Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Postage Stamp Basket : Quilting

In one of my previous posts I had mentioned how I started on a rather ambitious project right after a weekend class on Quilting. This is how it turned out.

A short recap.. In 2004 fall, I had taken this weekend class on Quilting to make a gift for a dear friend. In the class , the instructor taught us how to make a crib-size quilt , and the basic techniques of measuring , cutting the fabric, piecing (i.e. joining the bits of fabric together to make a fabric-"block") , quilting stitches ( i.e. stitches that hold together the 3 layers of a quilt- the top layer of fabric, the cotton batting in between, and the bottom layer of fabric), and finally binding ( i.e. finishing the edges after the layers are stitched together) .

I cant tell you how liberating an experience it was. I was always so envious of Joe, for being so passionate about the things he liked to do : cars, drawing, designing , reading and his list goes on ... and for me I could never figure out that "one thing" which would grip my heart 'n soul...but finally it looked like quilting was that evasive "answer" I was looking for!

At the time one of the fabric stores in our neighborhood was having a Christmas Sale and we decided to take a look. We got back home with pieces of at-least 25 different designs. The next thing that followed was a book called "Quilts! Quilts !! Quilts !!!"- by Diana McClun . For the next few days we made countless trips to the nearby craft-store for other supplies and gadgets and of course....for more fabric. The season also got me one of the best surprises ever, a sewing machine - a very thoughtful gift from my husband .

My inspiration was the Postage Stamp Basket quilt in Ms.McClun's book. The block- construction looked fairly simple and though the possible design layouts were endless , I decided to stick to the basic layout and color scheme from the book (though we had to change the scale).

Below: Joe made this image on MS Word , scaling it down to the size that we had wanted at the time. This was the starting point.

All those specks of color on the white background looked so cheerful and I was sure it would make the perfect accessory to brighten up any room, any day. The blocks were laid out in such a manner that 'same color patches' made a diagonal line, creating a lot of visual interest. It might sound like I was on an easy course , since I had decided to follow the layout and color instructions from the book, but getting the different patches of fabric to create that diagonal-line was tough. I had to get just the right shade of yellow or red, otherwise it would stick out and completely wreck the picture I had in mind.

By the first week of January 2005 I had started working on it , averaging an hour a day. I remember the instructor in my class saying that she preferred to do at-least some part of the process by hand (like the quilting stitches , or the binding ) rather than by machine .. that's what adds the personal touch. I particularly enjoyed the "stitching by hand" part and decided to use the sewing-machine only for piecing and to do the quilting and binding by hand.

It took me a long 6 months to get it to what you are seeing now, "almost finished" ( well, it is still not complete according to my original plan.. nevertheless by finished, I mean , usable and presentable) and it made the perfect gift for Joe on his birthday that year ! He was thrilled.

In case I have managed to pique your interest in quilts by now , here is some more information and specs on it. The finished quilt measures 82" X 96 " . There are 120 finished blocks on it and each block is finished with 8 pieces of fabric ( 2 squares, 3 big half-square triangles, 2 small half-square triangles and the handle applique ) . A finished block measures 6"X6". Here is a close-up of one of the blocks (below). You can also see the quilting stitches on the white background fabric.

Happy Quilts to you all !!
~ Aswathy


  1. OMG... Aswathy!! I am so impressed... you are indeed to talented!!

    This is so so so pretty.... You've inspired me to go for a quilting class next term...

    Well done.. its the most beautiful quilt I've ever seen...

  2. excellent......very very pretty... great job out there....

  3. O MY GOD!!(I do sound like Janice of 'Friends'...don't I?)That's beautiful....gorgeous....mindblowing!!U did that? Am I jealous!!Oh ..u bet I am.The quilt took my breath away!!!!

  4. Hi girls !
    Thanks a lot for the very encouraging comments .. I did this post specifically because, I have some UFO's ( as a friend calls them , stands for Un-Finished-Objects , or Projects :))staring at me all the time .. and I am feeling so guilty that I haven't been working on them, of late. This is meant to be an inspiration to get back to them.

    Have a great weekend, everyone !

  5. You are as adventurous with your UFO's as you are talented at completing them!! Well done :)

  6. Aswathy, that was a very professionally finished quilt ... have to say you have flair for quilting if this is what you can produce with one class ... lovely quilt ... beautiful :)

  7. Just one word! (in 20 feet tall neons!) .... BRILLIANT!

  8. -Rose, Thanks !! Well , I did manage to work on one of the smaller projects after I posted this. Will put up some photos when I am done :)

    -Rajee, Thanks so much ! It is more patience than skill ... and amazingly therapeutic . Glad you like it.

    -Menon Sir, Your compliment means a lot ! all thanks to QES training !!

  9. Simply Beautiful, you are so talented, love the work!

  10. Very beautiful..!. Keep up the good work Aswathy :)

  11. Goodness me Aswathy this is really beautiful! I am a novice quilter having made 2 baby 3 baby quilts for each of the smallies in my family. I know how much goes into making one, and hats off to you on creating this masterpiece:)


  12. Aswathy.........simply superb.very happy to know about ur talents.You always had something special in you.(which I had seen in your school books)Hapy Quilting.

  13. Looks fabulous!

    All the very best!


  14. -Mehr... I totally miss you out here ! Hope someday we can go together on a fabric-hunt , maybe next time when I am in India.. You are such an inspiration to me :)

    -Rekha.. Thanks a bunch for the compliments and for stopping by. Glad you like my work.

    -H.. Thanks for taking the time out :) Hope the boys are doing well .

    - Sharon.. Absolutely delighted to find another quilter buddy. As I mentioned in the post, I dont know what had come over me when I decided to do this, straight out of the class. The hand-quilting was quite a task with the quilt being so big and I had to make some impromptu quilting frames with dining chairs to do the center. It was quite a journey..but all the effort paid off in the end :)

    -Jameela.. Thanks a lot ..and it is really nice to hear from you after a long long time :)

    - Archana, Thanks a lot. I do hope to be doing more of this in the days to come. At the moment I am a little overwhelmed with all the positive feedback I have got on this piece .

  15. It is a gorgeous quilt! And you are one talented lady!

  16. Wow, that really is very impressive indeed! It's a beautiful pattern.


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