I must warn you before you start reading this post…
This will not just be a photo heavy post, it will also be looooong and will have my wild ramblings on having thoroughly enjoyed a weekend, quilting with friends and learning at least 3 techniques in the process.
It all started with an innocuous statement that a fellow quilter made on a social network site displaying a desire to learn esoteric quilting skills. Shruti, from 13 Woodhouse road, not just agreed to do a workshop for us but also invited us to stay over at her place and have a taste of her hospitality. I still can’t get over the fact that someone can be so generous with her designer fabric as she is with her skill and learning — a single point agenda of giving the ‘quilting cause’ a boost!
Thats Shruti for you. She lives in Sangli, a quaint town in Maharashtra, about 400 km from Mumbai, but the journey by road takes almost 6 -7hours.
We, 4 students from Mumbai boarded the bus on a rainy Thursday night for an overnight bus journey to Sangli. The first glimpses of Sangli reminded me of my own village …reminiscent of the paddy fields back home in my village which I stopped visiting after my school days for varied reasons : both voluntary and forced…a strange nostalgia engulfed me as we crossed the Varna river much in spate after the August rains. There were sugarcane fields on both sides of the road, some so close that it seemed we could just lean out of the window and touch them,all lush green and wonderful in the morning light. We were welcomed by her family with open arms and hot morning tea and biscotti. Such warm people …they just filled our hearts with warmth. All of us were keen to visit her outhouse turned into the studio, we fondly remember from her blog as 13 Woodhouse Road. Post breakfast we rushed there like eager little kids and were welcome to a lovely large workshop with high-end sewing machines and beautiful wall quilts that adorned the walls.
As the oohs and aahs settled down, we were read out the Miranda rules,ie, the learning schedule for the next 2 days. We started with the flying geese paper piecing method on the first day and dived into her designer scrap bin to get our colorful geese out, each picking neutrals to go with them.
We made some wonderful paper pieced flying geese blocks in black and grey and then,an improvised method by reversing the fabric usage, using scraps as the background. It was great fun.
She had all the notes and templates printed with the names written on them. Couldn’t have expected the workshop to be more organized than this. Lunch time was time to order in food, hot rolls with coke and then, back to work starting with trapunto.
I remember looking at it and thinking, OMG this is impossible to make. How on earth did she make it. More importantly, does she really believe that she can make a maladroid like me work on silk and make such intricate designs!! Hmmmm… brave girl!
But with her step by step instructions, it did get less intimidating and we were almost half way there by the time we closed the workshop for the day.
Then she treated us to boating in the Varna-Krishna river confluence at sunset.
Life couldn’t have been more tranquil. Post that we returned to the bustle of the local market to buy fabric from a local shop, her little fabric nook. That however wasn’t the end of the day, the excitement continued as we were welcome home to wonderful aromatic biryani and we laughed and joked like school girls way into the night. While the nip in the air was actually welcome, we also loved the abundance of handmade quilts that she provided for comfort and warmth.
Even her doormat was quilted !!
Second day started with us getting back to our unfinished trapunto quilts and learning how to make pouches. We completed our trapunto projects just in time to board a bus back home.
The day was characterised by timely clicks and rounds of fabric fun!
The most enjoyable of all fabric games was when she threw fabric blindfolded and anyone who caught it, got it !! As we boarded the night bus back home, the laughter and cheer eventually died down and all I remembered was
‘ The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more’