Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A trek to the Valley of Flowers

The February IMQG challenge was to depict a favourite holiday in a mini quilt. The one that stood out in my mind was our trek to the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, a trek to a height of 12000 ft!!!! A very first trek for me! What made it so very special was the emotion and love that went into the actual experience. The trek was a tribute for my mother in law, who had always wanted to do the trek, but died before she could make it. My mother in law was an amazing person and I had the honour of her living with me for the last 20 years of her life. She had been tragically widowed when my husband was 4, but had overcome her grief and lived an incredible life, bringing joy and laughter to all the people's lives she touched. A year after she died we decided to take her ashes to the Valley of Flowers and scatter them there. We sent out a mail to her 4 children and their children saying this is what we were planning. Believe it or not 15 of us, her kids, grand kids and even a 9 month great grand son, trekked up to the Valley! It was a tribute to a person so very special. By now the family were all living across the globe, but everyone made it for the 10 day trek! It was a truly memorable experience!
This is my rendition in fabric.....of an amazing experience!
I have done it as a CQ (crazy quilt) piece (16"X16") as this lent itself to the thought I had. Besides its the kind of quilting I am most comfortable with.  I had imagined the Valley to be a place full of large heavily scented flowers like the rhododendrons, but it turned out to be quite different! The Valley is a unique eco system and what confronts the eye as one enters it is a mass of tiny delicate alpine flowers, not at all what one would expect in the Himalayas.
I started by getting my fabrics together
I then visulised what I wanted to do and played around with the pieces, and then started piecing them together. I flod the edges and tack them one on top of the other, and cut off the extra bits.

 This was the final piece ready to be worked on:
I have had no experience of doing anything fancy with my machine, but have always liked to embroider by hand, using a variety of different stitches!

 We were blessed during the trek to be able to see the beautiful blue poppy....hence the single flower in the middle is the blue poppy!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

TAST Week 3 and 4

We have been in Cochin and Coonoor and so I had to work the 2 sets of stitches for TAST week 3 and 4 together once I got back. Week 3  was the running stitch and week 4,  the cross stitch. I had great fun practicing the  stitches and playing around with the threads. The running stitch can actually be enhanced to do all sorts of things as can be seen from my sample:
I discovered my  beautiful pencil bag given by Nafisa and one in which I keep my art brushes, is made with a variation of the running stitch! I give a picture here. What is amazing is that the creater of this bit of needle work has worked it on straight fabric, whereas I have been using Aida cloth so I can count the stitches!
One of the first stitches I learnt was the cross stitch. My grand mother gave me a small piece of Aida and coloured threads and showed me how to work the stitches, making sure the crosses were always the same way! Since then I have done a lot of cross stitch including tapestry and loved it. I didn't realise till I started participating in the TAST, what an amazingly versatile stitch it is, and there are so many variations. So here is my sampler of the cross stitch: