To Tassel or Not to Tassel

It turns out that when you graduate from Harvard, you spend $40 renting your Commencement ensemble (which, you are informed, will stain your clothing  if it starts to rain) and all you get to keep is your cap and tassel. I’m not really complaining; black isn’t my color so I certainly wouldn’t find much use for the gown. And the cap actually makes for a funny little souvenir. Since this past week was completely taken over by my college graduation (quite literally; Harvard Commencement involves several full days of activities) I couldn’t quilt about anything else. This week’s mini quilt is therefore an hommage to this rather momentous occasion:


Personally, I wouldn’t have minded a little more color in our graduation ensembles (a touch of crimson would have made sense) so I made up for it with my colorful graduation cap quilt. To make the tassel, I followed the instructions in Vivian Hoxbro’s “Knit to Be Square,” since the giant scarf that I’m making actually calls for two tassels on either end. This brings me to my latest patchworking dilmena. Somewhat shockingly, even for me, I have completed my scarf already. It’s amazing how a few minutes here and there can accumulate to some seirous productivity. However, now I can’t decide if I’ll add the tassels or not.


I haven’t been so excited by a new knitting technique in quite some time, nor have I been so pleased with a finished product. At first I was a little nervous because after spending what felt like forever knitting four rows of ribbing on the 900+ stitches that I picked up around the edge (using six sets of circular needles), the scarf seemed to curve in a bit around the edges. But what a difference a good blocking makes! I laid it out yesterday and let it try out tonight; this morning, my lovely scarf (its really more of a scarf/blanket hybrid) lies perfectly flat. Yet, like I said, I can’t decide about the tassels. It hardly needs more embellishment on top of all these wonderful and randomly assorted colors. What I do know is that I’m in love with Domino Knitting and I’m not done with it yet. I’m planning on a ‘neutral’ version of the scarf, maybe trying out a hat. Being out of the dorm and back home means 5 o’clock happy hour and therefore lots of time for knitting…

Now, I’ve hardly lost interest in my quilting but I have to admit that amidst all the graduation madness, followed by the equally time-consuming process of moving out of the dorm and back into my room, no significant progress has been made on my Essay Quilt. This may be the case for another week or so as I attempt to organize my life (it’s easier to fit in knitting since it’s portable and more conducive to doing little bits at a time). Fortunately, my love of quilts has been satisfied in another way this past week. My Grandma Kay gave me the best possible type of graduation gift. I’m sure you can guess what it is.


It’s a sample quilt made of different types of blocks, each one meaningful with regards to our relationship. I don’t remember all of their formal names, but the upper central block depicts waves which represent our trips of Sanibel Island, Florida. I believe the upper right block is called Grandmother’s Fan, whose meaning is pretty self-explanatory. The middle right block is Around the World, the pattern of the quilt she gave me my freshman year of college. I can’t remember the name of the middle left square but it’s in honor of my fondness for color. Some of the other squares are related to my own patchworking projects (grandma is a faithful follower of my blog) such as the flannel square, the Log Cabin, the patchy upper left block and the central blockwhich stands for my entrelac scarves.

I can’t think of a more touching gift to receive on the day that marks such a huge shift in my life and my entry into ‘the real world.’ It’s an honor to have these aspects of my life captured on a quilt, a beautiful reminder of both my grandmother and myself conveyed through my favorite medium. I also love it, quite simply, for aesthetic reasons, the contrast and compliment between the ‘mismatched’ blocks. Yet another method to incorporate into my own patchworking at some point in the near future. So you see, even when I can’t fit in the time for my own quilt-making (though I’ll admit a one-week break is hardly momentous), quilts are never far from my heart.



Filed under clothing, history, knitting, quilting

2 responses to “To Tassel or Not to Tassel

  1. isathreadsoflife

    Congratulations Pippa ! What a touching and wonderful gift from your Grandma on your graduation !It’s lovely and so thoughtful 🙂

  2. I am SO glad I found your blog in the Tag Surfer. Congratulations on such great achievements! Beautiful quilt and the mini-quilts are a fantastic homage to such an eventful part of your life.

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