Sunday, 30 September 2012

Bee Desi with Brinda

(We have with us the lovely DQ Brinda who gets to be queen bee for the month of  October'12. Here are her instructions for her blocks for BEE DESI)

Brinda’s Bee Block : ‘Polaroid Blocks’!!!

I decided to make these blocks as they are simple, modern and easy for everyone to do. They are like a snapshot in a frame hence called polaroid blocks!

Each bee will make me 4 ‘pictures’ or 4 quarters of a block. What I mean is that 4 pieces or quarters make one block….but I don’t want you to do the last bit of joining, as I will do that. This is because I will mix and match all the 48 quarters in the best combination when I finally put the quilt together!

General instructions:

All fabric has to be 100% cotton. Please do check that the colour of the fabric is fast!

The background or ‘frame’ has to be an off white or cream plain fabric….NOT white.


The seam allowance of a quarter inch is already included so you don’t have to add anything. Just follow the instructions. You will need 4 ‘pictures’ which are exactly 4”X 4”. These can be in any colour of anything, but basically the 4” squares need to make a picture, complete in itself.

From the background fabric cut 8 rectangles which measure 4”X2” each and 8 rectangles which measure 7”X2” each.

To assemble. Take a ‘picture’ and sew one 4”X2” rectangle to the top and one to of the bottom of picture. Iron the seams open.

Then sew one 7”X2” rectangle each to the 2 sides, and your one picture or quarter of the block is done! Make 3 more….and 4 quarters of one block is complete! Each quarter or picture should measure 7” square when it is ready. Don’t stich the 4 pictures, just put it in a packet and send it to me!

I am posting a picture of the four I have made as a sample for you to get the idea of what I mean and the way they will look when you send it to me!

Happy stitching! I am so looking forward to the many ‘pictures’.

A BIG THANKS in advance!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Amalie's Patchwork Ball QAL#2

DQ Amalie is back with the second version of her nifty patchwork balls. Where QAL#1 used pentagon shapes, this one uses triangles. So, over to Amalie...

Supplies needed:
Fabric of your choice, needle, threat, scissors, cardboard that is a bit more stiff then normal
paper but soft enough for a needle to easily go through it, Filling for ball old/new pillow ( I cut the pillow
open and used the filling to stuff the ball.)

Cut 20 paper triangles. These triangles are 2.75 inches on each side. But you can make them any size depending on how large you want your ball. Place on fabric and cut making sure your fabric triangles are at least ¼ inch larger than your paper templates, so that you can fold the fabric around the paper and loosely stitch the fabric to the paper.

Sew the fabric to the paper and then place them like this..

Then sew all the triangles together by putting the right sides towards each other.

And then sew this to a ball by sewing the openings together, this should end up with you having a ball.

Leave one side open and put in the filling and then sew the hole shut.

The end result should look like this.

Have a ball !

Thursday, 27 September 2012

First Quilts - DQ Amalie

(Guest post by DQ Amalie, the 2nd in our series of 'First Quilts')

I have not been quilting very long so I will share the first and so far only quilt I have made. I do not own a sewing machine yet, so all my projects are hand pieced over paper to keep it fixed. This quilt was a gift for a very special person or rather persons, a good friend and her newborn daughter.

My first quilt started with these fabrics..

Came to look like this after I fixed the fabric on the paper templates..

The front of the quilt ended up like this after hand sewing the pieces..

And the end result with a purple fleece back and batting looked like this..

After making this quilt I was completely hooked on making more quilted things. I have made a few patchwork balls since and have also started on my next quilt.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Bumper Diwali (Nov'12) Challenge

First the surprise...

Come November and one lucky and talented person gets to win this beauty from BERNINA..

..the Black Beauty, the Bernette 46 from Bernina !! Wow, right!

Its the bumper prize for the Diwali Special, the November '12 DQ Challenge ! 

