Tag Archives: silk

Crafting in St Helena

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Today our Ship MS Boudicca was moored off the island of St Helena . A small lush island to which Napoleon Bonaparte was exciled in 1815 and ultimately died.

Crafts continue on board and I spied quite a few of our class working away on their silk tie projects and patchwork iPad cases,. whilst sun bathing on deck. I think that we can assume that the classes are a hit!

Crafting somewhere South of the Equator

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The south Atlantic is HUGE! We have been sailing for days and no sign of land. We all know this but sailing the high seas expresses just what a vast wilderness it is. I suppose that all this water is teaming with ocean life just below us but we haven’t seen any sign of it! To keep the cruising guests busy I have been teaching crafts

Today’s crafts were a Silk Tie project and s wet felting gorgeous bars of luscious soap. The classes are well attended with a group of lovely ladies and one man. We giggle chat and generally have a good time whilst creating and crafting.

Crafts of India 3

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Whilst my trip to India was a wonderful adventure, I was extremely disappointed to find on arrival in Delhi that the block printing section had been removed from the itinerary ( as were most other people on the tour) The travel company “Colouriscious” had removed that leg of the holiday and no one realised until we arrived in Delhi. The remaining elements of the adventure however, were amazingly good.

We did see a small example of block printing when attending other workshops.

Used blocks covered in Indigo paint.

Cloth printed and partially embroidered. This fabric is destined to become a sari. When the embroidery is complete it will be washed in the river ( Which didn’t look too clean!) and dried in the sun. The washing removes the indigo print and leaves the white embroidery. It will become a beautiful, very white sari.

Bear with me! Only one more Textile Adventure blog to go!

Shopping in India

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Surajkund International Craft Fair reputed to be one of the largest in the World! It was huge! There was a great atmosphere with all ages visiting the annual fair. It felt completely safe with much friendly banter. We were the only white faces to be seen and obviously a spectacle of interest. We were constantly asked for permission for the locals to take selfies with us. I felt like a celebrity when even three policemen asked could they pose with me!

There was music everywhere, dance troupes at every corner and street food of every description.

I learned to barter which doesn’t sit easily with my shopping habit! I did, however buy pashminas, scarves and cushion covers!

It was the hottest day of the holiday but that added to the atmosphere of a never to be forgotten experience, in India.

The People of India (2)

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There was men weaving on “pit looms” the most exquisite silk saris. Their sons would often sit with them to learn the trade. The homes where this takes place, were frequently poorly lit. Interestingly they were also listening to cricket on the radio ( and India was winning!)This lady attempted to show us how to work Chiken stitch a traditional shadow stitch often worked on saris and pashminas. I tried hard but failed miserably!Market stalls were piled high with traditional textiles in eye popping colours.

Traditional crafts were apparent in the maintenance of buildings, contrasting with the poverty on the roadsides and city streets.

on my recent “Textile Treasure Hunt” to India I saw many people working long hours in often, difficult conditions. They were invariably pleasant, smiley and happy.

Crafts of India (2)

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Rural India where artisans make fine hand knotted carpets. Here, in the village centre,the cows relax in the shade.

The village “pond” where clothes are washed and young men fish for dinner. In the foreground cow dung is drying in the sun, waiting to be used as fuel.

Young men dying the silk in cold water vats. The hanks of silk are dunked and rotated through the dye vats. The women stay at home and work in the fields.

“Boilers” waiting to be fired up to heat the hot water dying vats. Note the winding apparatus to place the hanks of silk on ready for dying.

Field of drying yarn hanks both silk and wool. Destined to become carpets. This region ( Bhadohi) employs 2.2 million rural artisans in a 100% export orientated industry.

The end product Beautiful silk carpets. Which incidentally, reached the UK within 10 Days.

The Colours of India

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Just about recovered from my jet lag and thought that I would share some memories with you.We visited Surajkund International Craft Fair where there was no shortage of colour, noise, smells and people. An amazing assault on the senses, but one that I wouldn’t have missed.Beautiful textiles at every angle There was silk,wool, and cotton in a rainbow of colours, hues and shades. It would have been very rude not to buy ! So I did! ( many times!),No “Political Correctness” hereNo Magnolia here!

Textile Treasure Hunt

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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.

Cruise Crafts Silk Ties

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Hi lovely readers! I have talked a lot about the destinations on my recent,wonderful cruise but not about the crafts! The very reason for me being on the cruise in the first place is that I was actually teaching crafts! And what a great time we had!

One of the very popular crafts that we made was silk purses. We used silk ties to make these simple colourful make up pouches. I did start buying ties from charity shops but was not very happy. Silk ties in charity shops are quite expensive. They are often not too clean! They do not wash very well ( my Mother was right) I ended up buying lots of silk ties from China. These are sold as wedding ties and are colourful, good quality and nice to work with.

The purses are quite simple to make and the only other requirement is a zip. If you place the tie longways and use the zip as a measure, you can wind the tie round and round until the length is used. Pin and then slip stitch as you go. Slip stitch the base and insert the zip. Job done!

These are a small collection of the finished purses that were in our final Exhibition of Crafts. Didn’t we do well?

Tie Craft

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I recently went to a meeting of the Embroiders Guild. I love this meeting and find the other members inspiring and oh so creative! It is not just embroidery but all types of needle crafts. I often take my knitting but today I took the neck ties that I’ve been collecting to make a silk make up purse.

I spent time folding, re folding and pining into place until I was happy with the result. When you have worked out how it is quite easy to finally hand sew and insert a zip. I’m pleased with my first effort and will make more until I can make the silk purses with ease and neatly.