Friday, May 07, 2021

Ohh the Pause

 I am more a bull at a gate type person

all this Pausing is driving me nuts.....

freaked me out really, especially now with India and my people there, my Praveen....

what to do?

Actually the rest coming from being here in Oz has been really good for me, I think perhaps if I had kept up at the pace I used to run I might have snapped real soon.

Good lesson- The Pause does have a silver lining...

and I do see people starting to consider their priorities, I see governments being questioned about just what their priorities are. Keep that going!!

So I am here in Oz, 

re-inventing myself in a way.... still me, still the same passions but at a different time and place.

I am back in my old neighbourhood

and must admit I love the landscape and being able to wander up the road and have a good chat. My place in India i love and am loved by many but am the outsider, Madam and a good chat is difficult with language restraints and such a different cultural background.

Didn't know how much I missed being able to babble in Ozzstralian until I had it again ๐Ÿ˜Š

Getting to Australia took me a month or quarantine- first in Delhi, then in Darwin....I knew I would get out eventually but even that felt like it could go on forever being constantly watching for the virus....

I thought of all those people in limbo stuck because they could not stay where they came from and wanted somewhere safe to live.

I admire the work of entities like the ASRC - 1 month being locked up was horrible, how can indefinite detention for just wanting to be safe feel?

I like to cook- Feasting for Freedom sounded like a good way to reconnect to my community and be positive. Menu here

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Grid print stitching

 Recent Obsessions

This print urges me to stitch into it. 

Years ago we made dresses, they had a natural dye background and this print on top, then on the yoke I put little white stitches in some of the squares.
My secret urge is to make a jacket in this print and stitch all the squares- how cool would that be? I don't often mention that to myself because I have a lot of other projects underway, but one day....
I was lucky enough to have a piece of this cloth at home when Covid struck. The lockdown in India was intense, I went to sleep planning my next day in the workshop and woke up to be informed I could not leave my house AT ALL.... I made Covid animals for all my little ones.
No sewing machine at home I used blanket stitch to join the edges.
My littlies have been giving them a work out and they are lasting just fine.

Shapes of the Covid Creatures are just flat cut outs and when I was joining front to back I inserted the skinny legs, arms and ears into the seam before joining.
Send me a message if you want to see a picture of the pattern pieces.

Just got a new stash in the shop  and I think a manageable project would be to make drinks coasters.
A plan- square shape, colour with stitch
find something a bit heavy to layer in the middle and then blanket stitch top to bottom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Silk Sari Afghans

Lovely, luscious afghans 
fancy up your sofa
I might even use mine as a wrap in winter....
15mm worked very well- golden afghan was 100 stitches cast on....

then I found 20mm needles and tried the peacock colours out, result a little looser but still a nice feel to the result and bigger needles means less yarn needed to get the same size result

Golden afghan is about 640gm

peacock about 580gm


Silk Sari Bags

 Hello all, 

here is a simple recipe for Silk Sari Bags.

I made my first one years ago and used it as a handbag for a while, so I wanted it to be firm and not let stuff drop through.

Being back in Australia at the moment, where SAY NO TO PLASTIC is really a thing now, I realise we need a lot of bags for shopping on hand, so I have reworked the Silk Sari Bag to be lighter and looser, it uses less yarn.

First though the long tale of making Sari Yarn

1. find your saris

2. check for silk by burning a corner

3. rip into strips

4. hand out to our home based Machine Ladies to machine stitch the ripped lengths together

Saroj Madam, has one of our machines- it does take up a significant part of her house's space but she is happy to have it. She machines for us and makes clothes for the neighbours as well.

Yarn is joined by a continuous thread, makes it strong and no lumps when using it.

5. wash and dry

6. roll up into 100 gm skeins- ready to go to you.

Silk Sari Bag 1

weight of this one is 280 gm so I would estimate 3 balls of yarn enough.

Silk Sari String Bag- version 2

Weight 200 gm so 2 balls should just about do it. Sorry these are guestimates because each ball whilst being 100 gm might a have a metre or so more or less depending on the saris. Last row around top of bag could be in a different yarn to finish it off if you run short.

Friday, February 05, 2021


 Gamcha obsessions

Bengal is famous for its handweaving and every home has a few Gamchas around- they are a Bengal bath towel and favoured dress of workers everywhere in the tropical heat.

