Citrus Plus

IMG_0943_editedWhen Sandra of mmmquilts announced a quilt-along for her Plus+ Playtime quilt, I knew I had to quilt along. It is such a fun, clever pattern of a string of pluses on one shadow plus, and looked simple enough to squeeze in between my other work-in-progress projects. Besides, Sandra is a lovely person – the best of quilt blog-land, and she has been such a great cheerleader throughout this QAL. And, she is dangling some carrots for a finish this week!img_0618.jpg

This is a small enough quilt that I could find several possibilities in my stash. I settled on a very simple combo – Kona oasis and Kona coal for the background – I had got a yard each two last year without any specific plan. They have this deep, saturated color and very attractive. I had a chunk of Blueberry Park fabric leftover after my Stalactites quilt (renamed, finished blog post to follow soon) and the Spiral Nova. The bright reds, oranges and yellows pops out over the calm and sedate oasis and coal backgrounds. I name this Citrus Plus – checkout the picture above with our orange tree in the background.

IMG_0934This quilt went so fast. I cut and pieced most of it in two or three sessions. Sandra had some neat ideas for quilting. My initial plan was to just do a simple meander in the background and some straight quilting in the pluses. I used a high loft polyester batting I had from long ago. I loaded it on my frame and the quilt seemed to have a mind of its own. By this point, I’d decided that the quilt will go on the blank wall above the fire place in our bedroom (Yes, we have a fire place in the bedroom in Texas and no, we’ve never used it :-).

Since this was going to be a wall quilt and not meant to cuddle under, I decided to do some heavy quilting – at least heavy by my standards.

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I quilted with a ruler outlining each of the pluses and about one inch inside. The background is conveniently separated by the chains of pluses. For the top area, I just went with some tight swirls and pebbles.

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For the second area I tried a chain of swirls from left to right and filled the rest of the area with more swirls and echoes. I love how this turned out.

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For the third area I tried a large feather but that didn’t go very well and ended up looking like the slush leftover from hurricane Harvey :-). Lesson learned: stick with a plan, don’t just wing it while the machine is running.

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I had run out of steam by the time I reached the bottom. I just went with a few wavy lines. Wavy lines,  I’ve found, are the best texture you can get for very little effort and skill. Given that the background and shadow plus are about the same value with not much contrast, I thought it needed a bright binding to define the boundaries. IMG_0946 (1)

Citrus Plus
54″X 54″
Fabric: Kona cotton Coal, Kona cotton Oasis, Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis (warm colors)
Batting: high loft polyester
Thread: Aurifil 2021 for piecing, Isacord Smoke and Isacord White for quilting

Linking up to Sandra’s linky party for Plus+Playtime Finishes.

Needle and Thread Thursday


Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Spiraling Lone star

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Many years ago I made this spiraling lone-star quilt. It hung over our kitchen table for a couple of years and I never took a single picture of it. Then a couple of years ago, I got to meet my college friend Poonam in New York City. Poonam had gone though some difficult times and I wanted to give her a quilt. I didn’t have time to make one for her at that time, so I decided to give her this bright quilt to cheer her up. My friend Indu took this picture in a hotel room in NYC with no natural light. It looks a lot better in person.

Digging through my old pictures from 2013, I found a few pictures I took when I was making the quilt (and not a single one after it was complete)! I’m still looking for that piece of paper in the first picture with calculations using the Pythagoras theorem. Then again, wouldn’t this be a good math assignment for my 8th grader?image (6)

All fabric from my stash – mostly batik, except the red and the fuchsia. The background is also a lovely batik with cream, tan and a bit of grey. Very simple quilting with a walking foot – this is from my pre-free motion days. I can’t even remember what I used for the backing.

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This is my Throwback Thursday blog entry. Thank you Sandra , for the encouragement. I’m officially bitten by the spiral lone-star bug and I feel an inexplicable urge to make one using a Kona cotton jelly roll I got recently. This is therefore also my One monthly goal for May – to recreate the spiral lone star.

One Monthly Goal

 

Hrudaya Kamalam: Lotus of the heart

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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.

7404038560_573e936006_oNow 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.

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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.

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Linking to Throwback Thursday at mmm! quilts where you show and tell a quilt from long ago…