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Ha!

So I saw some dumpling pouches somewhere recently. And I felt the irresistible urge to make one again.

I’d made this (a couple of them, I rarely make things singly) a while ago, using the same tutorial. I think I either made the smaller version that time, or I printed the template out at less than 100%. This time something seemed off so I compared the printout to the screen and reprinted at 100%.

The pattern/tutorial

The pattern (tutorial) is fairly straightforward, although one or two things could have been clearer. Also, you have raw exposed seams inside which need the extra step of covering with binding. The zipper is fiddly, being curved.Still, the finished pouch is cute enough that you feel like forgiving it all its idiosyncrasies.

My materials

The exterior is rexine (faux leather) that I bought at my daughter’s insistence. She’s currently on a break after her school year finished and is filling time sewing and doing sundry crafts. She wanted to sew with this. I think for now the indoctrination in stash building is working well 😉 Also, I was very happy with the customer service from the store (Fagnia Impex at Nagpada). That’s where I go for my bag hardware and faux materials.

I know the tassel is a little off, but I wanted to draw attention away from the workaday zipper. I’m yet to find a good local source for jazzy zippers… I’ve only found metal zippers by the yard or so-so plastic zippers. So I make do, although I also have some “fancy” zippers I’ve got through Aliexpress.

I suspect buying finite zippers and chopping them down may not be very sound cost-wise but well. Needs must.

I’m happy I went with the contrasting colour for this zip, although I looked at a yellow one as well.

I borrowed these cosmetics from my daughter, since I have none of my own. I think the nail paints are half size.

And ideas for future projects

Which leads to the thought that perhaps I can enlarge the template and make larger pouches. I could then use my metal zippers which would look jarring on this petite size. And have a go at decimating my rexine stash.

Does that sound like a plan to you?

With summer upon us in Mumbai, weaving is suddenly a smidgen less appealing, except that it’s more portable.

One more photograph before I go, because this is so cute despite the iffy topstitching. Do forgive the poor lighting.

I was playing around with a scheduling app a few days ago, inspired by a weeklong spring clean by Makelight. I’m sorry to report I didn’t finish following up on that but maybe at some point I will.

Those of you who read my blog by visiting it might notice a strangeness. I tried to redo the theme and in the process I lost some settings 😟

Then there was the experiment to set up a payment mode for my products, right here rather than on any e-retail platforms. I added a PayPal button to the green scarf I wove a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if it’s working though.

So why have my experiments flopped?

1. Scheduling flopped because I didn’t build up enough content for scheduling to make sense. I’m finding it difficult to write a couple of blog posts a week and only manage to post Instagram pics because they don’t require much content.

2. Changing themes wasn’t a success because I know just enough WordPress to deconstruct and not enough to build (a little knowledge. And so on).

3. Payment may have sunk because a. I didn’t actually publicise it besides asking one friend to check it out and/or b. I’m not sure I did it correctly.

So now what’s next for this lab of mine?

  • Should I admit defeat and give up this online selling attempt and stick to word of mouth?
  • Should I give in and hire an expert (the consequent question would be, is the expense justified at this stage of my craft business or will it ever be?)
  • Just keep on keeping on and hope somehow I manage to whip myself and my online presence into shape with no outside help?

One thing that I do seem to be able to do is make stuff.

Now to find a way to keep these things moving on so I can make some more.

Well not really, because my hands are on my phone. But yes. I don’t have my loom with me while waiting at a class. So I thought I’d blog instead.

What, another stall setup? You’ll ask. Not exactly. It was an audition for an upcoming event. This would be the biggest bestest event ever if it happened and I’d be having about 3″ of space for my stuff. But I’m not a hundred per cent sure yet, so watch this space.

However! That yellow thing you see is my last but one scarf. Woven on my Ashford Knitters Loom, with some loopy boucle yarn.

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A customer wanted a textured stole like the one below but in a brighter colour. So I ordered this in three colours.

I had to think a little to work with the loopy yarn. Finally I had it. Having only a 7.5 dpi heddle and a 10 dpi, I used the loopy warp in every other slot of the 7.5, and the coordinating thin polyester thread alternating. When it came to threading the heddle, I used the thread in the heddle holes and the loopy yarn in the slots.

This resulted in an interesting texture, with much of the loopiness confined to the top surface and the thread on the bottom. Like so.