Bright and bold colours- they are a favourite with our guests when we are on tour [Creative Arts Safaris- our reason to slip out of the workshop on occasion].

Since the first one I spotted I have wanted to make quilts, here is our first batch. I don’t know when we will have more, we have to wait for the Great Pause to finish and let us travel again. Cosy throws for the sofa or a picnic blanket these lightweight quilts will be loved for years to come.

Our first pile of quilts
Rickshaw puller dressed in gamcha
Gamcha seller in the Sundarbans- after a day out looking for tigers a little gamcha therapy is fun
This guy with his shop on a pushbike did not know what to think.... he was totally in shock at first to see all these foreigners and then we were accosting him and wanting to see his gamcha... and there was a little gentle scrambling over some of them too.

He was so chuffed by the time we reduced his pile by half, I bet he is still thinking of us.

Day wear Gamvha
The amazing flower markets of Kolkata all the vendors wear gamcha, I have a few dresses I made out of gamchas and I always wear one on the day we visit the markets- it is noticed and get the thumbs up ๐Ÿ‘

Tuesday, January 05, 2021


A friend just started a group on FB- Stop Scrolling and Read

she recognised how much time she wasted doomscrolling, how unproductive it is and wanted to do something about it for herself and kindly said something and invited others to join her.

I really appreciate the idea and like the idea of a group of readers- living in India i could never find a book club, this will be kind of like that I guess. Friends who like to read, maybe chat about it - yippee.

Hiya, just wanted to say how much I appreciate the idea behind this group - thank you, Claire.

I have read prodigiously since 11 years old when reading clicked for me, it was not just a skill you needed at school - it opened up worlds and vistas and escape. I was in love and have never wavered in my affections.
Doomscrolling & social media, I now realise, have dimmed the connetion.
Part of my work is research and I have always had a pile of books to work through, and now I think about it they have been gathering dust.
Time wasted on doom scrolling, reading fluff to unwind and escape but not much time reading stimulating stuff, well written thought proking things.... I had noticed but put it down to stress, old age.... what ever.
Doomscrolling is the biggest culperate and it is something that can be managed.
Like any good 12 step programme I need to admit I have a problem.... the rest should start to sort itself out.
I have a small stack of books with me in Australia and my kindle and now you guys to re-abilitate myself.
looking forward to Gabriel Garcรญa Mรกrquez - he has been on my gunna' list for ages and never made the effort....

I am finally in Australia and relishing being able to see my kids and grandkids, hang out with my friends, wander easily.

It is a whole different world for me and I don't know what the future will bring, I miss Praveen and my workshop but the isolation of where I lived became so obvious during lockdown, no tours to wander on and travel buddies to chat with....

I know I need to spend more time in Australia/ make it my base and luckily Praveen likes the idea too.... so it is just working it our step by step and making it happen.

Morning walks are now along a beautiful country road, open and peaceful- I feel so free.
This tree talked to me the other day....
Life is not always about turning the page, sometimes it is about adding a new leaf.
I know this is a mixing of metaphors but it is just thoughts rattling around in my head, so who cares.
I got the message.
Look at those new leaves, the most exquisite heart warming pink.... let this new leaf of my life open up in a similar manner.

Time to take a look, 

Change habits- the hardest part is recognizing the habit that needs to change, the rest will then start to take care of itself.

New leaves are beautiful, a little different at first and will mature into an ongoing appraoch/habit/ life :)

Happy New Year as we turn a new leaf ๐Ÿ˜Š


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Memory Cards.

 I have wonderful memories sitting with my Great Grandmother- Big Nan or Nana Leichardt we called her,  she would play cards or pick up sticks with us for hours.

It is such a fond memory and I now realise just how patient she was and all that time she gave is so precious to me.

I am trying to follow in my Grandparents footsteps now I am Granny Fifi and make sure I spend time with my little ones.

It is exhausting- I am perfecting the Nana Nap and it is such a previledge to have the opportunity.

I really appreciate Praveen being so understanding of the fact I need to be here whilst they are small, we had thought we would both be able to pop back and forth more often.... but with how the world has turned it means I am in Oz and he is in India for the next while. Thanks my love for your support. 

