Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Time flies when you are enjoying yourself.    We've been back home for three weeks which have been full what with celebrations and a family gathering.     Thoughts of early hibernation came to mind - all that rain and grey skies.

Onwards and upwards.    Delved into the sewing 'basket' and discovered a pair of jeans that I had promised I would patch way back in the Spring, along with various garments that needed buttons replacing.   Felt very virtuous.

then there are the leaves, big brown soggy piles of them
not very inspiring!  

and now tidy black bags of wet leaves  and that is only from the front garden
I am thinking I should try to procure some really bright refuse bags!

the back garden will probably produce as many bags again
still, it is very good exercise lugging bags up hill and down dale

time for some colour

I never take any stitching with me on my trips instead I prefer to
sketch, make notes, take photographs and catch up with reading

this time I thought I would, however, hardly a stitch was sewn

the stitching on the old distressed cushion from 
Ghanerao  had to be recorded in stitch

oops some of the beads came home with me

I have some 'found objects' to be included at some point
meanwhile I have been researching Chemanthi Stitch which is
used as flower petals on this fragment of Indian embroidery
which I think might be Rabari from Bhuj, Kutch

I found Lakshmi Sadala's blog with a brilliant tutorial on Chemanti 
stitch, not only in pictures but also a video.    I have to admit it 
took me a few goes before I cracked it

a little stitchy sketch on the go

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


a bed of lotus flowers as far as the eye could see

a cushion that has seen better days

green paint pot

I just love this colour and I brought back 
pigment paste (f.geen) to mix with white
emulsion to the required colour

that will be after Christmas then!

a terracotta vessel 

Adavarsi temple with terracotta horses
given as thanks for favours from their god

wonderfully naive with daubs of paint, dots, lines etc
some are huge, some small    outside a pile of discarded/broken
horses to make room for new ones    eventually they will break
down in the heat and rain, returning to the earth

one last festival

while we were drinking coffee we could see lots of these floating in the lake

tiny taziyas - bigger ones appeared later in the day

it was the Muslim festival of Ashura   
the Taziya represents the mausoleum of Imam Hussain

the were crowds of men gathered at the ghat with their taziyas
big and small, waiting to load them on to the boat
(women and children were there enjoying a picnic but not taking part)

with a great deal of banging of drums in the distance the taziyas were submerged

later in the evening we witnessed the procession of huge taziyas wobbling their
way through the small streets of the town.    These were spectacular especially the 'Badi Paten Ka Taziya, measuring 35ft in height.    

we went to sleep with the sound of drums

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


it was time to say goodbye to the Gujarat country side and head back to Udaipur 

no more rural scenes like this

a group of Rabari on the road to the next camp
camels and donkeys carrying all their worldly goods
sheep and goats following on behind

For us it was National Highway No 8 to Udaipur, a five hour journey with a couple of breaks for chai and then lunch.   At one dhaba we watched astonished as fourteen people emerged from the inside of a 4x4, another four passengers on top, plus luggage.

The road cuts through the Aravalli Hills, all ups and downs.   Lorries drivers choose any lane they fancy and since they have huge heavy loads the likelihood of them changing lanes is remote.     On long steep hills they hardly move, just slowly chug to the top.   Small cars take scary chances and weave in and out.   Not all complete their journey, we witnessed a couple of horrible accidents.    Sadly, many drivers think they are invincible.

only five days left before we leave Udaipur

the one thing I really miss is proper coffee -  first stop, Ginger Cafe and Bakery
where they serve a jolly good expresso and rather nice pastries!    

it's a nice place to relax by the cool of the lake   right now the outside sitting area 
is restricted!    the flower pots marks the normal height of the water
of course there is the option of a little paddle!

 Lake Palace Hotel in the centre and on the left Lake Pichola Hotel

we celebrated out 45th wedding anniversary on 1 November

supper at Upre on the roof of the hotel

photo taken by one of the 'boys'
I think it captures a moment of laughter and fun

a chocolate cake with a firework candle
in the background you can see the lights of the Palace

we were upgraded to the Rani Suite
hugh room with two balcony windows looking out on to the lake  in one 
swing seat and the other mattresses and bolster cushions to lounge on
while we were having supper the boys had been busy,  the floor 
was covered in rose petals    they also decorated the bed  with rose
petals in the form of a heart - ahh, so romantic!

the last few days passed very quickly, just relaxing, having suppers with 
friends,   a little shopping  - eventually came the day to pack the suitcases
it's always sad to leave, but already we are making plans to return in February!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Wagwam Part 2

I forgot to mention the Snake Man!   Fortunately, or not, Keith took photos, plus some of the embroidery ladies, shopping with my men, and a close up of the sewing machine.

