Monday, February 27, 2012

Chain Stitch-1

TAST-2012-8th Week-Chain Stitch

The Stitch for 8th Week in TAST challenge is-Chain Stitch. The link to Sharon's page who is running this challenge is here:

Here are my efforts:
1. Chain Stitch
2. Chain Stitch with varied lengths of stitches
3. Magic Chain or Checkered Chain Stitch
4. Chain Stitch with Running Stitch
5. Chain Stitch with French Knots
6.Chain Stitch with Bullion Knots
7. Chain Stitch with Beads in the center
8. Chain Stitch whipped at the bottom
 9. Chain Stitch whipped both sides in one direction
10. Chain Stitch whipped both sides in opposite direction
11. Chain Stitch whipped as a whole
12. Two Chain Stitch rows whipped in one direction
13. Two Chain Stitch rows whipped in opposite direction
14. Chain Stitch with glass tube beads
15. Chain Stitches laced
16. Chain Stitch with beads
17. Chain Stitch laced on one side
18. Chain Stitch laced on both sides
19. Chain Stitch-each stitch laced separately
20. Chain Stitch laced from the center
21. Chain Stitch with three coloured threads (6 strands each)
22. Three Chain Stitch rows interwoven
23. Herring Bone with Chain Stitch

Well there are lots and lots of ideas but no time. I will do them sometime. So keep an eye.....

I refrained form exploring, other varieties of chain stitches as they may be featured in TAST some time in the future.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bindi-The Forehead Art


Here are some of the various designs of Bindis we Indian Women wear:
The long line is also known as Niluvu Bottu or the vertical Bindi.The last one is called Dosa ginza or the Cucumber seed.

This is called Chandravanka Meaning sliver of the Moon or Moon. These  were worn by the kings and princes on their foreheads. This was worn by royalty.
This is Suryavanka or Sun
This is known as Namaalu or Namam Bottu. The Long line (Niluvu Bottu) in the first photograph and these ones here are worn by a sect of Brahmins known as Vaishnavites who worship lorn Vishnu or his Incarnations.

Read about them here:

Also look at the various varities of the Naamamas here:

Wow! I never knew there were so many.
You can see here Lord Balaji wearing the Naamam.
Here You can see Lord Shiva wearing the Adda Bottu or the horizontal bindi with three lines. This is worn by all the Shaivites-that is who worship Lord Shiva.
This one is known as Kalyana Tilakam or Pendli Bottu worn by the Bride and Groom of South India especially Andhras, during the marriage ceremony.
The Groom wears only the above one. But the Bride mostly wears like this:
The yellow dots I have used are in fact white ones i.e white colour is used. Since the background is white I used yellow colour.

Well more in my next keep a watch...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chevron Stitch-2

TAST-2012-6th Week-Chevron Stitch

I could not post much these past few days as I was not feeling well. I sort of felt very tired and listless and din't have the energy to spend long periods of time on my computer. My experimenting with the stitches is also not much but I am going to pick up by this week end hopefully. 

Here are some more of my experiments with Chevron stitch:

13. with French knots,
14. with glass(tube) beads and other embellishments
15. with double shaded metallic thread
16. with different colour threads and Fly Stitch anchored with Detached Chain Stitch
17. with Detached Chain Stitch and Slipped Detached Chain Stitch
18 with Silk Ribbon and Chevron used for couching
19. with Fly Stich anchored with Detached Chain (upside down)
20. First Petal Stitch was embroidered and then half Chevron Stitch was embroidered lacing around the Chain Stitches on the top side. I hope you can get the idea clearly if not, I will post a tutorial separately.
21. Chevron used as waves with different coloured threads.
22. Beaded Chevron

I still have lot to do with this stitch. I havenot yet touched the half chevron. I have so many ideas. But for now this will have to do. I am lagging behind by two weeks now.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bindi-The Forehead Art


Bindi (Hindi) or Bottu(Telugu) is the first thing you notice about an Indian Woman. It is one of the forms of make up of Indian women. This is a very ancient custom or tradition carried over the years.


It is the  dot worn by the Hindu women on their forehead which is one of the things that sets them apart from all the other women in the world. Bindi is derived from the sanskrit word Bindu meaning dot.