Now the rules. To win this beauty, the Bernette 46 from Bernina, here's what you got to do:

1.Make a quilted item not smaller that 18"x24"

2.Depict the theme 'Diwali'

3.Quilt by machine, not hand

4.Make sure you have participated in AT LEAST one other DQ monthly challenge apart from this one

5.Post your entry in the doc AS WELL AS the album on the DQ Facebook page

6.Post it BEFORE 30th November 2012, 6 PM IST

Please note, the prize will be shipped only within India. There are prizes for participation too from our sponsors, BERNINA India !!

Best of luck ! Let the battle of the bobbins begin !

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Forgiving Quilt

(We are happy to have a guest post by DQ Rama sharing her very moving experience of the buDa traditional quilting workshop) 


I came to Nirmala akka's quilting workshop with some apprehension. I have been so urbanized in my approach to work and people that her mere photo was a challenge. Would I be able to connect to my rustic and earthy nature; was the question. My apprehensions were uncalled for. The place where the workshop was to be conducted, the hostess, the facilitator and the teacher were all so natural that I was calmed at once.

The process of quilt making was grounded and rooted in it's simplicity and complexity. Luckily Nirmala akka and Savitha broke the process into tiny bits and fed us over 3 days like a mother breaks the meal for a baby into tiny mouthfuls. When 3 days were up, we were all equally amazed at how we had succeeded in creating  what seemed a mighty art piece.

The second day was an intense experience for me as the quilt started taking form. The steps are linked until the very end, and, from the very beginning. Every step takes the lead from the previous one; the continuity spoke to me. The flow and the connect could not be missed. And the more my urban culture was determined to make every stitch perfect, the more tedious the process became. So I simply gave in to the process and got into the flow, fumbling and struggling and caring the least at spots, and diligent, conservative or simply plodding along at others. Midway through, I had tears in my eyes and the threads and colors blurred into a psychedelic haze. So very much like very much like life was all I could think! Once the quilt had spoken it's secret to me, I was child like and trusting and laughing and garrulous. 

My respect for Nirmala akka grew. Whether she was a rural woman who made home sewn quilts from bits and pieces or she was a budding entrepreneur, I simply saw her as my teacher and as one who had helped me discover a gift from within myself. A person who had travelled a long way in her innocence and trust in life.

How ever each one of us blundered through the process, the quilts were beautiful at the end of the day. Quixotic, ethereal, flowing and loving, an extension of each one of us. And in the final pic, i couldn't see the flaws, the fumbling, the struggling; all that shows is the flow, the magic and the depth of it.

As forgiving as the great mother earth, the FORGIVING QUILT. As demanding as the great mother, the INTRINSIC QUILT, as psychedelic as mother nature, the MAGIC QUILT.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Chumkie's Cathedral Windows QAL#3 - Gallery

 Here are some finished projects and W.I.P.s inspired by DQ Chumkie's awesome Cathedral Windows QAL on the traditional method of making them.








(Traditional CWs done by a method slightly different from Chumkie's QAL)

Wowness !!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Wee Bit Of Stash

We are fabric hoarders and proud of it. And to further encourage the growth and spread of this obsessive compulsive addiction, here's a peek at our stash, which, in the goodness of our hearts and our belief in our purpose, we are willing to share with you either thru a swap or sale. Open only to 'Desi Quilters' cult members. So, if you think you are a soul-sister (or brother) join our Face Book Page. For a bit of initiation, check out our blog at Undying loyalty to the dark craft of quilting is a must.

Swap/Sale Etiquette:

Unsheath the pins, needles, blades! May the tribe grow! 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

First Quilts - DQ Brinda

First quilts are always special to us and regardless of how many quilts we've made after that, the first ones will always hold a special place in our hearts. DQ is happy to introduce a new series of blog posts featuring the very first quilts made by our very own DQs. So join us as they share their experience of their first forays into the world of quilting, their baby steps, lessons learnt and memories sewn in.

We are honoured to have with us DQ Brinda, who shares with us her amazing 'first quilt'. Over to Brinda...

I sewed most of the clothes for my daughters when they were growing up! This meant there was a huge collection of fabric bits left over, and since I LOVE fabric and don't throw any of it away, it had piled up to enormous amounts. So the idea of making a quilt each for my girls and their husbands, using my bits and pieces, was born. Nishka and Manoj love trees, as do I, so I created a tree. It also symbolizes growth, shelter and life for me and that's what i wanted to wish the two of them.