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To the left is one side (top as I wove) and to the other is the bottom.

As you can see, the fringe is a bit of a challenge, both because of the two different warp textures, as well as because the loopy part of the boucle is not very stably attached to the core yarn, so it unravels and becomes unloopy. I finally just knotted the strands together in groups.

I’m happy to report that a friend bought this one almost as soon as it was off the loom.

The other miraculous part of this story is that I have the exact shades of the sewing thread to match the three colours of the boucle. This also happened with the actual shawl I wove for the person I bought the boucle for originally.

In a long chain of events, she saw the substitute yarn I bought for another order and asked me to use that instead, so I went ahead and ordered it, but underestimated how much I would need. And only discovered it when I began to warp with it.

Scrambling for ideas, I ended up using my scraps of a different yarn and came up with this.

You can see where I changed yarns, from Nako Artist (the substitute) to Nako Vals (which was out of stock at the store but I had remnants from previous projects). The weft is black sewing thread.

This gave me a very rustic, thick yet loosely woven shawl and it thrills me no end that my customer (a different one!) loved it! Weaving was a challenge since the warp was a little dense and the unplied, singles nature of the Vals and the general fuzziness of the Artist (a wool blend) made making a clean shed difficult.

Sometimes serendipity is wonderful.

Coming back to the friend who I’d bought the Artist for, I discovered that Ganga Hobby India Multicolour had a shade (?) that coordinated perfectly.

So again, this worked out well. Another rustic stole with interesting texture. I followed the same basic technique with the warp, using the wool blend in the slots, since I found it tends to stick together and resist separating to make a shed, and the smooth and thinner yarn in the holes. This one ended up more grid-like, and the wool bloomed to fill in spaces.

So there you have it. If you are still reading and didn’t throw up your hands at the confusion of it all, thank you for your persistence!

And yes, I’m finishing this blog post many hours later, since I wasn’t able to get it done before the class ended.

I’m easily bored and need to be entertained, like a child. New techniques, therefore, draw me in like moths to a flame.

The most recent one I learnt is this one, for making chenille fabric. I had seen this earlier as well, but Debbie Shore released a video a few weeks ago that brought it back to my notice.

You choose several layers of fabric, sew them together at close intervals, and then snip through all but the bottom layer, between the lines of sewing.

Chenille fabric

With the natural tendency of the fabric to fray, this is how the final piece of fabric looks.

Cut chenille fabric

Then this goes into the wash to help in further deconstruction.

And there you have it! “Chenille” fabric.

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Luckily for me, Debbie had a project to go with the technique, so I didn’t just produce a museum piece (which I have been known to do; these are termed “WIPs” or “UFOs”).

It took me a while, but I sewed this up into a proper pouch.

With a lining and all, too.

Tips for effectively sewing interesting chenille fabric:

  • Choose fabrics that have enough contrast so that the layers that peek through are distinct from each other. Of course, you might choose the same colours if you’re looking for that low volume effect.
  • This is a great way to use up scraps of fabric that you don’t like the print or colours of, because only a hint of those things is finally visible
  • No need for further batting; there is enough bulk in the final chenille fabric to give you padding. This makes it an interesting technique to make baby quilts with. Then you’d only have to bind the edges.
  • If you can get long narrow bladed scissors to snip through the layers, it reduces the tedium, although there is also a special tool available (Clover calls it the Slash Cutter and Olfa has one too).
  • Patience. You need patience to sew the lines and patience to cut between them carefully. It can be tiring for your wrists and hands. I’m sure the tools I mentioned above will help with that.

So that’s a new sewing technique under my belt, thanks to Debbie Shore’s YouTube videos.

Do let me know if you also try out sewing your own chenille fabric.


I’ve begun weaving again in the past couple of months, spurred by my purchase of the 12″ Ashford Knitters Loom. I wanted a portable craft and since crochet and knitting don’t do it for me any longer, this is it. This is a thing of beauty. 

I’m happy to report that my heart still clenches within me at the sight of a shed seen sideways on a loom. As below. Those neat lines of yarn set out and waiting to be woven gives me inexplicable joy.


So I’m happy to say I’ve woven several items on the new loom as well as my older Hamanaka Olivier 24″.

And sold many, too!

