This Textile Treasure Hunt here in Varanasi India just keeps on giving. Today we visited silk weaving. This is carried out in the homes of local people in rural areas. I
am in a permanent state of shock, both culturally and dietary. The people are lovely and regard us as odd because many rural communities have not seen “white”faces before, especially the children.
The silk weaving is the main occupation and carried out by the men. It is a patriarchal society.
The silk produced is beautiful, colourful and hand woven. It is mainly produced for Saris, scarves and for dressmaking.
This morning we visited a Hindu village where the looms are hand driven just as they have been for hundreds of years. During the afternoon we went to a Muslim area of Varanasi where the looms are motor driven . We had the inevitable shopping opportunity where a beautiful silk scarf found its way into my bag!
just an example of some of the intricate weaving.
Today is the start of my latest big adventure. India here I come! I’ve packed everything that is important. The most important being my sewing! Oh and my books and just a few clothes!
I’m currently on my way to Heathrow where I meet the group I’m travelling with! Just hoping that they are a good group but I’m sure they will be I am travelling with a specialist textile holiday company called http://www.Colouriciousholidays.com
I will blog all about it as it is going to be bloggylicious!
I recently visited Chester Cathedral with the intention of seeing a knitting exhibition. There was a display of knitted Bible stories, Hand crafted and lovely.
There was a “side” show of knitting hats and scarves for the homeless. Very admirable and kind idea.
The cathedral is a beautiful, large church, warm and cosy. What I couldn’t understand was why ?
Why Heat the lovely space to such an extent when all the visitors are warmly wrapped up in scarves and good coats?
Why have such a large attractive space open to the public when some of the public are homeless ( for whatever reason) and sleeping rough in doorways?
Why close the doors at night to keep the Church warm when some are shivering with no bed to sleep in?
I know that the homeless is a complex issue. Many people do help and do their best. Maybe I’m doing Churches in the UK a disservice . Maybe they do open their doors at night. Just maybe a little more could be done?
I must give full credit to the Chester shareshop and all their hard work for the homeless people of Chester and elsewhere. When I shop in Chester I always buy myself a coffee. It costs me only a little to buy another coffee for someone out there.
One reason that I wanted to make the Harris Tweed quilt that I mentioned in my previous post is because I want to improve my embroidery skills. My Grandmother and to a lesser extent my Mother were great needlewomen. I can embroider to a certain extent but there is always room for improvement.
I found this book in my Grandmother’s belongings many years ago. It is a small paperback book first published in 1967.The instructions are clear and simple and it’s a delight to learn from.
I also have another book, not quite so old, published in 1981. So….. back to slow stitching.
I’m nothing if not indecisive! I have thought this project through and gathered together the necessary. I’ve researched, upcycled and finally started to work on my future travel project. I don’t like it! I like the theory, I enjoyed the ideas book and I tried hard. However I don’t like it!
On review of my first hexigan ( which would be the first of many) it just doesn’t work. The beautiful Harris Tweed is too thick when folded over. It doesn’t sit well with the vintage embroidery and in short it doesn’t work! No amount of pressing will improve the look, but I haven’t abandoned it completely.
I adore the vintage embroidery which was worked by my Grandmother over fifty years ago. Don’t worry! I only cut up the cushion cover because a Grandchild tried to colour it in with a permanent Felt tip pen! So….. rethink, re trench and start again.
I did like the embroidery that I had done on the reverse of the hexigon so I intend to incorporate that into the “take two” project!
This is the second plan. I love the Harris Tweed that I’m going to use and I’m delighted to upcycle my Grandmother’s vintage embroidery.
I couldn’t make my mind up which of these two books is my favourite. The book “A Trip around the Wool” is a great book and up there among my current favourites. It’s a bi lingual book in both French and English and beautifully illustrated. I’m just starting a project titled “52 Happy Memories of 2007”. The aim is to create an embroidered hexagon each week culminating in a 52 hexi quilt. I’m already falling behind so nothing new there.
The second book “Stitched Memories” by Tilly Rose is a glorious book sub titled “Telling a story through cloth and thread” which sits well alongside the other book. I’m using old embroideries and Harris Tweed to create my memory quilt. But lots more about that as it starts to come together.
For the last few days I’ve been busy making a cotton tunic for my forth coming Indian trip. I finished today and am pleased with the result. Well…..actually I like the tiger fabric, the pattern went together fine and it fit well. Ok I confess! I don’t like it. There’s nothing technically wrong I just wouldn’t have bought it in a shop! Which is the acid test for home dressmaking. Whilst I love the tiger fabric perhaps it’s too busy?I like the tunic pattern but it’s just not “me”. Ah well! Lesson learned and all that! I’m sure as Hell trying!
I’ve made an attempt to save the World this Christmas but suspect it’s not a single handed job!
I bought and wrapped my gifts in recycled brown paper. Then realised that the roll I had bought was wrapped in plastic!! Come on WH SMITH!
I used fabric scraps to tie the gifts up but then realised that I still needed sticky tape (because I’m a rubbish wrapper!)
Some recycled gift wrapping ( the paper is recycled not the gifts)
Scrappy Tin ( that has been recycled)
I only bought Charity Christmas cards from the actual charities but spent a fortune on postage stamps! I had thought of not sending cards this year but I actually enjoy receiving them. Any novel ideas about recycling them next year?
Well I have tried so I will try even harder next year . I’ll drink plenty of wine then I can recycle the bottles!
One of the best things about this time is the decorations. Forget the dark days and add twinkle to your life with fairy lights. Get all wrapped up with recycled paper. Make your own cool wreath.
This wreath is so easy to make that even I can do it. I made it three Christmases ago. It squashes flat and fluffs out when the decs go up. It also ticks the recycling, upcycling and reusing boxes. Here’s how:
Take a wire coat hanger and bend and twist into a rough circle keeping the hook as,well, a hook.
Cut plastic bags into approximately 2 x 6 inch strips
Take each strip and knot around the wire
Keep going round the circle pushing the knotted strips close and tight.
When the circle is full fluff out the strips and trim if required.
Add decoration of choice or leave without
You can use coloured bags ( I used clear) and adapt for other occasions e.g. Halloween, Baby shower, wedding, Birthday etc.
Hook up the wreath. Stand back. Admire.
Happy decorating to you all dear reader!