Many of the fabric bits used in this crazy quilt were left overs from Nishka's clothes itself, and it was a joy to see the expression on her face as she recognized the fabrics!

However, it became a labour of not only love, but toil and backache!!! Every time I wanted to work on it, I needed to lay it down on the floor, get on to my hands and knees and place and sew the pieces in place. It wasn't helped that our boxer and the cat would take this as an invitation to sit on it, the moment it was laid out! The final result was great and well worth the effort! However I have learnt that all future quilts will be made in sections or with blocks!


(If you would like to share your first quilt with us, do mail us a few pics along with a write-up to

Monday, 17 September 2012

Amalie's Patchwork Ball QAL#1

DQ Amalie is from Denmark, but very much a Desi. An amazing person, she pieces all her quilts by hand! She shares with us here a couple of techniques of whipping up instant gifts for li'l people...patchwork balls. Over to Amalie..

Patchwork ball tutorial
Supplies needed:
Fabric of your choice, needle, threat, scissors, card paper that is a bit more stiff then normal paper but soft enough for a needle to easily go through it, Filling for ball old/new pillow ( I cut the pillow open and use the filling to stuff the ball.

In this tutorial I will go through 1 version with pentagon pieces and then give ideas to what other versions with triangles, hexagon and squares can do from the same idea.
I make these as English paper piercing, but it can be done on machine by following the same basic idea.
This could be a great scrap project, since you just need 12 small pieces of fabric. The lazy method when using paper piercing is to cut square pieces, But for machine quilting you should cut the pieces into pentagons. All pieces should be ¼ inch bigger than the actual size to give room for stitching.
The size of the pentagon’s depends on how big a ball you want, the one in the below picture is 1½ inch on each side.

Start by loosely tacking the fabric to the cardboard pieces. Like in the picture below.
Do yourself the favor of using thread that is a contrast to the fabric color then it is easier to pull out the thread in the end.
After having stitched the 12 pentagons it is time to put them together, always stitch with the right sides of the fabrics against each other.
Stitch at all the places with arrows so that you end up with a half bowl.
Do this again so you end up with 2 half bowls.
Now it is time to stitch the 2 bowls together to 1 ball.
Hold the two parts right side against right side and sew all the way abound so that you have one round ball, only leaving a small gap open. (one side of one of the pentagon’s)
If you are using paper piercing now it is time to take out the paper, carefully cut the loose stitches that has been holding the fabric to the paper and take out all the paper pieces.
Fill the ball with filling and stitch the last hole so there are no more openings.

Alternative patchwork balls: To make sure no copyright laws are broken I have just shared a picture of one I have made and links to other versions of the patchwork ball :
Source: My own picture

Have a ball!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bhavani, the Sunny Bee

(DQ Bhavani is Queen Sunny Bee for September 2012)

I am new to quilting, I made my first ever quilt about a month ago, and then I made another one about a week ago. Being new I am not very ambitious in terms of complicated effects and all. During this short time I have also realised that I will never be a 'traditional' block creating quilter. Seems like too much work, when you can just buy awesome prints. But thats me, lazy and easy, modern quilter :).

The Sunny Bee theme resonated with me, and my representation of  'sunny' is yellow, happiness, energy, strength and beauty. The sunflower is more than any other flower because it has purpose. It follows the sun through the day and waits for sunrise every morning. Much like following your dream in life and being sunny, no matter what. 

So here is my Sunny bee block. Simple, no overlapping effects.. just blocks next to each other layed out and sewed together in squares. I like the idea of applique quilts, the possibilities seem immense.
Here is my version of the flower block, called the sunflower block. Once I have all the 20 blocks I intend to add some of my own to this and make a quilt of size 60 by 96 inches.
I will follow a simple color combination technique of mixing 'hot' and 'cold' colors next to each other. So there goes friends....

Sunflower Applique Block for the Sunny Bee September 2012:

 For September 2102 Sunny Bee I want to work with this flower block which I call the sunflower.  The centre is a circle and it has eight petals each which are appliqued to the background fabric.  Following are the instructions.

