Tag Archives: India

Seeing Spots!

Laura’s name has come up in a previous post –  The Girlfriend Quilt .  You’ll also find her, and her husband Greg, in the blog that I kept while we travelled through India in 2013 –https://samosasojourn.wordpress.com  We met at Willows Elementary School in Victoria in September, 1969, and have been great friends since then.

Last year I offered to make a quilt as a housewarming gift for Greg and Laura’s new home on Shawnigan Lake.  We looked at many different quilts on Pinterest, in books and in magazines.  Finally, we found a photo of a quilt, by Zen Chic, on Pinterest – lots of bright coloured dots on a white background.

The background is a solid white cotton that I purchased at Fabricana.  I pieced it to make it queen-sized.  The dots were a multi-step process.  First, we chose fabric in colours that reminded us of our trip to India.  Many of these fabrics were remnants from “Delhi Dreams” Start To Finish #6 – Done!  Then, I cut the dots in three different sizes, using plates and bowls as my templates!  The dots were sewn, right sides together, to fusible interfacing.  I cut a small slit in the interfacing and turned the dots so that they were right sides out and fused them to the white background.  Each dot was then edge stitched to ensure that they would stay attached.  Then, to cut down on bulk, I cut away any excess fabric from behind each dot.

The back of the quilt is the same white fabric as the front, with just a few dots.  The batting is bamboo.  I quilted this on my Husqvarna domestic machine using Superior King Tut thread in ‘Temple’.  It’s a meandering pattern that was fun to do and looks great with the dots.

We originally wanted to use white for the binding, but decided that it needed some contrast, so I chose an orange/yellow/gold fabric that sets the quilt off well.  The binding is attached by machine to the quilt front then pressed and folded over towards the back.  Normally, I would hand stitch the binding, but the 400″ perimeter seemed daunting, so I finished it by machine.

The final step was to choose a name and make/attach a label.  I enlisted Laura’s help and we came up with all kinds of silly possibilities.  In the end, and as a joke, Laura suggested “Laura’s Quilt”.   Seemed perfect to me!


“Laura’s Quilt” was made with love and with countless memories of 46+ years of friendship.  Curl up, snuggle and enjoy!

Thanks for reading.  Happy Saturday!


Start To Finish #4 – The Back

I have such trouble with the back of a quilt.  The front comes from an idea or a pattern.  I have fun putting it together, and it almost always works the way I’d hoped.  The back is hard because I feel that it should be as good or as interesting as the flip side.  It should be worthy of being seen, not ‘just the back’.

My current colours of India quilt is exciting, vibrant and bright.  I was thrilled to find three fabrics for the back that I thought would be complementary.  They had an Indian feel; with paisleys, swirly flowers and gold threads.  I washed and pressed them and then fooled around with a layout.  It was all carefully measured and well sewn/pressed.  But it was awful!  Almost so bad that I don’t want to share it, but here it is:

What’s wrong with it?  There’s too much going on.  Any one of the fabrics on their own would be fine, but not all three.  The orange with gold flower would have been awesome.  Also, it’s pieced that way because I didn’t buy quite enough length – because I didn’t have a plan.  (This is a mistake that I’ve made before and hope not to make again.)

Here are some backs that I’m happy with:

There’s some interest, but they don’t steal the show.  If the quilt ended up folded over or upside down it wouldn’t be a bad thing.  The piecing is necessary because fabric isn’t usually wide enough to back anything more than 40″.  Adding bits and pieces disguises the seams.

Returning to the quilt of the moment – the colours of India.  I bit the bullet and went in search of all new fabric for the back.  I had great help in one of the local shops.  The clerk and I found the perfect fabric, but when he went to cut it, we found a flaw ran through the entire bolt.  (I was shocked when the manager said that she knew it was flawed, but was prepared to sell it at full price, without flagging it as flawed.  hmmmm.)  I had better luck at another shop and made my purchase.  It’s been washed, dried and pressed.  Tomorrow I’ll piece it and then, with Blake’s help, I’ll pin the top, the batting and the backing together.  Then it will go away for a bit while I decide how to quilt it.

I’ve just reread this post and feel a need to add a disclaimer of sorts.  The back of this quilt won’t have different colours or fabrics.  It will be all one fabric with seams that won’t be disguised with bits and pieces.  What I’ve chosen just feels like the right thing, all by itself.  There won’t be a third attempt.

