September 15, 2014

What is quilting? explained here.

Recently , a facebook friend asked me about quilts. What do i know about quilts and quilting? oh my dear. I know a lot.(my pinterest page on quilts) I can find out a lot more with google as my friend. But let me start at the beginning.

A quilt is basically two layers of fabric with some filler like cotton or 'batting' in the middle. To prevent the filling from shifting inside the two layers of cloth, we stitch the three layers together. This process is called quilting.
  • The most basic way of quilting is to pin the layers together, and  hand tying the three layers at intervals. This is also called tying a quilt.  The image here is taken from a tutorial at
  • The next method is a running stitch to keep the layers together. This can be straight lines or other designs . The stitching cow gives a lot of good tips for hand quilting.
  • The obvious next stitch is machine quilting. You can take the top fabric,( or  make a patchwork top), and after layering with the batting(filling) and backing fabric,  you pin the whole thing to prevent shifting. Then you can use your sewing machine to stitch the three layers together.  then when the quilting is complete, you cover the edges with another fabric, this is called binding.

There are a few subdivisions of machine quilting, like straight line quilts, whole cloth quilts, rag quilts, and many others.

There are a lot of blogs about quilting, I would recommend a few links to browse:
and a set of videos for beginners.

and here is a good tutorial to make a pretty baby quilt.

you can use the links I have peppered throughout this post to go to really well explained tutorials on each technique. Hope this helps you grow an interest in quilting!

A birthday dress for little me

via Jaya's Place

September 10, 2014

Dates - fruits fresh off the palm

Having lived in a desert country in the middle east for the last 12 years of my life, I have to admit that I had ample opportunities to actually get a fresh date from a tree, many times before this.   Yet somehow, i never did.

In the course of my work, I visited a farm here, where many different date palm varieties are grown. It was a revelation, the sheer number of different dates, that i have never thought about. The yellow ones, the orange ones, the red ones.. the teeny tiny ones and the bigger-than-a-fistful ones. They were harvesting the dates there, and most of the fruit was ripe and dried in the sun, still attached to the tree.

I always wanted to try them, but thought the unripe ones to be sour, so when the farm manager asked me to pick one of the yellow ones instead of the brown ones, i was surprised. I bit into one, and it was crunchy! instead of the expected squishy feel. The date was slightly brown at the end, and it was VERY sweet.

I brought some of the  unripe(rutab) ones home, and this is a pic of dates at the various stages of ripeness.

Sceptic in Qatar recently did an article on dates, (the fruit!)  and it is very informative so check that if you would like to know more.

September 6, 2014

Pretty lace dress

Action shots were  taken over the vacation.  Lots of photos to edit. Working over them at snails pace. 

September 2, 2014

A significant update to my facebook page address

As of today, I have changed the address of my page to
That means all the previous links in photos will become broken links and you wont be able to click through. Very sorry for the inconvenience, but I wanted a name that is easier to remember, and easier to tell to other people.

September 1, 2014

After summer vacation

Hey peeps, I'm back after summer vacation. My to-do list is full, and at the top of the list is "Repair the sewing machine!!" I have no idea when I will get it back, till then, I will be working on some handmade goodness for the upcoming QatART handmade market. Have a great week!

via Jaya's Place

August 31, 2014

crafting supplies online in india

The way I have been home-bound this vacation, I was looking around for something to do, that does not require use of my leg.  Looking at cross stitch, long stitch, other hand embroidery techniques online provided a lot of inspiration.  I knew I wanted to do some "Anchor" longstitch frames. Since I personally knew only two craft supply stores in Trivandrum,  I went to one of those .(Fatima Fancy Stores in Palayam) as soon as I was mobile. and huh. they had only ten kits in stock. while I reluctantly chose two of the cutest, I was wondering about all the pretty kits I saw online. Good Morning Stores had more selection, but they did not have frames.

That led to the idea of making a list of all the online art supply stores based in India  that I stumbled upon,  just as something to do. Updating it on my blog, because this is a list a lot of crafters in India will find useful. Home delivery of craft items seem like a blessing to me.. i dont want to browse through twenty brick n mortar stores in one city just to find a set of craft supplies I am interested in.

 paper quilling supplies in one shop, embroidery floss in another shop halfway across the city, jewelry making in yet another corner, with some buttons and beads thrown in..
 "kundan work? what kundan work? we cannot get it in kerala!"
"zippers? we have pant zippers and churidar zippers, we dont know where you can get bag zippers! and invisible zippers? what are they?"
" yeah, fabric paint.. i think we have those.. yes.. but no, we dont have any books or designs"!

Seem familiar?
so here are a few that caught my eye. is a pretty,well-curated site, and has a lot of  supplies, for everything from scrapbooking to seashell crafts.this seems more expensive than normal shops, though. has a lot of art & craft kits , for everything from nail art to jewelery making. (and of course , they have a lot of books on the subject). I found their display quite perfect for getting the little ones hooked on a hobby for the summer. They have a lot of things that are hard to get unless you know exactly which brick-n-mortar store to visit. 

fevicryl has a webshop that has a lot of their trademark hobby ideas and things from fabric paint to stencils.

this site has a lot of supplies at wholesale price. they also have a full list of anchor stitch kits, and a fun array of jewelry making supplies. they also have a crafting blog with a ton of tutorials.

these are quilling teachers, who operate a paper quilling / paper jewelrymaking supply store. 

this is one of the leading sites in india and  has a pretty comprehensive website and a great selection for sewing supplies.  is a scrapbooker's haven with lots of paper crafting supplies for stamping, embossing, punching, die cutting, quilling, etc etc, and a ton of embellishments. They stock a lot of imported supplies.

and if you are an indian crafter interested in reading a far more comprehensive list, I suggest Dr. Sonia's list  Go on, click through.. its a veritable craftopia, that list.

August 26, 2014

A new skill in the making: hand smocking.

 Lots of free online tutorials to help, but nothing can compare with a great teacher right beside you. Thanks to my little sis for the lesson <3

Hand smocking from scratch, is pretty simple.Mark a few sets of dots on the wrong side of fabric, run a needle through them to gather the fabric evenly, then knot the threads together so the pleats stay pleated.. no fancy pleater necessary. Once the pleats are in place, start stitching on the right side of fabric.. This is a great place to start learning, if you want the general technique. 

via Jaya's Place

August 23, 2014


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