Of Fabric Fables

In my last few posts I have been hinting at doing some new, fun, work. I generally hate being cryptic and coy about secrets (if you want it to be a secret, why allude to it if you really don’t want to tell?) but the superstition bug had bitten me (Don’t tell too soon, lest it does not work out). Well, things are working out pretty smoothly and we’ll be ready to announce it soon so the big, happy secret is…..QUILTING!

I first fell in love with quilting in 2002 when I was a 15 year old exchange student in Germany. My host-sister made the most gorgeous purple and yellow and green Amish quilt. I was awe-struck! I could not believe that it had all been done with a basic sewing machine at home, learnt from a book!

Years later, that impulse caught up with me as a new mum and I asked Abhi if we could buy a sewing machine on Gudi-Padwa. Home came the pretty green-and-white Singer but it was another year before I started finding pockets of time in which I could watch videos and start experimenting with it.

It was around this time that I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life work-wise. I enjoy teaching German but I don’t love it with all my soul like Abhi does. He is born to be a teacher and he is amazing at what he does. Even after a decade of teaching, he never tires of a new class. I wish I could be a teacher with that kind of passion but I’m not. I’m OK. I like it enough but it does not excite me. Since I was going to be home with Rumi for at least another year, I took the time out to think about what really excited me. These are my notes from that time:


Trying to bring different things such as children, books, products, interaction with different kinds of people together, I stumbled upon the idea of opening a little bookstore for kids. This idea excited me tremendously. I got goosebumps even thinking about it. I fleshed it out a little. This was something that would need a lot of investment. And commitment. And risk-taking. We were also talking about baby number 2. As if on cue, PCOS made its ungainly appearance again. After considering all these things, the kiddie bookstore-cum-café idea was carefully put on the shelf to be picked up again in the future.

Right about this time, P came into my life through the society yoga class. She had quit her corporate job to be at home with the two kids. We got talking and the idea of working together came up. It was the perfect match. She is the calm to my storm, the clarity to my hurricane ideas, the voice of reason to my emotional barometer.

We touched upon a few ideas when I confessed my quilting idea to her. I wanted to bring a few of my loves together: love for cottons, for quilts and for fabric books or quiet books that had lots of stuff for little fingers to do.

The idea for interactive quilts was born. Something that could be used to calm fidgety minds at bed time. For busy toddler fingers. For babies to lie and play on. We were exhilarated. We sat and drew a few ideas. Scoured Pinterest. Forayed into Laxmi road. And just began.

The last four months have been a busy time of experimentation and ideas. I cleared a room for work. The big, wooden cupboard was cleared for fabrics. Mum gave me an old, wooden table for the sewing machine. P brought a gaadi and a low work-table. We hunted everywhere for a tailor and finally found K, who was willing to come over and work with us.

So much of drawing and cutting and messed-up designs and laughter! The hard work of the past few months seems to all be coming together now as our quilts get ready for the launch. It has been such a fun process. I just love thinking about the tiny patchwork and designs for each quilt. Sometimes I love even opening the fabric cupboard to run my hand over the brightly colored cottons. I just hope that people are going to love them too.

The hardest part was coming up with a name. We toyed with thousands of words such as razai, lihaaf, jaadu, tara, stories, trees, and so on. After numerous combinations and lists, we settled on ‘Fabric Fables’; conveying what we wanted; stories and tales told on fabric.

Sometimes, I have a hard time explaining to people why I am doing ‘this’. “Godhadya kartie??” (“You’re making quilts??”) they ask in an incredulous voice. “What about German?” “What about it?” I ask. “German ka nahi shikvat, ghari tuitions ghe, khup mula yetil.” I have a hard time explaining to them that I did not stay at home to take tuition classes. I stayed at home to be there for Rumi and I want to set an example for her, about doing things that you are passionate about. I would not be able to preach that to her if I didn’t follow it myself. I want her to see me work with my passion, have her around to share my love with her and hopefully inspire her to do her own thing someday. And if I make money doing it, that’s the icing on the cake.

I am having so much fun doing this. My days are filled with puzzling over how best to make a cotton rickshaw or a hanging monkey. I hope to continue having this kind of fun for as long as it is possible. Because life is really too short to not do all the things that you love.

Some of our gorgeous patches, all ready to be ironed and sewed-on!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow Rumi’s mom thats great!! I loved those patch works! It is so good that you found a passion that you could work for. Great going!


    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      Thanks a lot Amruta! wish you a lovely 2017!


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