It is also known as Sindhoor (Hindi) Sindhooram(Telugu), Kumkuma Bottu(Telugu), Tilakam or Tilakam Bottu (Telugu).  Sindhoor means vermilion an orange coloured Mercuric sulphide. Word Sindhoor is derived from "Sindhu". Sindhu actually means an Ocean, is the famous River Sindhu Or Indus on the banks of which the ancient Indus Valley civilisation was born. It is the largest ancient civilization in the world. India got its name from that. You can read about it here:

This is one of the 16 items of make up Indian women adorn themselves with since ancient times. What are these 16 items I will deal with in a separate post. In the above picture you can see the traditional makeup of Indian women.

Who wears Bindi?

Both Women and men wear it. 

Women wear it since their birth, but it gains more significance when she gets married. A married woman whose husband is alive must wear Bindi on the forehead. They have to wear red powder (kumkum) in the partition of their hair. This is know as Mang ka tika or Sindhoor and indicates that the woman is married. When a woman gets married, her husband fills the partition of her hair with red coloured powder(kumkum) as part of the ceremony and she has to wear it for the rest of her life as long as her husband is alive. See it here:

Widows don't wear the red coloured dot. But there is lot of controversy on this aspect. Some say it is no where written in our customs that widows are forbidden to wear Bindi. But the general practice in olden days was they did not wear the red or other coloured bindis. Now no one is following this. It is a personal choice.

Shape of Bindi:

It is generally round in shape but other shapes like oval, long line etc are also worn by women. Men also wear round dot or long lined ones. Women wear the bindis in different shapes. We will talk about this in detail later.

Colour of Bindi:

Mostly in scarlet, red, maroon various shades of red or orange colour. Black, yellow and white are also used for bindi but for different reasons and occassions.

Material used: 

Sindhoor or vermillion, an orange coloured mercuric suphide was used. 

Traditionally Kumkum-the red coloured powder was obtained by mixing Turmeric with lime. This gives a red coloured powder. This was mixed with various herbs for the health of the body or the skin. Royalty used to mix musk with these powders for fragrance as well as for health reasons. Similarly, ground lotus stamens or other dried fragrant flowers like roses jasmine etc is also used.

Sacred Ash known as Vibhooti which is white or ash in colour is also used.  Generally the ash is obtained from the Yagya kund or the place where the herbs, certain types of wood like sandal wood and other ingredients along with ghee are offered to Gods by burning them in the holy fire.

Sandal wood paste is used for cooling affect and other health reasons. Widows specially use the sandal wood paste as Bindi.

The Kumkum is in powder form and used as it is. But it is mixed with water or other liquids  for painting it on various shapes. Till a few years back liquid Tilakam was sold in markets in red and various other colours which was chemical dye in liquid form. 

Now this has been replaced by stick ons.

How is it applied:

The powder form is applied with fingers. As per the tradition one should apply with middle finger. Match sticks or thin sticks were used for putting Bindis. I remember  the bunch of nails with different shaped heads(strung on to a key ring) for making different shaped bindis, my aunts had. This was first dipped in the gum and pasted on the forehead and then dipped in kumkum powder and carefully placed on the gum. other wise the liquid form of Tilkam was used. I bought a bunch for my sis some time back in Haridwar. I don't know whether she still has it.

Those who are not used to applying the powder, had a sort of gum, which was applied first on which the powder was applied. This helped in holding the powder in shape and also from spreading or smearing.

Watch out for more in my next posts...........

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Rangoli Embroidery

I have always wanted to embroider some of my Rangolis using different stitches. Rangolis on fabric through embroidery stitches is what keeps on beckoning me. But I never got to do it for lack of time. 

Now one of my dear friend Peggy Wade has transformed one of my Rangolis into a beautiful  embroidery. Just have a look:
This was my Rangoli.

Peggy has used a thread with sparkle filament. The design has been done in Back Stitch. Isn't it looking very beautiful?
Here is a close up.

Watch out for more of her work on my blog, for Peggy promised me that she is going to add more colour and other embellishments.

Thanks a lot Peggy for graciously sharing your work. 

Well now I am even more tempted to try out some of the designs my self....:)

NOTE: The Photographs of the embroidery belong to Peggy Wade and she holds the copy right.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chevron Stitch-1

TAST-2012-6th Week-Chevron Stitch

Chevron Stitch belongs to herringbone stitches family. Its been long time for me since I touched this stitch. Now that Sharon has chosen Chevron stitch for this weeks challenge, I seized the opportunity to experiment with it. 

