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.


  1. It's just beautiful! I'm sure when you look at their prices online, you appreciate how much work went into them!

  2. I really love this. you know I'm always curious about new to me hand sewing techniques. oh, and the 12 weight spagetti thread is so good, that's what I've mostly used for my bojagi and I really love it!

  3. It sounds like it was a class well worth taking. I'm definitely intrigued by the triangles in the corners!

  4. Very exciting project. And actually a knot sitting on top here or there makes a project more personal, more real, I think.
    There are several quilting/stitching tutorials on You Tube by East Indian women that are amazing and often the knots are not hidden or sometimes the ending thread gets twisted into other thread on the back of the project. Skilled artisans!
    work and

  5. What an interesting technique. I'm SEW tempted to give it a try! Glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself, Deb.

  6. Debbie,
    Love your Kawandi. As I start cleaning my house for our two daughters for the holidays, you've given me one more thing I need to start working on. I saw Sajuta Shah on The Quilt Show just recently and became interested in this style of quilting. Thanks for showing and listing the supplies you used. I am never going to get this place cleaned before Thursday! Oh well.

  7. I sure love how your Kawandi turned out. It's beautiful with those AMH prints. I'm glad you documented your supplies too. I don't have Bohin needles (I HATE Bohin safety pins, so have intentionally avoided that brand), but definitely need to get some. I have stitched with Spagetti thread in the past, so this time I tried Aurifil #12. Loved that. As for a thimble... I've learned that the 99-cent rubber ones you can buy from a quilt shop - usually found in a plastic bin beside the cash register - are the best for me. But I'm still curious to know whether the batting you used is cotton or poly. I took a hand-quilting class many years ago and the instructor said to use QC POLY Request for hand-quilting because it quilts like butter. For handwork, I use poly batting all the time. Gosh, just talking about this makes me want to start another one!

  8. I can feel how you enjoyed your class and the resulting process even through reading "just" a blog post. So happy you liked it. I think your AMH project is amazing. xo

  9. That is such an intriguing technique. I love the results - that is a really nice finished quilt.