Monday, November 23, 2020


"Kawandi" means "quilt." That, and much more, I learned in a recent class with Sujata Shah. The goal of the session was for us to learn how to make a small quilt in the style of the Siddi people of India. I had admired the occasional Siddi quilt in my IG feed over these last months, but honestly, it was when I heard a guild-mate mention the process of working 'outside in' that really piqued my interest. I could not imagine how that might be accomplished, so soon after when Sujata opened another session of the class, I jumped at the chance.

So of course, I needed to gather some supplies. And though Sujata gave suggestions, I did want to record my choices here since they worked so well for me.

The time with Sujata was like escaping for a bit, with her sharing stories of the Siddi people and their craft. As I mentioned in my previous post about this project, fabrics from my small Anna Maria Horner stash were the basis of my fabric pull for this quilt. In retrospect, the result is less bright that a typical Kawandi, but my curated palette made me very happy, so there's that. 

Of course, learning a craft from a different culture involves some new vocabulary. The little corner triangles are "fula," and the small bits seemingly sprinkled around the quilt, are "tikli." (In the photo below, there's a darker blue tikli in the upper left, a light blue in the upper right, a long brown one in the center, and a white one below that.) I actually found adding the tikli about the fiddliest part of the Siddi quilt construction, but they add alot, don't they? Another thing to note that is quite different from our normal quilt construction, is that fabric pieces are torn rather than cut to fill in spaces as you progress along. That wasn't second nature for me!

After choosing and adding fabric bit by bit as I stitched round and round the quilt, finally coming to the very center and covering up that last bit of batting was really interesting. It worked out, of course, but still, felt very different. 

So you'll notice that the stitches on the front of the quilt are quite small, where on the back - shown below, the stitches are somewhat larger. I realized after finishing my little (17" x 21") quilt that a couple of knots showed on the back, when they really should be hidden between the layers of fabric. Chalk that up to being a newbie.

So making my first Siddi quilt stretched me a bit, in a good way. And learning the new technique was very satisfying. I'm really glad I took the chance to explore a bit.