Fabric Selection:
White background measuring 14 by 14 inches
9 pieces of atleast 3by 5 inches rectangle for the petals and one centre.
Petals are to be made in the same color with varying prints, shades etc. Example Bee 1 will make a red sunflower with yellow circle( which could be plain or printed) white background ( Plain) and 8 petals in varying shades of red, prints etc, but red being the primary color in these petals. Bee2 will make a blue sunflower with a yellow center, white background and blue petals. So on.

Colors that I can think of are: Red, blue, green, Yellow( Yellow Petals and yellow centre), black, Purple, brown, grey, pink. So if we are running out of colors we will have to repeat the color and have two bees make one color

Needless to say all the fabric has to be pure cotton.

Measurements and cutting instructions:
Cut out the white background measuring 14 by 14 inches square.
Centre will be perfect circle measuring 2 3/4 inches in diameter.
Petals will be of the shape below measuring 4 1/2 inch in length and about 2 inches at the thickest part.

Tracing and cutting instructions:
Cut out the background white square.
Take the yellow piece of 3 by 3 ( Atleast, could be bigger depending on your comfort level) mark the circle with diameter 2 3/4 inches and cut out.
For the petals you can make a template on a sheet of paper with the measurements given above and draw out the design as shown above. Cut the paper out and use as a template. Place the paper template on each petal piece measuring 3 by 5 inches and cut out each piece.

Fold your background fabric in half in twice. Finger press the fold so you can see the folds for placement of your petals and know where the center of the block is. Place the center of your circle on the centre of the background and pin.
Pin or glue baste two petals opposite each other on one of the folds.
Baste 3 petals evenly spaced on each side between the first two petals.

Applique each of the petals and then the centre with the machine satin stitch, use matching thread or contrast as per choice.

Cut out the background for a 12 1/2 by 12 1/2 inch block and send it to me!


Friday, 14 September 2012

Sunny Bee !

BEE DESI TOO now has a theme. And a name.


The theme is the 'Sun' and all that it means to you. Its all about living life 'Sunny Side Up'. Use it literally or figuratively. Realistically, Surrealistically or even Whimsically. The Queen Bee needs to decide what she wants her 'SUN' to be and give instructions accordingly. It could be pieced, appliqued, embroidered or just implied. It could be, lets say, a block representing the Sun, or a cityscape with a tiny Sun, or a sunny garden/beach/jungle/field/whathaveyou, or just play with shadows, or a scrappy yellow block, or just a happy block with a tiny piece of yellow thrown in somewhere. Its about celebrating life and living it with a positive, cheerful and sunny attitude. Its about BEEING a SUNNY BEE !

SUNNY BEE is all ready for take off. This Bee will be staggered for better moderation, which means the Queen Bee's month will start on the 15th rather than the 1st of every month.The Bee members have until 15th of the following month to complete the required block and despatch it to the Queen Bee of the month. DQ Bhavani will be our first Sunny Bee and will start rightaway in September'12. Have fun girls ! Cheerzzzzz....

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Chumkie's Cathedral Windows QAL#3

After the very popular 'Chumkie's Cathedral Windows QAL#1 and 2', the awesome DQ Chumkie is back again with the 3rd installment of the Desi QAL.

The Traditional Cathedral Windows  

Finished Size of Quilt = 16”
Finished Size of Block = 4”

For the third technique in this series for constructing Cathedral Windows, we will be making a cushion cover or a mini quilt or a table topper, comprising 16 blocks arranged 4 blocks across by 4 blocks down.

The finished mini quilt

The components of a Cathedral Window block are the foundation or background fabric, the frame and the window pane.  In this variation, the foundation and frame are made from the same fabric.  The window panes can be as varied as you wish.

Table for Cutting Instructions
1. The cutting instructions will make 1 CW block.
2. The numbers in parentheses in the column descriptions represent the number of squares required for each CW block. 
3. The window pane should be cut 1/4” smaller than the finished size of the frame.  Measure for and cut the window panes after the first frame is constructed.

