Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Om. The Sound of the Universe

It is interesting how the Universe lines things up in one's life.  I have experienced this more and more over the past five years, perhaps because I have slowed down, and have become more attuned to it.  The first couple of weeks of March have shown me the beauty of the colour orange, a colour I previously was rather 'meh' about.
Sunset at Venice Beach FL March 11
 That very morning on my walk with Rocco...
I can't even...
No clue what those wildflowers are, but... Yellow.  OrangeFuchsiaRed-orange. On a bed of green.  Sumptuous.

The next day, March 12, I started my second mini swap, one I hadn't even known I was in until I received this surprise package on March 5.
from Preeti, with love
She made me a mini!!!  Look how the top three bars of colour match the card.  Notice the oranges.  Can you smell that Mysore Sandalwood soap from India?  I was transported on first sniff.

Me?  I love blues, and lately all the hues of aqua. The night that I received Preeti's mini and goodies (she knows that I have become quite the fan of Essential threads from Connecting Threads) we went to the Show 'n Shine in Englewood, something I'd mentioned when I wrote the review post for Craftsy's Three-Quarter Patch tote.  Said tote is a wild and exotic mix of orange and fuchsia fabrics. Kaffe Fassett.  I made that tote March 3 and 4.  Are you picking up what I'm laying down here?

Back to March 5 evening:
What a beauty.  Englewood Show 'n Shine, the one and only photo I took. Wonder why.

So back to March 12, when I started this mini:
Seeing a pattern here?
That little baby finishes at 2".  Stars are my favourite block, so I thought I would make a star quilt for Preeti, using leftovers from the Three-Quarter Tote.  I know she loves Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I know now, but I didn't know then, that she loves the colour orange.  To quote her, "It is the colour of sunshine and happiness, bright flowers, sweet drinks and juicy fruits. It is festive and auspicious."

When I finished this first test block, I knew I had to make a second, better one, as it was not quite square.
See how the bottom (first) one is slightly too big? The problem was in the centre, maybe 1/16" off in each of the two seams
Besides, do you see the "S" in the bottom block?  The hint of a green mandala in the top block?  Clearly one is mine, the other Preeti's.

Decided to improv this, not knowing where exactly I was headed.  Improv is not my strong point, and out of my comfort zone, but I knew Preeti would apprieciate it as she often works this way with spectacular results.  See her Sun City quilt.  The mini she made me is leftovers from that mini!
Round 1 and 2

Round 3 and testing out Round 4
I was liking it.  I still had no idea really where it was headed.  You won't either as I forgot to take a picture of the finished flimsy.  It was at this point that I started to think of maybe offsetting the star.  I did Round 4 and added a solid round 5.

went for a walk with Rocco.  I often get into quite the meditative state on our walks; it's very Zen.  The idea to make it round planted itself in my mind.  The idea to quilt the Sanskrit 'om' symbol had also evolved just prior to this.  'Om' is the sound the universe makes.  Everything vibrates with energy; we know that. That energy has this sound.  Making the entire quilt round was right.  Got home, layered the mini.  Looked for the 'om' Sanskrit symbol photo that I saved from when I did my yoga mat bag:
Found it in my Photos, clicked it, I thought, but no, I'd inadvertently deleted it! NO!!! Google Images to the rescue. Found this, which I liked even better than the one for my mat bag, and because we didn't bring down our printer this year, I put a piece of plain newsprint gently against the computer screen, and traced it lightly.  Not big enough.

I'm no artist.  HOWEVER, I can do a reasonable drawing of an image if I have something I can copy.  So I did, and then began the process of using my glass patio door as a lightbox to trace it, in reverse, onto the backing fabric.  It took 3 tries to get it right.  Layered the sandwich once again, basted and got to stitching from the backing, which, of course, is orange.  "Rock Solid" by Moda, leftover from Aidan's quilt, Radiance.

Oh yes, Miss Bella is coaching, as per usual
I used Sulky Holoshimmer metallic threads in fuchsia and orange on the back because I wanted that om symbol to shine!  Sulky rayons in matching pink and orange were in the bobbin.  This combination stitched out fabulously.
All done.
Used my walking foot for the pointy rays and FMQ-ed everything else; didn't have the heart to crop Rocco's supportive presence from this photo.
Turned it over, hoping I had, in fact got it centred how I wanted.  The bloggers in last summer's New Bloggers Hop will recognize the two solids.
The 'om' motif is perfectly centred; the quilt itself is purposely offset.  Unique.  A different approach. More symbols.

Big breath... this part was so scary... I used a sandwich plate to trace the circular shape.  Who needs fancy templates?
Like a wood carving evolving from the log, this little mini was breaking out of its square shell.  Binding.  This black with purple polka dots was also left over from the tote.  Did I have enough to do it on the bias as was required?  Yes.
I sewed it to the back of the quilt, maybe a third of the way around, pinned it beforehand, leaving tails.  Then I finished off the binding as I do a regular quilt, with a 45-degree mitre, overlapping the two ends by just a tickle less than the width of the binding, which was 1.25", I believe.  This ensures a snug fit.  Unpinned several inches back so I had lots to work with, sewed the ends, checked to ensure it fit before trimming the ends. It did.
Turned it to the front, pressed under the raw edge 1/4" and edge-stitched it down.
I was really pleased, despite some of the rays' points being cut off by the binding.
Another tale of two minis

Of course, I had to photograph it in the sunshine on the fence (which is not MacGyver's stain job, just so you know; he is MUCH more persnickety).
I fought the wind...and I WON!  Eventually.

