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one year and counting

March 1, 2021

fifty two hexies – one year – to mark the passage of time

a celebration of sorts!

Littlebear wanted to do the honors

as he looks out on a “new reality”

and the mailperson came

silk hankies from Sanjo Silk on Granville Island in Vancouver

and a new book

the silk arrived in 3 days from time of ordering and the book took 49 days from the U.K.

mother always said “patience is a virtue”!

silk hankies are made by stretching out each individual cocoon

placing them on the corner pegs of a square frame, layering them and leaving them to dry

they peal off easily in thin layers and when drafting them out, ready to spin, are as light as a feather

the silk is wonderful, I couldn’t wait to start spinning

the book – Threads of Life by Clare Hunter

” A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle”

an absolute must read for anyone who loves textiles, history and cultures throughout the ages

“An astonishing feat, this patchwork of history, culture and politics, which takes us from Saxon England to colonized African tribes, Palestinian villages, rural China and the cramped homes of American slaves.…..  Sunday Times U.K.

it will have you cheering on the suffragettes on the streets of London

(my ex-husband’s grandmother chained herself to the railings with Mrs. Pankhurst, so family history goes)

it tells the story of the Kuna Indians and their Molas, a form of reverse applique

years ago we sailed through the Panama Canal and spent a month anchored off the islands they call home

they paddled out in canoes, some came aboard for tea and cookies – and to sell their work

I cried while reading the story of woman who became Japanese prisoners of war in Singapore’s Changi prison

(we lived in Singapore for 2 1/2 years, son Paul played in the tropical waters at Changi Beach)

stories of the Miao people of China and their history told in stitches

for more reading Imprints on Cloth and Spiritual Fabric both by Sadae Torimaru

in English and Japanese

and the more recent two-volume boxed set Every Thread a Story – the Secret Language of Miao Embroidery

from Thrums Books

and of course stories of many different quilts and specifically hexies

I’m only half through reading the book and could go on and on but I hope you get the idea

now Littlebear and I are going to have lunch and read while we eat

do you have a treasured textile with a personal/family history?

this is a scrappy quilt made by my grandmother, with the initials MBS and date 1949 in one corner

it’s a bit rough and the backing is a very course, unbleached cotton

my mother then did some of the stitching because she said it was falling apart

I love the old dress fabrics, their patterns and colours

it is so fragile it lives in the trunk now

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2021 10:36 pm

    I have a number of family pieces – when I finally get around to that memorabilia suitcases, I will show them. I seem to recall an embroidered framed work of a cottage; and some tatted doilies are hiding in those cases. Lots of my own collections from the 50s – 90s as well..including a hand painted skirt that Mother and I selected at the Panama markets in the mid 1950s.


    • March 6, 2021 10:55 am

      Catherine – the pieces with personal memories are important but I wonder if we are passing those on or creating new memories for the next generation. What is of value to keep?


  2. Going Batty in Wales permalink
    March 2, 2021 4:14 am

    I have an old plaincloth quilt which must have come from the family but it is very shabby, needs washing and I have nowhere to display it where it will not get even tattier so it stays in a cupboard! One day I will realise what needs to happen to it.

    Who would have believed, when you made your first hexie, that we would still be in lockdown a year on?! I love your display of them. Those books look interesting – there is so much history of women’s crafting that is unsung.


    • March 2, 2021 10:39 am

      Sue – I don’t display grandmother’s quilt either, some of the patches are in shreds, but I sometimes look at the colours and patterns so different (and beautiful) from what we have today. As for the window hexies, the question is – when can I quit? – and then will start to sew them all together. The book addresses the idea that stitching was/is considered “woman’s work” and of little significance (all around the world).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. March 2, 2021 12:38 am

    I saved my MILs embroideries from FIL sending them all to a charity shop, and then a couple or years back divided them between their grandchildren- I did my bit! She was greek and all her pieces were cross stitched. I have since saved my own Mums embroideries from my brother sending them to a charity shop- one day they will go to her great grandchildren.


    • March 2, 2021 10:41 am

      Cathy – one day some of those grandchildren will thank you. We need to pass on the memories and the stories.


  4. March 1, 2021 1:18 pm

    I don’t have anything really old, but I do have a silk scarf that was my mother’s. It’s a rich, creamy feeling silk, in cream with large navy polka dots and beautiful hand rolled edges. She would have bought it sometime in the early 1950s, so it’s doing rather well for nearly 70 years old. I bring it out when I have a cold or flu, and wrap it around my neck, for comfort. It retains a tiny molecule or two of her scent…


    • March 1, 2021 2:25 pm

      Kate – in the book it does mention the comforting scent of a treasured piece and the memories it evokes. There are amazing stories of lives lived and lost around the world and throughout the ages starting with Mary Queen of Scots.

      Liked by 1 person

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