Block Size Foundation (1) Pane (1) approx.
2” 4 ½“ 1 ¼“
3” 6½ “ 2”
4” 8 ½” 2 1/4”
5” 10 ½“ 3”
6” 12 ½ “ 4”

For 16 Cathedral Window blocks that will each finish at 4” square, refer to the table above for the 4”block and cut

16 foundations
16 window panes (not shown – cut after 1st frame is constructed)

Cut 16 foundation squares

Make an 8” template from cardboard for pressing a ¼“ seam on 4 sides of each foundation square.
Use a box cutter to cut cardboard template

Place the template in the center of the foundation and press ¼“ seam using the template as a guide.
Press 1/4" seam on 4 sides of foundation around template 

Fold the foundation in half and press.  Fold in half again and press to crease a vertical and horizontal line on the foundation.
Create two folds on foundation 

Using the creases as a guide, fold the 4 corners to the center and press.
Fold 4 corners to center and press

Do this again.  Fold the 4 corners to the center and press.  This is your 4” Cathedral Window block.
4" Cathedral Window block

Repeat this process for all 16 foundation squares.  To join the foundations together, open a flap on two blocks and sew them together on the creases. 
Sew adjacent flaps on two blocks

The sewn flaps make 1 frame.  Measure 1 side of the frame and cut 16 window panes ½“smaller than the size of the frame.  My frame measured 2 ¾“, so my window panes were cut 2 ¼“ square.
Four 4 1/2 " fabric squares
cut in 4 = 16 window panes

Join all 16 foundations in this way and there should be 8 pairs.  Join 2 pairs together by sewing the two flaps that are between the 2 sewn flaps. 
1 quadrant with 4 flaps sewn together

Join the 4 quadrants together and tack the corners of the frames down with a cross stitch.  Place a window pane in the center of a frame, roll the bias sides of the frame around it and pin in place.
Pin window panes in place

Sew the bias sides of the frame around each window pane and your 16” cushion cover is done!

Completed Mini Quilt

This quilt does not require batting or a backing.  Sewing the frames down over the window panes serves as the quilting. 

Quilting on Back of Mini Quilt

- There is no need to make a backing for the cushion cover because the back is already done!
- Use a 16" pillow insert for a cushion.
- If this quilt is to be used as a table topper, no more work needs to be done. Just use as is!


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Giveaway - Winners !

A couple of weeks back, DQ reached a new milestone with its brand new blog getting its 50th follower. A Giveaway was announced  by our kind sponsors, BERNINA India  to commemorate the occasion. We are happy to see that today, the blog has 60 followers and counting. We are also happy to announce the winners of the, GiveawayS :

1.The Step by Step 'Magic  Pillow' pattern..

..goes to Prasanna !
This is what she said :
Congratulation to DQ. My day starts with a cup of coffee and DQ FB page :))...Love the group..Hoping for more followers..I would like to win the first pattern.

2. The Step by Step 'Summer Quilt' pattern... won by Elvira !
She says..
I'm a follower..and the Blog is's always updated with latest activities..great pictures too!! and would love to win the magic pillow..or any one of those three *fingerscrossed*

3.The Step by Step 'Crazy Patch' pattern ...

...goes to Amalie !
In her words..
Great we reached 50 subscribers :-) I love reading the different blog posts when they come up. It gives good inspiration for future projects. I would like to win the bag tutorial.

Congratulations to the winners! And our heartfelt thanks to everybody.. YOU are the people who make DQ special !

Quilt on !!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

DQ August'12 Challenge - Winner

The DQ August '12 Challenge asking for a ticoloured mini attracted 8 lovely entries. DQs voted for their favourite entries and the top three entries that qualified for the prize draw were :




...And the lucky winner is...Aliya !! She gets these fabulous items courtesy, BERNINA India :

' BERNINA ' - " Inspiration " magazine full of creative ideas for the passionate sewer , quilter and embroiderer  - 2 recent issues

and ' Mettler ' - ' Made in Germany ' Polysheen Thread Box containing 8 mix spools x 1

Congratulations Aliya !! Well done Brinda and Tina ! Better luck next time :-)