Stay tuned for the next post, which should be the final one for this project.  It could be a while.  In the meantime, I’m trying to think of a name for this quilt, other than ‘Colours of India’.  I like ‘Memories of India’ but President’s Choice has a line of marinades – ‘Memories of Korea, Szechuan, Tuscany, Argentina’ etc – so that won’t work.  I welcome any suggestions.

Thanks for reading.

Start To Finish #3 -Assembly

In the last progress report, on the colours of India quilt, I had cut out what I’d hoped were enough 2″ strips to make a quilt top that measures approximately 80″x 80″.  Those strips were set aside, waiting to be stitched together at my annual quilt retreat.

Retreat began last Monday afternoon.  I spent the first afternoon and evening working on another project, wanting to be fresh for this one.  Bright and early Tuesday I got the pile of strips out and sorted them by colour.  Then I started stitching them together, end to end.  There was no pattern; I just tried to keep them mixed up a bit.  The next step was to take this very large strip of 2″ fabric and cut it into 60 x 80″ widths.  So far so good, and it moved along quickly.  Here’s the pile of strips joined end to end:IMG_2176

Then came the tedious part.  I paired up the strips and sewed them together, creating 30 strip pairs.  Then those pairs were joined together, creating 15 quad strips.  This continued all afternoon and into the evening.  Each 80″ seam needed to be pressed.  Throughout this process I resisted the urge to see how it was looking.  It was all random and I just crossed my fingers and hoped that I wouldn’t end up with 20 pieces the same in one place.   Here are the 30 pairs of strips:

IMG_2195 3

By mid-day on Wednesday the top was assembled and I folded it up and set it aside for that evening’s show and tell.  Honestly, I was afraid to look at it.  The colours are bright and bold and I thought it might be garish, tacky or just plain ugly.  At show and tell I explained that I’d wanted to recreate the colours of India in a quilt.  It was well received and the comments were positive.  Two of the gals held it up so that I could have a good look and I was thrilled.  It was just as I’d hoped, only better.  Here’s the completed quilt top:IMG_2198

On my way home, after retreat, I stopped at The Cloth Castle in Langford to look for fabric for the back of the quilt and found three perfect pieces.  Better still, they were in the markdown section!  I’ve got them washed and pressed and am thinking about how to put them together in a way that will complement the top.

I’m really excited to see this one coming together.  It’s joyful and brings back such fond memories of our special Indian adventure.

Thanks for following.  Comments are always welcome.

Start To Finish #1-The Idea


My slate is almost clean and I feel that I can comfortably start a new project.  The timing is perfect as it’s just three weeks until our guild has its annual quilt retreat.  I’ll post more on the retreat later, but basically, it’s four days where all we do is quilt, eat and sleep.

I like to go to retreat with my project planned and my cutting done.  With 40 women, you can imagine that there’s lots of distraction; not always conducive for concentrated thinking.  We will have shared cutting tables set up, but I wouldn’t want to hog one of these by cutting a whole quilt.

This post is the first in a series that will follow a quilt from idea to completion.  Each post will be titled ‘Start To Finish’ and will be numbered.  You will be able to go back to previous posts via the Archives.

Since visiting India in 2013, I’ve wanted to make something that reflects the colour and chaos that surrounded us.  Here’s a link to the blog that I kept during that trip:  Samosa Sojourn .  I’ve been collecting fabrics and tossing ideas around.  Yesterday I laid out the pieces that I’ve found, then I culled the ones that didn’t work.  It’s a good collection that includes brights from saris and markets, greens from tea plantations and rice fields, rusts  and greys from the soil and the buildings.

I’ve been having trouble deciding how to put all these fabrics together.  I want there to be  confusion and busyness, as that’s how India is.  But, there’s also such calm and beauty – how to represent that?  I thought back to an own-design quilt that I made last year.  (You can see it if you click ‘Finished Projects’ on the right side of the blog, it’s called Read Between the Lines.)  It uses three different strip widths – 2″, 4″ and 6″. My mix of fabrics includes several muted solids and I hope that these will add a touch of calm to the riot of colour.  To spice things up a bit I’ll add some random, narrow vertical inserts.  With the amount of fabric that I’ve collected I should be able to make a king-sized quilt.

What a relief to finally have a plan.  Now it’s time to get the fabric washed and the strips cut out.  Can I wait 21 days to get started???

Thanks for following.