilter, passed away suddenly. My aunt and others at the store sorted though the numerous boxes, measured each piece and priced them for sale. My aunt picked a few that remained unsold after a few months and brought it home. When I visited her in the summer of 2013, I brought home two large suitcases of fabric of all kinds and all sizes. A quilter’s dream!
Most of the fabric were florals from the nineties and before. I couldn’t help wonder about the quilter who lovingly collected these pieces. They were fabric cuts of various sizes. Some had parts cut up for an applique. Some were cut into strips and stuffed into a ziploc. I wanted to try and make something she might’ve made but the fabrics were not something I’d buy and florals were simply not my thing at the time.
I posted this pic on my online quilting forum and asked for suggestions. Every suggestion I received would have made a lovely quilt. One of the suggestions was Dresden plate, a very traditional quilt block. It got me thinking and I experimented with Dresden plate blocks in different configurations, using the florals as well as mixing them up with some batiks, solids and some modern prints.
I then experimented with different layouts. Some made the cut and some didn’t. I picked blocks in shades of blue, purple and pink and they seem to go together very well. Eliminated the browns, yellows and greens. I’m so happy how this turned out. It has a very modern flavor with the white background and the random, irregular placement while most of the fabric and the block itself are quite traditional. Not surprisingly, I gifted this quilt to my aunt, Jaya, who hoarded all that fabric form me.
Background: Kona cotton White
Blocks: Various florals, batik
Size: 72″ X 84″
Beautifully quilted by Geeta Mehta of Fabulous Quilting, Katy TX.