The Snake Man joined us at Mr. Green's house.  He saves snakes that are in the wrong places and returns them to the wild.   We looked it his photos of cobras, pythons and other slithery customers, and yes he has been bitten!

When at the farm he appeared with a large tin box, inside a rat snake.

The Snake Man, me, Mr. Singh and Samshu, plus snake
I have no fear of snakes, but as it was very long and wriggly
I couldn't quite bring myself to hold alone, so opted for a
joint hold!   It was soft and silky and very pleasant to touch.

released back to nature - happy snake

the embroidery ladies

bed covers stitched on medium weight cotton and embroidered with
a thick cotton  Grandma is working on the red one and can finish 
a bed cover in less than a week!

another bed cover with beautiful embroidery
in the left hand corner you can just see part of a pillow case

the embroidery shop , with all my men!
I am clutching a handful of threads, a gift from the shop owner

and, finally

a close up of the vintage sewing machine

I love receiving comments and replying to them, but I need your e mail address 
instead of 'noreply-comment@blogger.com!

Monday, 10 November 2014


This was to be a very full day.    We left Sayla around 8 am with our host Mr. Singh who had arranged a meeting with 'Mr. Green' an ecologist from Wagwam.   Only a thirty minutes away and we entered the old walled city.

the town is well known for bhandani work and sitting outside their house 
two ladies  are busy tying cloth ready to be dyed

Mr. Green was an excellent host.   We had a Gujurat breakfast of a curried rice dish, dry curried vegetables, and a dipping sauce for the local 'crisps' -  gram flour extruded into hot fat, so delicious.  All washed down with cups of chai.

Then to the main room to look at his photographs of wild life, peruse his amazing library before setting out to the countryside in search of the Indian Eagle Owl.    Success, one sitting on the nest, and two soaring over head.  Magnificent birds. Mr. R was delighted.    You can find pix on his website shortly.

meanwhile, my little contribution to bird photography

 painted storks sorting themselves out atop a very high tree
lots of comings and goings with nesting materials

Chai at the farm and then back into town to meet two sisters whotaught local ladies to stitch.    We were shown lots of work, nicely doneand fell in love with an elephant hanging, but it wasn't for sale.

I was given books of samples to look at - crochet, tatting, knitting - sample slipper above,   no hand stitching, but what looked like free machine work   

there were two rooms with really old sewing machines 

I couldn't work out whether the ladies were learning for domestic use or earn money by selling their work

we were directed to the shop, but there was no sign of anythingas nice as the elephant hanging, or even hand knitted socks.

I did find some thick Khardi cloth, perfect for the indigo pot.This did cause some hilarity - it's used for dusters!   Went mad and bought lots, it weighed a ton.   Brought some home with me, the rest I have left with Samshu until our return.  If the cloth doesn't dye well, he will have enough dusters to last a very long time

we had an appointment with a very nice man, who organises ladies who do stitch very beautifully - but first we had to try some Jain dishes prepared especially for us.   Delicious.

We met the stitching ladies who were very welcoming.After Diwali their cupboards were almost bare.   Work in hand included bed covers stitched in thick cotton and pillow cases
Shalwar kameze and dupatta sets - bhandi, tied and dyed.  I have been invited back for stitching lessons.

I brought this fine piece home - actually it is doubled,possibly to be cut into cushions.   Stitched in a viscose thread, again closed herringbone stitch, outlined in chain stitch.   On ironing out the creases I realised justin time that it has been stitched on polyester cloth!

We went to the local market looking for metal framed mirrors.  When I say 'we' I was accompanied by four men who probably had never stepped inside a haberdashery shop!
It was hilarious.

Walking back through alleys we came across a man sewing on an ancient sewing machine, c.1880.

love the foot pedals
the arm of the machine looks like a clamp
the sewing bed is really tiny 
fabric is stitched from left to right
the box on the right had lots of
interesting things in it!

and so, back to Sayla for a wash and brush up, we have a drinks invitation at the palace.

a long and interesting day

Sayla embroidery

Pictures of the two pieces I bought from the ladies at the farm

40 x 45 cm
a typically constructed bag
rectangular with a beautifully pleated edge

the design is couched thick cotton thread
before stitching the thread alternatively
knotted and a white bead added

40cm polyester square

the intricate design is stitched using fine wool thread,
closed herringbone and back stitch
the hand knotted fringe is also fine wool thread