Here is my first batch:

1-3: Chevron Stitch with different lengths of spacing
4. Chevron Stitches with beads
5. Chevron Stitch worked closely
6. Laced Chevron Stitch
7. Chevron with detached Chain Stitch
8. Chevron Stitches
9. Cheron with Bullion
10. Chevron with beads
11. Chevron pattern
12. Chevron with Herringbone

Well there is more to be explored. I was just getting the rhythm of the stitch. Keep watching my blog for updates.......

Oh by the visit Sharon TAST Page for the details of how to work the stitch and also look at the comments where the participants have left their site/blog addresses. if you visit their pages, the creativity is really worth looking at and learning. Thank you Sharon for giving all of us this opportunity  to unite and show case our work. I am enjoying visiting others pages and learning from their work.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Herringbone Stitch-1

TAST-2012-5th Week-Herringbone Stitch

This weeks Stitch was Herringbone Stitch. Visit Sharon's site for the Challenge. 

Well I have not been feeling well. Though I have thought about a lot of variations and experiments with the stitch, I could not do most of them. Actually I could hardly sit for long, let alone able to stitch. So here are a few of my doodles with the stitch:
1. Herringbone 2. Stitches worked apart 3. Stitches worked closely 4. Double Herringbone 5. Criss-cross Herringbone
6. Closed Herringbone or Double Back Stitch  7. Triple Herringbone  8. Tied Herringbone with Straight Stitch  9. Threaded Herringbone
 9. Tied Herringbone- with + stitch  10. Herringbone with French knots 11. Closed Herringbone with seed beads
 12.  Herringbone with Beads 
 13. Herringbone with Beads  14. Herringbone with Feather Stitch
14. Herringbone with Buttonhole Stitch 15. Herringbone-patterned Stitches

I have made a note of lot many other ideas, but may be I will try it later. Stitch 14 and 15 were extra challenge-combination of Herringbone with previous stitches of TAST 2012. Keep watching for more....

Eagerly waiting for the new challenge tomorrow....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Time for some gardening

Friends thanks to you all for your prayers and wishes. We are all slowly recovering. One thing about these viral infections is that the recovery takes a long time. One feels so week and listless and it takes lot of care and time to return back to normalcy. Any way, we are slowly recovering. 

Her it is pleasant. Days are hot , slowly becoming hotter, but still pleasant and nights are bearable, slightly chilly in the early mornings. This will continue till Shiva Ratri, on 20th of this month. Shiva Ratri is celebrated by praying, worshipping Lord Shiva. We fast and remain awake all the night which is very difficult chanting the name of the Lord, performing the rituals and praying in general, listening or reading to Shiva Purana. 

Well it is believed that according to our calendar, winter ends with Shiva Ratri. The summertime begins from the next day. This is one season I love. I love summers of India. 

Meanwhile, we have to attend to our gardens, planting the last few new plants as this is the last few days renaming for such activities. We also have to prepare the garden for the summertime. I recently attended a horticultural show and bought some plants and bulbs. I have planted some and yet to plant some.  

Here are some shots:
White and Yellow Chrysanthemums
 Yellow Chrysanthemums
 Pink roses from Kashmir
 Purple rose

The Chrysanthemums are local one and flower profusely. These are used for offering at temples and at home, for garlands and are also worn in the hair by women. Many other colours are also available. 

Davanam has aromatic leaves. It is used in garlands in combination with other flowers like jasmine, crossandras, chrysanthemums, lilies etc or on its own. It is an extremely delicate plant and caring for it is very difficult. It is a challenge for me. I bought them last year and planted but they did not survive. I have been wanting it in my garden for a long time. They are also very rarely available in this part where I live. these days very few are cultivating them. But I have them now in my garden....

I have been neglecting my plants for along time now, except for watering them regularly. I need to clean and organise my garden and prepare it for summer. This involves, grouping smaller plants under big trees for shade, pruning, manuring those plants and trees which bloom or fruit in summer. It is really a very difficult task to save plants from hot summers more so when there is shortage of water supply. There will be many casualties no matter how much care we take. So this week end and the coming week I have my hands full...

Keep a watch for more updates...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hello There

Hello friends. I was not able to post much these few days. My sis and my niece were down with viral fever. They had high temperatures and needed looking after. Even I was not feeling well with juggling home, work and looking after them. I feel so tired by the time I have some time for my self.

So I missed out so much. No Rangoli for Ratha Saptami. I also missed out 4th week of TAST. I did start doodling but could not do much. However I have started with this weeks stitch. Let us see whether I can do some thing. 

I have not yet recovered fully...Hope to recover soon...