Prismatic Peace, a New Hand Dyed, Quilted Mandala


February is our rainy season here in San Jose, CA.  While I will happily choose San Jose rain over the freezing cold and snowy winter from my New York days, I needed to add a splash of color into my life.  It was too wet for fabric dyeing, so I pulled out my stack of hand dyed mandalas and went to work preparing them into quilt sandwiches.

A few days later, I had a fairly restless night.  The next morning, I just didn't have the motivation to tackle my to do list and and lacked the ability to focus on much of anything.  I needed to center my scattered thoughts and remembered the stack of Mandala sandwiches waiting for quilting. 
Unquilted Hand Dyed Mandala

When I quilt my hand dyed mandalas, the dyed patterns and shapes guide my quilting decisions.  Starting in the very center, I just need to make one design decision at a time and repeat the selected design 8xs as I work my way around the mandala.  Usually the first 2-3 wedge shapes require my complete concentration, but by the 5th or 6th repeat, I start thinking about what to stitch next.  Only one decision at a time is required, followed by 8 repetitions...and repeat until my mandala is done growing!  If I am still stumped on what to stitch next, my favorite stall tactic is to simply echo the last petal design.  Not only does this extra layer of stitching greatly enhance the design but it also provides me with more time to meditate on the next ring of petals and filler designs.  No marking was required, but I did use some blue tape to help me achieve straight points on the outermost ring, which you can see in the bottom left image below.
Mandala Growing One Decision at a Time

For the first few quilted mandalas, I chose threads that blend in allowing the hand dyed fabric to take center stage.  For this quilted mandala, I wanted the quilting to shine equally with the hand dyed patterning. Dark Navy (#2784) Aurifil 50wt was used for the mandala design and a variegated Light Spring Green (#3320) Aurifil 50 wt used for the wavy flame border motif.
Detail of Quilting

Prismatic Peace, Finishes 20" x 20"
Growing up, our house had two stained glass windows with small prisms that would cast dancing rainbows onto the floors and walls.  Working on this mandala helped ground me, as well as brightened an otherwise dreary, rainy day.  Even the quilt back reminds me of those rainbows created by prisms (and yes, I will be adding a label now that I finalized a quilt title!)
More Dancing Prisms on Quilt Back

Here is a fun preview of more Hand Dyed/Quilted mandalas ready for the next rainy day!
More Beautify Forecasted from My San Jose Studio!

Comments

  1. I’m awe struck as usual with your machine quilting skills…..despite vowing from time to time to practice enough so I’m not mortified by my attempts….I give up quickly. In part….I’m much more comfortable with handwork….esp. hand quilting after teaching it for 20+ years. Your mandalas make me want to renew my vow!!!

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    1. Awww...thank you! I hope these quilted mandalas inspire you to resume your FMQing practice. You will be surprised at how much progress you can make if you practice just 10-15 minutes a day. And I will share a little secret--it helps that the dyed mandala wedges are not all perfect, my quilting doesn't have to be perfect either!!

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