Monday, January 30

Completed CQJP & Journal page - January

Here's my first CQ block completed for the CQJP challenge, just in time as January draws to a close.Embellished with stitches from TAST. I'm still working on the journal part of the page.
Update - 4th Feb
I decided to update this post with pictures of the journal page for January which I completed this morning.
This is how the two pages look side by side. 
This then is the journal part.I was looking for a cross stitch pattern of a Dragon for Chinese New Year and when I came across this free pattern here  I simply had to make it a part of the page although it extends a little beyond the page and I had to do away with the pattern at the top.
Its a busy weekend. I have to start on the CQJP and journal page for February and there's a certain scarf that I'm making very slow progress on - I need a longer day if that's possible to do all that needs doing.    . 

Monday, January 16

CQJP Block for January

I've finally got the basic crazy quilt block done, for the January page of the Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP).
I've used pieces of solid coloured tussar silk, the colours are those I associate with the five day trek up in the Himalayas. I'll be drawing on things I saw on the trek to embellish the block too.
The block is 6" x 6".
My CQ (Crazy Quilt) blocks are going to be the illustration in a manner of speaking for a fabric journal of things, places and events which I participate in or are of some significance to me during the coming year.
Now to begin embellishing the seams of the CQ block. Should be able to show you some progress in a couple of days. I've given it some thought and decided to combine TAST ( Take a Stitch Tuesday) in this fabric journal rather than creating a separate fabric sampler. Two stitches  Fly Stitch and Blanket Stitch for the first two weeks of January have been announced. Got quite a bit to catch up with.  
Hope your weekend was good. I cooked up a storm for our annual Pongal brunch which was so much fun. Our guest list is constrained to ten because of the size of the vessels I have but the guest list is threatening to grow which means I'll have to invest in larger vessels.
Hope your week is good, I'll be tackling watercolours later this week during the day and embellishing a certain CQ block and scarf during the evenings.

Friday, January 13

-5 and Breathless at 9,000ft.

Glimpses of our trek in the Himalayas. 2012 was ushered in silently at 9,000 ft  high up in the Himalayas while we slept or tossed and turned in our sleeping bags at -5 degrees C.
Frozen fingers didn't stop me sketching on the first morning of the new year, had to set the right tone for the rest of the year. The tents at Manjhi and a frozen stream between the tents. 
  Gathered around the fire to keep warm and drink tea. L and going clockwise - Nabeen one of the mule drivers, Amit, Ramesh, Charu, Vamsi and Indu with her back to the camera.
Water heating in a large vessel. Everything was cooked or heated on a wood fire so the drinking water and food had a smoky flavour to it. There were two Nepalese cooks on the trek - Dipinder and Kamal  who took such good care of us. 
Frozen doesn't describe how cold we were. Nothing like a fire to warm you up, thermals and three or four layers don't work quite like a wood fire. 
Agoda village clings to the mountain side.The older houses are made of stone and wood and the roofs have slate tiles but the newer ones are made of brick and cement and have cable television. 
The women in the mountains are a hard working bunch.They walk kilometers in the mountain to gather and carry heavily laden baskets of firewood and fodder for their animals  like the woman in the picture above.. 

Vasu Dev Rawat our guide. His encouragment and patience made it possible for me to do this trek. This beautiful dog found us at Manjhi and accompanied us down the mountain, all the campsites were closed for the season and we were the last ones down from Dodital and Manjhi. He belongs to no one and accompanies groups of trekkers up and down the trail.  

 Pathways strewn with boulders and rocks which wind precariously along the mountainside connects villages and people. These narrow paths are used by man and mule to transport everything from the towns in the valley,  there are no motorable roads. Don't want to think what one would do in an emergency.  
Walking down to Bebra.The grass and shrubs on the mountainside are burnt. I like the colours in this photograph and I'm going to use the same colour palette for the first page in my Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP).  
Don't you like the illustration of that trekker?  

Bridge over the stream at Bebra. The water was icy cold and froze in the pipes at night..

Snow dusted mountain tops.The weather was unpredictable, sunny one moment, cloudy and windy the next.  
Devi or the goddess is worshipped in the mountains. This tree we passed had one rupee coins wedged into the trunk of the tree and flags and cloth trimmed with tinsel were tied on the tree. Our guide told us pujas were performed at the base of the tree for the Goddess Durga. Elements from this picture like the coins, tinsel and colours are going to find their way into my CQJP page for January.   
L to R. Charu, Vamsi, Ramesh and Maya. Tired with sore feet and wobbly legs but with a great sense of elation and achievement. We did it! It was a tough five days with many a first but we got there and back in one piece. Hurray for trekking, we plan to do shorter treks in South India. Vamsi and Amit are talking about this trek .It would be very different.Cheers! to a more active 2012 then.