Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Look what came in the mail yesterday


Kayla had a giveaway for her 200th blog post. I was one of the lucky winners. Thanks so much!

Monkeys in Maharashtra

Langurs at Daulatabad fort
Langurs on a temple roof

I had to make an unexpected trip to Aurangabad for work last week. Since my husband hadn't been to this part of Maharashtra before, he decided to come along. We were able to take in quite a few of the sights around town. The weather was perfect for the most part, cool enough to knit, and I was able to finish my Monkey socks.

Monkey Socks

I used size 0 needles and followed the pattern as written with the exception of adding a picot edge. I enjoyed knitting this pattern, and look forward to using it again.

I have a big report due this month end, and as usual, I'll have to scramble to get it done. So no sewing till I finish work, but I hope to upload some photos from our trip soon. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Diana messenger bag

Last year, I made three bags using Amy Butler's Birdie Sling pattern. I gave two away as presents, and kept one for myself. It is the perfect size for me (80% of the original pattern), and very sturdy, so I brought mine with me to India.

Amy Butler Birdie Sling

I have been using it almost every day since I got here, but as you can see, it shows dirt very easily. I figure India is a *touch* dustier than the U.S., because I can swear it never got so dirty there! Although the bag washes well, I have to wash it quite frequently to keep it clean. I decided to make a new one, using a darker fabric. Besides, I wanted to test my newly repaired sewing machine.

Diana messenger bag

I used the Burdastyle Diana bag tutorial, and added a few features - a zippered pocket at the back, and a simple slip pocket and another zippered pocket on the inside. I used two layers of interfacing on the strap to make it sturdy, and used a magnetic clasp to keep the flap closed.

Diana messenger bag

Photo taken by my husband.

Diana messenger bag

It easily holds an umbrella, a book or two, my wallet, my water bottle, and a snack. I think it'll see a lot of use, and also keep my other bag looking clean, longer. I really like it! So do my husband and sister, who have both put in a request for a bag of their own!

Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sewing machine update

Sewing machine repair

I have never seen anyone repair a sewing machine before, so naturally I was a little anxious when the repair man brought out a hammer from his tool bag. He also used a spanner (wrench) and a screw driver. It took him about 25 minutes to giver her a tune up, and now she sews like a dream. I feel a little silly for not having done this earlier. I just assumed that it was user error and not the sewing machine, since I have never used a non-motorized sewing machine before.

I plan to sew a bit today, cook lunch, do some report writing for work, and depending on what the Rain Gods have in store for us, maybe go for a nice walk. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When it rains, it pours

Figuratively speaking. And literally, I suppose.

  1. My sewing machine has a mind of her own. The tension is off, but I'm not quite sure what to do about it. I have tried all I can. I plan to call the repair man today. It should be an easy fix.
  2. I had a bad bout of hives. I'm feeling much better now, but it was not fun. Probably something I ate.
  3. Our wireless router died. Just like that. We are still figuring out what to do with it. I'll have to call the service center in Bangalore (I think).
  4. Everything happened all at once.

In other news,

  1. It has been raining almost without break for the last three days. I *love* it. It smells wonderful, the temperature is perfect, everything is green.
  2. I even pulled out my abandoned project and knit a few rows.
  3. I went to yoga yesterday after a week-long break.
  4. We baked chocolate chip cookies. I couldn't find brown sugar in any of the grocery stores here, so we used jaggery instead. They were delicious!

I'll leave you with some shots I took at the Sunday market.

Sunday Market

Sunday Market

Sunday Market

Sunday Market

Friday, July 10, 2009

Replacing Summer with Monsoon

Coconut walla

Tender coconut

A summer time favorite: nariyal pani. Drinking coconut water and then scooping up the tender coconut inside.

Bhutta walla

Bhutta walla

My favourite monsoon snack: bhutta. Roasted corn on the cob, with red pepper powder, salt, and lemon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pattern making

You might remember my lament from before about not having any sewing patterns at hand in India. I have been sewing mostly bags and other odds and ends, but no clothes. I considered taking a sewing class, but most of them focus on kurtas, churidars, and salwars. While I want to learn to sew all of these garments, I also want to learn how to make a simple skirt and top. Besides, most classes have long hours (or run all weekend long), making them too much of a commitment for me right now.

I looked in several book stores around the city for a pattern making book, but couldn't find anything to suit my needs. My urge to sew clothes led me to the old part of the city. Narrow lanes and old architecture make visits to the area an adventure each time. I was afraid of getting run over if I stopped paying attention for even a second, so no photos, but I found a book I liked!

Drafting patterns

After much measuring, squatting and bending over newspaper and tracing paper, I came up with my first sewing pattern. I decided on an A-line skirt. Although it is a very simple garment (almost doesn't require a pattern), I figured it would help me understand dart size and placement, issues of ease and proportion, and about pattern drafting in general. I am excited to see how the skirt turns out, and will keep you posted.

Do you have any experience or tips on drafting patterns?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The weekend

It wasn't a long weekend here in India, but we made the most of it.

Bandra station

Bandra train station


Drinking chai at the train station

We watched a play on Friday night, and then went to dinner. The food was tasty, but rather rich. I didn't think it was altogether possible, but the play was though thought provoking and entertaining at the same time. We enjoyed it.


It rained all day on the 4th of July, but we braved the rain and traffic, and made it to the American Consulate party. It was fun, and my sari didn't take too long to dry either!

Hope you enjoyed the long weekend. Happy Monday!