As a result I haven’t been sewing much. What with juggling two looms, one at home and one at non-soccer-soccer mom duties. And then I foolishly left all the fringes to do. This meant I spent most of the last weekend (including a rare non-working Saturday) twisting the fringes of about 4 or 5 scarves of various sizes.

Twisting fringe is tough on my fingers and wrists. I thought I’d make my job easier by using the hair twisting thingummy I bought on Amazon. Unfortunately, the dratted gadget gave up the ghost after about 2 scarves. So much for buying a dual purpose gizmo. It was supposed to be helpful for styling my daughter’s hair as well.

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Finish I did, though!

I hope at some point to return to my floor loom as well. Make my yarn work harder than simply being interesting by virtue of its surface appearance alone. Celebrate the brains of weaving rather than just the beauty…

The whole of June was dry. In terms of rains in Mumbai as well as words from me on this blog. The rains have finally arrived here with a vengeance and I decided to come back and talk.

My stash is in a garage, corrugated cardboard wrapped and clingfilmed. I spent one month working on the little I’d packed for that chimeric granny square bedspread, then I was one month haunting the Weavers’ Centre in Hyderabad and learning about floor looms. After returning to Mumbai and limbo-land, my fingers got itchy. So off I went to the LYS (there is actually one, more a Local Craft Store, and very near by this city’s standards) and picked up some thread to knit a doily. I forgot my half-formed resolution to use thicker fibre for lace, and got the usual #20 equivalent.

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Got a few rounds into it and then decided my daughter and I needed head gear for the sunny walk to and wait at the bus stop. So off I went and got some acrylic yarn and matching thread. That turned into this:

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But I realised my gauge is much looser than the LYS owner thinks, and I ought really to have bought a hook a couple of sizes smaller. So I quickly went off the second hat, but miraculously, perhaps because I was making sun hats, the monsoon settled in. Now I don’t need a hat anyway.

Then I forget how, but I got itchy to crochet a doily. This time I made sure to get a thinner hook, and double the thread. I’m happy now and have got about 33 rounds done of a Japanese pattern, despite having to undo several rounds and redo them. I’m thinking this might turn into another parasol, which would be about as much use as a doily in my house. Not that I have a house at this point.

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Some time ago I wove with some gifted yarn (yarn gifted to me, not that it was exceptionally talented :p) I was trying a new technique on my table loom (Ashford, 8H, 24″) and found that the yarn was turning my loom pink. But I got a feel of the technique (overshot), and I turned that into a cushion cover (it barely fit).

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Then a friend saw it and asked me to make her a few covers. With complete freedom to choose colours. I decided to use black for background, with five different colours, and the undulating twill draft.

I haven’t been able to find a source of cotton yarn that will sell me quantities suited for my limited use. So I chose Anchor knitting cotton, which isn’t a very economical choice, but the only feasible one, since most of the colours don’t run.

I underestimated the shrinkage from weaving and from washing, so I had to add commercial fabric to make the sizes my friend wanted. It was nevertheless an interesting experience and I loved how the fabric looked on the loom.

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My friend seems to be happy with them. What struck me as strange later was that I didn’t choose any colours in the blue spectrum. Perhaps because the inspiration was in the red-ochre range? There was the green, though.

The sewing machine and I aren’t really friends, although we are on speaking terms. I’m happy if I can sew a straight seam most of the time. But I do prefer machine sewing to a needle and thread any day.

I have sewn some things for my daughter, and a few cushion covers etc. but it was a huge leap from those to quilting. The occasion of a friend having twin daughters seemed a good time to start, especially when someone pointed me to a shop in Chennai that sold jelly rolls, which I’ve been drooling over for ages but found too expensive to buy from abroad… In fact, I was so impatient to begin that while waiting for my order to be delivered, I went ahead and chopped up and sewed some fabric I had on hand.

Read the rest of this entry »

I decided to see if having an app would make me blog better.

In the past year or more I’ve become obsessed with weaving, helped along by some ennui in knitting and crochet, plus an odd sort of pain in my left forefinger, the one that tensions the yarn when I crochet. Which served as an excuse to do more weaving.

I now have three looms, and have been waffling about getting a fourth.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, admire these.

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Regular readers might remember the shawl-turned-tablecloth-turned-parasol I wrote about a few years ago. I’ve gone and done it again, but much smaller this time. Read the rest of this entry »

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