Tuesday, June 30

The Cocoon

The Cocoon will emerge from a torn bedsheet. A cotton sheet made soft and with use and washing for more than a decade.
The idea to repurpose the sheet as a kimonoish robe came from Spirit Cloth - Jude Hill's blog as well as the Instagram account @ragmates2020 where like minded people are showcasing their work.
I'm no dressmaker so the kimonoish robe is the result of research on Pinterest.
The king size sheet allowed me to get the kimono as a single piece garment.
I couldn't wait to attach a couple of patches.
A rust dyed patch was the first addition. I attached it to the base fabric with my interpretation of sashiko. The second patch was from an experiment with bleach. I did blanket stitch around the bleached out splotches.
There is no plan as far as placement of patches, it's just whatever strikes me at the moment. So while planning the next patches I decided the sleeves ought to be symmetrical. The rest of the robe will be asymmetrical. That's the plan at the moment.
Started attaching other bits of fabric. The patches overlap and I do running stitch, almost like darning through the patches and the base fabric.

This project of The Cocoon really ties in well with my effort to adopt more sustainable living practises. To reduce the consumption of resources, and see the potential of reusing and recycling things and materials which I already possess.
I'll be looking at Kantha, Japanese boro and Sashiko for inspiration. I want to embellish the Cocoon with things in my environment -  the flora and fauna. I hope I can capture the balance and harmony of the natural world which surrounds me and constantly inspires and leaves we wondering and delighted.

Friday, June 26

Jams, Pickles and Chutneys

These days my interactions with the world happens on Instagram.
It's here that I get inspired and learn a thing or two. It's also the place where I get to participate in projects.

'The plan is to create a printed/stitched fabric quilt that explores your individual experiences, thoughts & emotions collectively about your time in
Your contribution will be made into an amazing quilt, which will showcase beautifully your individual response to the global pandemic.' - Sue Brown.

There was the choice of making a collagraph plate and sending it across to Sue to be printed and then embellished with embroidery or to make one that's the same size - 10 cm × 10 cm but embroidered.
I went for the embroidered option.
The pandemic had me in the kitchen re evaluating what we cook. It's an opportunity to use locally grown seasonal produce - fruit and vegetables in my cooking not that I've been one to scour the pantries online for exotic ingredients. To learn to preserve and buy sufficient ingredients and use them judiciously and creatively.
I made jams, pickles and chutneys during the two month long lockdown. Strawberries were going cheap because they couldn't be transported to the cities. I made two batches in fact. My first attempt at jam making and the results were encouraging.
Then I made plum jam which reminded me of boarding school and the jams which were on the table for breakfast- plum jam, marmalade which I never liked and bilberry jam. Made from seasonal fruit which were grown locally.
It was a bonus if we got a plum seed when we took a spoonful of jam. We would suck on the seed and ultimately crack it open and eat the white kernel inside.

When the lockdown coincided with the start of the mango season  I decided to make Chundo - a sweet and savoury mango pickle which matures in the hot summer sun. It's a no cook pickle which I love and I had all the ingredients as well as two months of intense sunlight, the most important ingredient for making  Chundo the slow old fashioned way. Brings back memories of my years at design school. Lime pickle and green chilly pickle were made and shared with friends.
As for chutneys I was looking for recipes which use parts of fruits and vegetables  like the skin to make chutneys and other accompaniments in a meal.
One chutney was with the  white portion of  the watermelon rind. The other chutney to try is with the peel of the ridge gourd.
A number of these recipes which lay forgotten are being rediscovered during these uncertain times where people are being forced to be frugal.

My contribution to Same Sea, Different Boat. The finished piece with bottles of jams and pickles.
Left to right - Plum jam, Strawberry jam and Chundo. In front is the small round bottle of green chilly pickle.
Now to mail this piece to Sue in the UK.
I hope the postal service has begun to function, last time I checked it was only medicines which could be posted. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I hope all of you are safe and well.
The numbers of infected people are on the verge of exploding I think in India.
Health services are overwhelmed in certain cities. Not long before communities are infected because people are moving from infected areas to districts where the infection was low. Totally irresponsible and selfish.
What a year it's been.

Friday, June 12

Spotting Purple Bougainvillea

There's a particular purple bougainvillea which you see only around Coonoor.
The colour is intense, and in summer - April and May it blooms and it's one mass of purple blooms with no leaves visible.
Unlikemost other bougainvillea this particular one grows large and thick becoming a tree.
This young plant promises to grow into a major show stopper.

This is what I meant when I said it grows into a tree.
This particular bouganivillea plant at a firend's place must be a couple of decades old.
I've got myself some cuttings.
In the meantime I'll continue to spot Purple bougainvillea around town.