Thursday 5 July 2012

Meet the Desis - Elvira

DQ is happy to start a new feature - Meet the Desis. Here we shall try to gain a peek into the lives and loves of those attached to the hands that quilt up such magic.

Today we feature the lovely DQ Elvira, the lady who quilts up a storm. She has been aptly bestowed the title 'Goddess of cute' by fellow DQs. She has an amazing ability to turn even the simplest of fabrics and patterns into something totally wow! She is kind enough to share her patterns and hard-learnt tips with fellow quilters. She is our first lady of Desi QALs. She's a keen photographer too.  Elvira blogs at Chez Vies and is a great inspiration to both bloggers as well as quilters and everybody else in between.

So, ladies and gentlemen (ah, I wish!), presenting to you, DQ Elvira, in her own words...

About my self, my home and my childhood memories...
Well, first of all I’m not good in telling about my self. I was born and (practically) brought up in Malang, a hill station city in East Java, Indonesia. I spent most of my childhood all around East Java cities following my father’s Coffee Plantation postings. It was a rewarding experience since it taught me how to adjust to my surroundings. My Father was adventurous one. During summer holidays he would take us around to explore new places, beaches, waterfalls, spring waters, etc. And my mother, she’s the crafter in the family. She taught ladies in the garden how to make things. Be it clothes, dolls, home furnishing stuff, knitting, crochet, etc. She got her ideas from magazines. On holidays, I loved to hang around with her and tried making things my self. Those were the most memorable moments of my childhood.

Quilt that reminds me of home

As we grew older, my sisters and I settled down in Malang to finish our studies, while my parents kept moving from one city to another. I’m a law graduate btw. During my college days, when all my friends were taking computer class and spoken English class, I’d go for sewing class instead ! I started making clothes for myself and my sisters. Even when I was working at one of Telco companies in Surabaya, I still kept sewing during the weekends. I guess, I always wanted sew…I only wish I knew it earlier LOL.

About my adopted home and new adventures...
I met my DH, an Indian, through the net =_=. It was two years of online dating and then we decided to take the plunge and get married. On my part, it was a blind plunge as I knew nothing about Indian culture and it’s people. It was a HUGE shock! To tell you the truth, I hated everything about India initially. But my father was the one who loved Hindi movies. He could watch 3 hindi movies back to back LOL. I guess it was karma..good karma that is.

Anyway, lucky for me, my in-laws are very open-minded people. They treated me like one of their own. They encouraged me a lot to take up some hobbies. It my decision not to work after marriage 'cos I was kind of fed up with the the law thingies. Instead, I got busy adjusting to and exploring my new home, the vibrant cultures, the pretty handloom fabrics and the endless variety of handmade items. My MIL is a wonderful story teller and she would explain to me extensively about India. I even learned some of bollywood stars’ background from my Sister-in-law..HA!! Well, she’s (my SIL) the one who taught me embroidery and knitting too.

Then I decided to buy a sewing machine. By the time I was expecting my first baby. But it didn’t stop me from sewing stuff. Some clothes, bags, baby stuff, cot covers, etc. I did it by looking at tutorials I found plenty on the net. Then there was no looking back. Though I couldn’t sew as much as l liked, I made it a point to always learn new techniques and try them out.

How I started quilting...
I forgot when exactly it was, but I guess around 2008-09, I saw one of my friend's quilts on her blog, and I started to google about it. That’s when I found Crazy Mom’s Quilt blog where she'd shared her easy to follow tutorial which I tried.

Then I stopped quilting for sometime, 'cos it was difficult to cut without proper tools. But I still wanted to make all those pretty patchwork items I saw on the net. I started investing in a cutter and a tiny (paper) cutting mat and even made my own ruler.

 I decided that if I want to do this seriously I have to invest more. And on my next trip to Indonesia, I bought a proper ruler and mat. No looking back after that. Some of my early quilts are here on flickr.

What I especially enjoy quilting...
I love working with triangles and use them a lot in my quilting. I find them more challenging and the possibilities are endless be it a simple pinwheel or even a zig zag quilt. The process is a bit tedious but the result is always worth it.

About the hardships I face in my quilting...
My major hardship is DISTRACTION ! I browse a lot and get inspired by other people quilts and  want to start making the next one even before finishing what’s at hand. Another problem is finding proper batting here in my town and am mostly using flannel or fleece blankets as batting.

About how I organize my stash...
Well, this is tough question :-) . I’m not an “organized” person. I think being an aquarian, I love the messiness in me. Once in a blue moon I will tidy up my stash and the next day it’ll be a chaotic mess again . Now, I got an old sideboard from my MIL and I try to put my fabrics color coded into that. I still have a cupboard full of fabrics stash though! Pics here.

About any special quilt I'd like to share...
For me, all the quilts are special. From the moment you start cutting your fabric until it becomes a finished quilt. But my very special quilt will always be the first one I made. Its simply by sheer determination that I finally made it. Though I kind of temporarily quit quilting after that, I knew that nothing is impossible in quilting. Tools or without tools. Once you finish a quilt, the feeling of satisfaction and people's appreciation is the priceless reward. In fact my first baby quilt  (a set with the bag and bottle bag) was sold immediately. Not that I wanted to sell it, mind you. A guest came and saw my quilting and forced me to sell it to her. I couldn’t even quote the price and she insisted on paying me :D. I guess it was my lucky one ^_*.

Favourite books, quilting and non-quilting...
My fave non-quilting book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It tells you to follow your dream. I've read it several times. And my fave quilting book is..well there are SO MANY. I like  McCall quilting magazine. It’s so doable and with instructions that are easy to follow. I download e-books too. I love the Japanese quilting books too, though they're a bit tough to understand.

About being a DQ...
Excited!!! To be honest, I feel honored. I’m an Indian by marriage but on DQ I feel like a true Desi, one among the crowd. I love the banter on the Facebook page, the buzzing activities, the lovely, encouraging comments, the challenges, the blog.

How I felt doing the Desi QAL...
NERVOUS!! And excited at the same time. It was my first ever tutorial on real quilting. Esp.because DQ is full with experienced quilters. I kept convincing my self that I could pull this off  and I hope I did :-).

3 items on my wishlist...
Hmm…it’s tough one. I have a looooong wish list. But for quilting related wish list, I guess these are on the top:
1. Accessible quilt batting (be it cotton or poly batting)
2. An offline quilting group here in my hometown.
3. Start selling my quilts online and offline.

About selling quilts online...
Currently I’ve been trying to sell my mini quilts on Etsy ( . Be it a table runner or cushion covers, I prefer to sell them online as I feel those customers appreciate more the value of Handmade items.


  1. wow..that was lovely...good to read about you Elvira..Great effort Tina...

  2. That was really wonderful to know about Elvira's journey!!!!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this, and "getting to know" Elvira a little. Thank you for having this post, and thank you to Elvira for sharing!

  4. Please help --- I can make quilt tops without ANY PROBLEMS. I have a Bernina 635 & a Pfaff Expression 4.0. I need to learn how to machine quilt. Please advise where to start & which patterns &/or books do you highly recommend.

      You can't go wrong with Leah's totorials. I learnt by just following her tips and watching some videos.