I made games with my class when I was a Steiner Shcool Teacher years ago and many of my children's toys when they were little.... some things I always was a gunnu do..... and here I am doing them ๐Ÿ˜Š

Ludo and Checkers have already proven to be a lot of fun.

Now I am working on a set of Memory Cards...

I drew up blocks, got them carved and Parwun printed up the sets for me.

Putting them together is simple- 

Cut out , stitch.

I like to slowly hand stitch so I have cut them with w wide border and are wrapping them around a felt stiffener to get them integrity and top stitching them into place.

You know me - a little wonky.... but happy.

The kids were impressed I was stitching something for them whilst they played cars, Mr 5 years old, loved the game we played with a half set and is looking forward to having the whole set so he finds even more pairs. ๐Ÿ˜

If you are a machine girl you could follow a similar idea and use a wide zigzag stitch to finish the edge.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Counters for Games


Based on a suffolk puff
Google it if you need more detailed info- lots of videos on Youtube

1. Cut a circle of fabric- coffee cup worked well for size

2. run a ring of running stitch around just a little in from the egde. Then the fiddly part, pull the thread up to gather it onto a ball- tucking edges inside as best you can.
Adjust the gathers and even them out.
Use a few stitches to secure the puff.

3. stitch a button on top and through the puff.
this hides the mess in the opening :)

Ready to use.

Making a Game Board - Checkers

 I have been wanting to do something with fabric weaving for ages, and ages.... time you know, it flies away.

Well now my grandchilden are getting bigger I need to have a stash of Granny Game Bags to get out and play with them.

When I was a kid my Big Nana Leichardt would spend hours with us playing cards, football/soccer as long as you were not rough and teaching me to crotchet and cross stitch, my other Grandmathers Toongabbie and Maryong also fed my love of crafts and cooking.

I reaslise what a rich foundation laid by my Grandmothers and Great-Grandmother early in my life and I am so grateful for their time and sharing.

I am a Granny now and it is so important to me to follow on in their footsteps and I have spent this year of waiting fruitfully stitching.

Along the way Praveen got to enjoy his first game of checkers, he knows he will have to get up to speed to play with the littlies and is looking forward to it.

I made these at home, I am most intereted in stitching by hand, not machine.... and they are a bit 'rustic'.

When I took them to the workshop to ask Bulbir to put binding on them, he and Madhu Madam were thrilled with the idea and recoginzied the game Ludo, checkers was not known to them.....

and then

the funny bit- they looked at my cutting and I could see them searching around in their mind about how to say it was not very straight without sounding rude to me. Haha!! ๐Ÿ˜„

So whilst I am sharing the basic idea with you, I do suggest you work in a way that is soothing to you.

For me that is hack it out and sit and stitch it on my lap.

You might like to use a ruler, and one of those scary sharp cutting wheels for a laser esge.

I wove the strips together and then used an open blanket stitch to applique them to the backing.

You could use a wide, tight zigzac stitch on your machine to stitch them down.

To Cut 

I am refering to the kits we have available in our shop 

You can also use fabric you have to hand.

1. Base- heavy weight fabric finished size will be 42 x 42 cm
 [ 16.8inches- inch people, you might have to do a little adjusting, my brain won't cope with sorting this for you- sorry]

2. You need 2 colours for the check pattern
NOTE the strips on the border edge need to be wider so you can cover the edges with piping.

Colour 1 & Colour 2
Cut 42 cm x 5 cm x 6 pieces
Cut 42 cm x 6 cm x 2 pices

3. This is the magic part
- weave the strips through each other to create your grid.
- I start and do it roughly, 
- then a start on one edge and pin the first strip into place and then really snuggle the next stip up to it and pin it down
- then I stitch that strip. 
- If I pin everything at once I get a lot of pins in hands pricks- not fun. You can see how I know that in the photo.... too many pins at once and you have to take care.

Working on the narrow strip for a Ludo board- same idea though.
4. Continue until finished all the strips and then add a 1cm piping to bind the edges of your board and you are ready to go.

Note board is square- Bulbir and Madhu made sure of that, just my photo is wonky.

Next time I will write about the counters- suffolk puffs with a button on top
Ludo board it same idea and a bit more .