Monday, 23 November 2020

Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere – Sewing Bee

Inspiration can arise in the most surprising circumstances. Recently we discovered the BBC programme ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’. I have been making most of my own clothes for some time, but had not thought of recycling either my own unused clothing or second-hand purchases.

Patrick Grant, one of the judges in the series, said something that really hit home: something about there being sufficient clothing already existing on the planet for the next six generations. Extraordinary! Also the clothes made by the competitors were so fabulous during the episodes dedicated to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, that I was immediately itching to give it a try.

I had several jumpers in my cupboard that I liked too much to throw out, and yet never wore. Two of them are 100% cotton – so well worth recycling. I find that these days I mostly wear the tunics I have made, adding a waistcoat and cardigan for warmth. Somehow, a jumper is less convenient, and I also prefer a longer garment to keep my hips and legs warm as well. (We do not have central heating, only woodstoves, so our house is sometime a bit cold.) So I set to work transforming two unused jumpers into one long cardigan. 



I used the shape of the top of the cable in the red jumper to slot into the shape of the fair-isle pattern in the second jumper. I also used a section of cable for the cuffs and neck. The button bands were made from the sleeves of the red jumper, which were plain knit. I ran a piece of green binding to cover the seam of the band attachment inside the cardigan, using a colour which picked up the green in the fair-isle. I was surprised that the knitwear did not immediately unravel once it was cut, and that lines of straight sewing before cutting was sufficient to secure it. I made lots of mistakes in this one and it took a long time (not the one and a half hours allowed in Sewing Bee!) but I am happy with the result.

Since then I have turned two cotton jumpers of my husband’s into a cardigan for him. This was much quicker. We have sorted through our cupboards and wardrobes and there will undoubtedly be more. I  also now look at charity shop clothing with a new eye!

There is something so satisfying about wearing a garment you have created – and doubly so when it has been made of something that was appreciated, but remained unused, or is recycled. Every experience in every moment is an opportunity to be inspired. 

PS I made the dress as well – but from new fabric. Perhaps this will be the last thing I make from new fabric...?

PPS Many apologies that this blog has been neglected. I am so busy! Covid has opened unexpected opportunities for myself and Ngakpa ’ö-Dzin because we are able to connect with a larger range of people virtually. Please join us for weekly meditation on Facebook Live (Aro Ling Cardiff, Tuesdays, UK time - virtual Buddhist retreat centre); look for information on online teaching via Aro Ling Cardiff or our blog and Facebook pages. Many teachings and things that may be of interest can be found on the Aro Ling Cardiff YouTube channel. If using a search engine, just look for ‘Aro Ling Cardiff’ or ‘Ngakma Nor’dzin’.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Tangle mosaic #19

I have taken part in one of Annette’s tangle mosaic projects for the first time. This is a wonderful gathering of individuals’ tiles using a single template, and brought together by Annette into mosaics.

Here is my contribution.
And here are the marvellous mosaics.






Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Next project – a bedspread

I have started on my new project – a bedspread.
Some time ago I created a few hexagons on a loom. I was a bit disappointed with the loom overall. It was difficult to get the tension correct to create a flat piece of work, and the finished hexagon was rather holey. Nevertheless I created quite a few, crocheted borders around them, and sewed them into a poncho. I wore it a few times, but was not wholly satisfied with it.
hexagons made on a loom
At Christmas I received a lovely book: Mandalas to Crochet, by a Dutch artist Haafner Linssen. I’d been looking forward to having a go at making some of these exquisite crochet circles. I would say that I am a proficient knitter, but have always been unsure about crochet. This book is fantastic and has increased my confidence considerably. Then I came across the hexagon loom creation whilst sorting through a drawer, and decided to combine saving this and exploring the patterns in the book. I filled in the centre hole of the poncho with a large crochet hexagon, and started working on adding more hexagons around it. I am aiming to turn it into a bedspread.
the centre hexagon
the next row of hexagons in pastel colours with a dark border


I’m not the most patient person when it comes to large projects. I always want the item to be finished quicker than is possible. I am enjoying creating these shapes, however, and determined to see it through. I am well on the way to finishing a set of hexagons in pastel colours to surround the original poncho shape. One more set around that and it will be wide enough for a bedspread. Then I will have to add more hexagons each end to make it long enough. I estimate at least 150 to 160 hexagons for the basic shape, and have made about 60 so far. So, ‘Long ways to go yet, hobbits...

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Final four pages of my tangling encyclopaedia - mostly Zentangle tangles toward the end

Here are the last four pages of my tangling reference project.


This one is a little sneaky, because the centre square was my contribution to Adele Bruno’s It’s a String Thing challenge #297. I did not want to stop working on my tangling encyclopaedia, but also wanted to join in this challenge -- so I combined the two.






















Creating these pages has been an interesting journey. I have noticed my confidence growing, the quality of my drawing improving, and I have been more creatively relaxed. It has also revitalised my respect for the Zentangle folk -- Rick and Maria, and Maria’s daughters Molly and Martha. I had lost faith a little during their dispute over whether other groups were stealing their method, but I now feel that there is a quality of the Zentangle approach that is special.  I believe that Zen- (meditation) -tangle (drawing) is a genuine attempt to offer meditative creativity to others.

So over the last several weeks I have succeeded in being more completely present with the line I am drawing, and giving that line my full attention. Through my own meditation practice and through my drawing I have deepened my relationship with each.

Now that this project is finished, what next? I’m not sure yet, but something will arise.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Tangling Encycoplaedia including all Zentangle official tangles

I have plodded on with my tangling encyclopaedia and it is now finished. There are eighteen  reference pages in all. Toward the end of this project I decided to find and include every ‘official’ tangle of the Zentangle Inc organisation. I used the list of official tangles on Linda Farmer’s blog. Tracking some of them down was quite a task, and several do not have published step-outs. Hopefully everything I found is accurate.

I seem to have blogged up to page 10, so here are pages 11, 12, 13, and 14.


I’ll post the last four pages tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Zendala - circular mandala-like tangleations

I have just tried out tangling mandala-like shapes for the first time. They have been in my ‘want to do’ list for a while, and finally I found time.
Zendala-Moments Template #1
Petals/Heartband/Well well who/Hut plant/Coil/Petals
 Many thanks to Annette for her Zendala Moments templates which can be found on her blog.
Zendala-Moments Template #2
Incantoo/Knase/Q-belle

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Interfaith Fire Ceremony for Buddha Day at Aro Ling Cardiff

At Aro Ling we were delighted to be part of a series of events being organised by different faith communities in association with the Interfaith Council of Wales. We hosted an Interfaith Fire Ceremony to celebrate Buddha Day. It was a joyful occasion. The weather was perfect for an outdoor event, and everyone enjoyed taking part in the celebration.
First I gave a short talk on the significance of Buddha Day for Buddhists, and the format of the ceremony itself.
The fire was created over a mandala, and oil was poured onto it as an offering throughout the ceremony.
A thread-cross was burned at the end of the ceremony. The woven threads symbolise the elements earth, water, fire, air, and space, using the colours yellow, white, red, green, and blue. The elements represent physical and psychological qualities. The threads are woven to decrease distortion of the elements, and to increase the enlightened qualities.

After the ceremony, while the fire was still lively, those attending were invited to place messages in the fire. The symbolism of burning messages is to let go of something unhelpful, such as a grudge or an irritation, and to effectuate something helpful, such as a good wish for someone, or a personal aspiration.