Trying to show that elusive metallic shimmery thread
Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design
Size: 8" diameter
Fabric: stash scraps
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Sulky Holoshimmer metallic145-6054 and 145-6011, Sulky rayon 40 wt 1109 and 1168 and Essentials 50 wt 21241 Magenta

So now with a mini and a mini-mini under my belt, I can no longer be considered a swap virgin. ;-)

Here is the back of my mini from Preeti.  Clearly, she also knows how much I have always loved interesting and beautiful backings.
rich maroons, greens, sand and gold
As a kid I spent hours with our wooden mosaics, loved making patterns and designs. This reminds me of those mosaics, and of stained glass, and of exotic places, rich colours, pungent scents.  A perfect backing. I had hoped the sun would catch and show off the glints of gold in this beautiful fabric.  It does, but it doesn't do the shimmer justice.

One last shot against azure skies and palm trees for Preeti, who went to college right here in Florida, which is the original reason I wanted orange on the back, as a nod to Florida oranges, the Gators, and all things auspicious, such as our friendship.
Linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.


  1. The flower is Lantana! It comes in many colors, but that is my favorite variation. :) <3

    What a creative journey you took to make the mini to swap with Preeti. I love that you did a circle, and the quilting seems to perfect for it. Well done!

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  3. Well, eat your hearts out, dear quilters in the blogland, because this one is MINE. The best part is this - it was unexpected. This was not supposed to be a swap!!!
    I have so much more to say. But that is beyond the realm of a comment. It is its own blogpost!!!
    Big Hugs,

  4. Sandra, you killed it on this one!! I thought with each photo it couldn't get better and when I realized you were going to CUT that beautiful mini, I though NOOOOOOOOOO! but then it was beautiful. And I'm not sure if I like the front or the back better. The back makes me think of some ancient Inca carving. It's wonderful!!

  5. Ooh, Lantana. One of my favorites! They grow as annuals up north--just so you know and can plant some when you get back. Such happy little flowers! I loved reading about Preeti's and your minis. The way yours developed was just so not what I was expecting. The off centered square was neat in itself--but then to turn it into a circle! And it worked so well for you to quilt it from the back (even though I know that's challenging to set up)! I think Preeti will have to hang it as a mobile so she can see both sides! About her mini--I thought the front looked tropical--and the back looks like poinsettias to me. I know they're tropical, too, but they make me think of winter--so they could remind you of what you leave behind when you go to Florida. (They also made me remember a mosaic coloring book I had when I was in middle school. I keep hoping to find another like it now that adult coloring books are so big.) I laugh to think how you knocked yourself out with that swap that was, as it turned out, not a swap. I can't wait to hear the rest of the story from Preeti's angle.

  6. Oh my! Wow!!! This is amazing. Funny how we both made minis in different shapes. I guess you've been hanging around with me too long -- you're starting to like orange LOL I'll eventually sway everyone to the orange side.

  7. Oh my I didn't think this would turn out like it did from the first photos. It is quite stunning.

  8. Everything about this mini is so amazing! The fact that it is round just blows my mind. But the thought you but into the colors and design are over the top. I just want to touch it because I know it is filled with so much love and positive vibes. This small vibrant circle holds a piece of you, your time and thoughts, and the energy that is Sandra. That's what makes gifts such as these truly special. Who ever receives it, holds a small piece of you.

  9. Oh, my goodness! What a delightful post! Talk about motivational!

  10. I love everything about this post! Your photos and narrative, but especially how you stretched yourself so many times. A round mini, a swap veteran now, and not letting lack of supplies deter you. ❤️ It's fabulous!

  11. Oh, Sandra....what a delightful post from beginning to end. The minis are just lovely and your prose was very satisfying. Did I miss a post about Essential Threads? I'm just now getting out of my comfort zone and have been paying more attention to the threads I use (instead of what's been sitting in my studio for who knows how long). I've recently started using Aurifil and just love it for piecing and machine quilting on my sewing machine...but I'm looking for something that wonderful but less pricey for my longarm. Any suggestions?

  12. Wow! You are much better at improv than you realized Sandra! Preeti's round little mini quilt is just beautiful, as is the surprise she sent to you! I think you liked orange a lot more than you knew too. It is fun seeing how your plan evolved. I love the quilting you did!
    Lantana is a very drought tolerant plant - great for planters on the hot patio and the blooms are so lovely.

  13. Deep breath is right! After all that work I would have been nervous cutting that into a circle, but it turned out beautifully! I like Lantana too!

  14. What a lovely post about a treasure you made. Preeti will smile every time she looks at this gift. Thanks for sharing your process. It is always interesting to see how a quilter gets from start to finish and the evolutions that occur along the way.

  15. Wow! You did an amazing job on this. My favorite part is the alternating straight and curvy rays. I loved the "tickle less" statement. I usually think and eighth inch less, but I like your term better.

  16. Oooo I LOVE the Om. Just love it.


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