Saturday, 6 April 2013

Works in Progress

Stitching and dyeing are both underway. Stretched on my Mum's old freestanding needlework frame is an indigo piece I wrapped and dyed in Kutch. I am adding stitches to it little by little (slow work because my fingers are full of hacks due to chilly weather).

Yesterday was my long-awaited first dyeing day at home. Cotton perle, boucle silk yarn, various weights of wool yarn and some linen and khadi cotton fabrics all took their turn in the dyepot, followed by khadi and other handmade papers. I ran out of space to hang everything up but I'll fix that for next time. I was in blue heaven!

Friday, 8 March 2013


That's my state of mind as well as temperature! Very happy to be home because I have brought so much colour and sunshine back with me. Lots of good memories and images from the last month and a substantial chunk of work underway too. 
March too is a busy month, with workshops and visits and presentations about the residency, but I am itching to carry on exploring with indigo.

Swati and Murji are already hard at work at Heriot Watt, and Swati is planning to interview several weavers in the Borders as she gathers stories from both sides of the world.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Just to say...

...I am heading back to Scotland at the weekend and look forward to being able to post images from the last month's explorations and experiments. Wifi here has been of the 'lite' variety lately when I have succeeded in getting online at all. It just about copes with emails but uploading images is too much to hope for.
So I'm sad to be leaving this rich seam of textiles behind but I have lots of great experiences to look back on, and a thousand ideas to take forward. I am definitely planning to share my knowledge and images with like minded souls so let me know if you would be interested in having me speak to your group and show them the treasures I have gathered. :)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Indigo and White

Picture-free post, I'm afraid, but just to say that I am busy at Kala Raksha, knitting the rest of my hand dyed indigo yarns, drawing decorative 'bits' for the map, and reading textile books. An excursion tomorrow means we should catch up with Murji at home and have another chance to drool over his handwoven shawls. We also plan to visit a seller of antique and vintage Kutchi embroidered pieces. The pace here is exceedingly sloooooow which is still proving difficult for this Westerner to adjust to!

PS Have just amended setings (again) so if you want to comment it should work now.

Saturday, 16 February 2013


My indigo dyed wool/cotton handspun, and some samples straight off the loom.

Off to Kala Raksha in the morning, travelling down with Anuja who will be teaching there this month. Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting lots of new ones as I start work on a map of textile artisans who have studied at Kala Raksha and work in Kutch.... Lucky me!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Last Day at Khamir

I've been weaving most of the morning and am almost finished my mini sample blanket using Kala cotton warp and weft plus my handspun and dyed wool/cotton mix. Meanwhile the pieces I stitched yesterday to create shibori have gone off to be dyed with the block printed ones and I will get them back somehow next week. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Quick update

Yesterday I was at Ajrakhpur with block printer Juned, and Ghatit and Meera from Khamir. Just so you are clear! Having stretched out the fabrics on the print table, Juned marked up my simple design on the fabrics and his brother quickly applied resist paste using the blocks I had chosen.

They look odd here, a yellow fabric with brown paste. The yellow is because the fabric was first boiled in a solution containing myrobalan, a natural mordant. The resist paste is a mixture of natural ingredients too. Once the alchemy of indigo dyeing has taken place, the resist will be removed and I should have lovely rich dark fabrics with the design in white (or more realistically pale blue, as the indigo will tint it slightly).

I have also done some shibori on two other pieces and they will all be dyed together. I have high hopes of the resultant set of designs, which I plan to stitch into once back home.