Many Modes of Memory

My unexpected foray into antique quilt collecting has continued with a truly remarkable acquirement. My grandmother sent me a yo yo quilt made by her husband’s grandmother when he was born in 1930. It is truly stunning, and all the more impressive since it is composed of leftover fabrics, even feed sacks. Furthermore, it’s so special to have a quilt that is not only historical, but lodged in my own family’s history, without a doubt something that I shall cherish forever.

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I have never done this type of quilting myself; of course I’m intrigued. The result is such a lovely combination of the ephemeral and sturdy. Each little yo yo is securely attached the other but it’s hard not to be struck by the delicacy of its web-like structure. I’m hoping to hang it on the stairway leading up to my bedroom, what a wonderful thing to be greeted by every I walk up the stairs!

My grandmother also sent me scraps of leftover fabrics, most of which have been worked before:

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They’re so lovely and eclectic, far better than anything that I would have found in a store. I’m particularly intrigued by the second from the left, a sort of Japanese design. Mainly, I love the idea of recycling fabrics and the sense of history that they embody. I’m still deciding what to do with them… perhaps a yo yo quilt of my own?

I’ve also been continuing with my Birds in the Air quilt, having finally settled on a fabric combination that (I think) looks interesting but makes the most of the fabric that I have. It was tricky since there wasn’t much of the brown seaweed patterned fabric and I could only squeeze out 220 little triangles, but here’s what I settled on:

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I have cut out all of the large triangles and the little triangles (no small feat, there’s roughly 430 of them!) and have so far made these six squares. Working with the little triangles is slightly tricky, particularly since the fabrics are of different elasticities and weights, but I love the challenge and the imperfection of it all. I’ll admit I left out one of the antique fabrics, its pattern just isn’t conducive to either size triangle but I’ll probably incorporate it into the back:

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Finally, I’ve been continuing my Log Cabin cardigan and made the strategic decision to switch to stripes for the body of the piece. I maintain that the decision was largely aesthetic. Guided by my mother’s sage advice and astute sense of design, I realized that the Log Cabins actually ‘pop’ more when they are confined to the border:

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That being said, I’ll admit to the obvious benefit that this makes the project less intimidating and a more enjoyable. Like I said, knitting should be challenging and beautiful, but also fun! A border’s worth of Log Cabins (keep in mind I still have the front and sleeves to go) is plenty of entrelac practice. I’m quite pleased with my choice.

My bulletin border quilt continues to grow. I’ve been dutifully adding on business cards of worthy restaurants- so far the Wentworth Inn in Jackson, and most recently Craigie on Maine  (www.craigieonmain.com) where I went last night with my sister and Dad. A lovely dining experience (fabulous food, even better company) that I would highly recommend- particularly the octopus appetizer. And it seems so appropriate to record the night via quilting, a medium that is  not only about salvaging but (like dining) savoring the bits and pieces of daily life.

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Filed under history, knitting, quilting

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