Perhaps it’s all part of the magical holiday season, but a few wonderfully unanticipated crafty joys have come my way in the past couple of days. First of all, my Dad returned from a business trip to Damascus with a load of Syrian yarn, all 100% wool.
It’s pretty unusual, and very cool to have yarn from Syria… not too common I’d imagine. Furthermore, through a serious of rather complex connections and events whose details I probably shouldn’t disclose, I have been commissioned to knit ‘something’ for the First Lady of Syria. Now, that’s a rather vague assignment- not to mention a bit daunting. I’m not yet sure what I’ll do, but I’m leaning towards a scarf- hopefully one that incorporates traditional Damascus designs, though I’m not yet sure what those are.
The next great surprise came yesterday afternoon when I went to Concord center with my mom and sister. Our inital intent was simply to reslish in the the seasonal spirit, no need for anything in particular. We did, however, find ourselves enchanted by Concord’s abundance of antique shops. As luck would have it, the first one we stepped into, North Bridge Antiques, happened to have several quilts! Of course I was immediately enthralled, but the hefty price tags (an Amish quilt for $500 and another 19th century beauty for about $400) turned me off. That is, until I saw one of the most stunning patchwork creations I have ever seen and fell immediately in love. Fortunately for me, it’s not in the best condition- full of tears and wholes that make me love it all the more- so it was only $95! Needless to say, I didn’t walk out empty handed.
It’s hard to articulate how much I love this quilt. It’s too fragile to use, possibly too fragile to hang, but I don’t care. It fills me with inspiration. It’s wonderfully flawed, uneven and evidently hand sewn. It’s everything I love about patchworking- color, texture, warmth, whimsical imperfection. I literally dreamt about it last night. You always hear that a quilt tells the life of the woman who made it, but I never understood that until owning an antique quilt of my own. It seems so intimate and so full of loving patience.
And that’s not all. In addition to old quilts, this fabulous little antique store had old fabrics… so I really didn’t leave empty handed! I chose a few random bits which I am going to turn into an antique quilt of my own. I can hardly wait. The one on top (with an Art Deco look) is early twentieth century and the one in the middle is 1960s. I’m not entirely sure about the rest, except they’re mainly 19th and early 20th century and a few are old feed sacks.
I’m overflowing with ideas, though I’m torn between creating a hexagonal quilt like the one above, or perhaps a Log Cabin which I’ve never done before. I feel like it should be something classic, but also unique. I’m suddenly drawn to the traditional, or at least feel like I should dip my toe into quilting tradition a little bit, see for myself what this history is that I am partaking in. Since I”m trying to practice self control and finish ongoing projects before starting more , I”ll wait until my improvisational lucky penny quilt is finished- I’m on the borders!- but it won’t be long.
I’ve also finished (for now) my Scrapbook Quilt, the first one I’ve ever made that is intended for the wall. It’s a different experience and involves a somewhat different mentality- though not drastically. It’s still in the salvagine, patchworking spirit after all.
Basically, I’ve created quilted billboard. I buttoned on business cards from my favorite restaurants (literally, I sewed them on with buttons) in everywhere from New York to Spain and, of course, Boston- but intentionally left plenty of room for more. It’s going to be a sort of ongoing project, a recording of one of my favorite pasttimes as well as all my travels. Initially, I was going to include shops and other venues, but I have more restaurant cards than anything else and it seemed like an appropriate theme. The quilt is hanging up behind my desk, a lovely tribute to what I’ve done and reminder of all that’s yet to come. Between this and my miraculous antique find, I’m fully reminded of why it is that I love quilts so very, very much.