The charm of handmade gifts is difficult to match. When you put in time and effort into making something, especially for someone special, it makes the gift all the more memorable.
This Mothers’ Day, instead of buying something online for her, start a DIY crafts project together to create special memories. Here are some ideas to get you started:
From summer crop tops to handbags, floor mats and throw blankets, crochet has been in trend both in fashion and decor. All it needs is a hook and yarn and you can have endless design possibilities. Hyderabad-based Crochet Now founder Himabindu Manchaha, who makes and sells custom crochet products, shares easy steps to crocheting: “You will need some thick yarn and a crochet hook that goes with the yarn. Once you have that, all you need to know is a few basic stitches of crochet i.e., a slip knot, a simple chain stitch and half-double crochet stitch. Always remember the rule that you need to crochet from left to right for the foundation chain, and right to left for all the other rows. Once you reach the end of every row you need to flip your work horizontally. Once you are done, leave a tail of eight inches and pull the hook away from the last stitch of the final row, and tuck the loose ends with a big-eye needle onto the reverse side of your finished project.”
Similar to the tie-dye technique of bandhej, Shibori is an age-old Japanese dyeing technique. It can give any old piece of fabric, be it an old t-shirt, bedsheet or kurta, a new life by “binding of cloth that has been either folded, scrunched, stitched or twisted”, says Amit Vijaya, co-founder of Delhi brand Amrich, which specialises in the art of Shibori. There are four kinds of Shibori, namely Itajime Shibori (clamp-resist), Kanoko Shibori (bound-resist), Arashi Shibori (pole-wrapped) and Nui Shibori (stitch resist shibori). His guide to creating Shibori: “One can easily use string to bind and create patterns using the Kanoko shibori method at home with little or no resources. Those more adept at using needle and thread can explore Nui shibori to create all-over or placement patterns. For dyeing at home, the kitchen provides quite a few ingredients: turmeric for gorgeous shades of yellow, tea for shades of brown, beetroot for pink, etc.”
The Kantha stitch is a shining example of the inherent sustainability wisdom of the country. It includes stitching together rags to make quilts, a practice Bengaluru-based embroidery artist Anuradha Bhaumick learnt from the women in her family. “Vibrant patches saved from tattered sofas and cushion covers turned into unique clothing pieces, jackets made of curtain fabric, blankets made from old sarees, gamchas and other soft muslin fabric, quilted, patched and stuffed to become a blanket—nothing ever went to waste because of the miraculous Kantha stitch,” she says.
Bhaumick suggests how to master the form: “Make something unique for your mom. Embroider her favourite lines of poetry or song to a solid coloured blouse using the Kantha stitch. Upgrade an old kurta with a free-flowing Kantha stitch on its bodice, you can also create a checker pattern or a simple tessellation of triangles or chevron. Use bright coloured threads on dark tones; my favourites are magenta and candy floss pink on indigo. Make it yours by embroidering simple line drawings of the both of you.”
A beaded necklace can be a way to add something cool, funky and upcycled to your mother's jewellery box. Anmol Vaswani of Goa-based jewellery brand Love Letter says the 1990s trend has caught on because of its playfulness and “seeing how 2020 was and 2021 is going for us, I suspect that this playfulness offers a subconscious escape.” Her guide to acing the art of hand-making beaded jewelry is simple and fun to attempt: “Some old pieces that you or your mom don't wear anymore can be cut up and turned into new pieces with just a needle and thread. This way you don't need to go looking for new closures either, just upcycle the old ones and you have a truly sustainable and new piece of jewellery.”