Thursday, January 31, 2013
I walked outside today and into the light of a beautiful day. When I looked up and saw this tree I thought. . . "There is the paintbrush, still dipped in light, that has painted my world with sunlight today." May your day sparkle and may your inner light shine bright into this world.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
|Three from the fairy realms|
|One on the snow|
|Up close to one|
Thursday, January 24, 2013
|The gathers make a small ruffle around the waist.|
All I have to do is take this dress out of the treasure chest of inherited textiles, unfold it from its wrap of tissue paper, and find I am holding a summer day. Even now in the coldest part of winter with ice and snow on the ground and more headed our way I am transported to another time and another place full of sunshine. I hold this little toddler's dress and the light wight of the thin cotton fabric brings to mind the warm days and gentle breezes, the kind that move through the grass and flutter little dresses like this into small gentle movememts like the wings of a butterfly. I am reminded of how the warmth of the sun feels on my skin through fabric which is nearly as weightless as the air itself. Warm, light. It's a free feeling, a feeling of being barely dressed and with ease of limb, moving about outside as something soft and made almost of cobwebs brushing light fingers over me as I move. And then there are the flowers on this dress. I do not think they were hand embroidered and though the hem looks like it could have been hand stitched I believe this was a machine made dress of the simplest design, perfect for the simplicity of a perfect summer day. The flowers, as I was saying, bring violets to mind for me and the blossoms of hollyhocks and maybe the little daisy my grandmother used to grow in her garden and which spread into the lawn. It was my grandmother Ester Krabbe who wore this little dress in the early years of the 20th century. This dress lets me meet her as a tiny child and imagine the kind of summers she had as a toddler playing in the sun of the back yard in and out of the slight shade from the trees and in amongst her father's flowers.
|Slightly blurry, but this is the backside of the embroidery and includes the hem and a side seam.|
|Daisies? Hollyhocks? Any flower meant to remind us of them all? The little green and purple chain reminds me of a daisy chain, the kind pieced together while lazing in the grass or the sun|
Monday, January 21, 2013
Mother Nature is a lace maker and this morning I woke to find she had been busy all night on these wonderful, filigreed creations. She has dressed the trees all in lace and don't they look enchanting in all their winter finery against the deep blue silk of the sky?
|Bravo!! Just like a model dripping lace in fashion show|
|Some of her stitches up close|
|She does meticulous work.|
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
In the world of Lynn the best room in the house is a largish room with lots of natural lighting where a spinning wheel, loom, and a sewing machine are set up never needing to be moved. This room is yet to be fully realized but it isn't far off and at least there is a version of it now in existence. would be full of baskets of threads and fiber and fabric and several lovely old dolls would be around the room to add a warm old fashioned feminie touch along with the lace and linens and other needle work set around
and on display. Luckily for me several of my Grandmother's old dolls were to be found in the trunk of inherited textile treasure entrusted to me, and here is one of them on a small doll quilt my mother made for the dolls of my own childhood. Esme' comes with a wardrobe of two or three dresses and a little round velvet cape. A child at some time made these wonderfully detailed doll clothes, a lucky and loved little girl. I thought I would show you. The pink dress Esme' is wearing feels like silk and it is rather delicate and has separated at the seams in one or two places. There is a heavier cotton fabric constructing the long dress, in perfect condition, with a tiny little brooch at the neck, and there is a two piece wool outfit I am showing you the stitching on first. I have opened the little jacket so you can see the details and the stitching so large in the complex cramped construction it makes me realize the little girl made these under the eye of an experienced needlewoman. This was a child's sewing project and that much was learned in the sewing room of some bygone day when a little girl worked at the knee of some patient mother or grandmother or aunt. I like to think that Esme' and her wardrobe were once part of the needlework tradition and taught the art of sewing to some little girl in my family tree. Esme' will hold a place of honor in my textile studio.
The stitching on the inside must be a wonderful story
|Wool with a silk blouse and jet beads|
|A day dress of sturdy cotton|
|See the tiny brooch? Notice the smocking stitches?|
|Endearingly childish little handmade button holes and hem stitching. Is that perhaps a drop of blood from a pricked finger in the corner?|
Friday, January 11, 2013
|The tools and supplies.|
|Fairly simple, right? According to somebody somewhere it is. Let's hope I find it to be so. Wish me luck!|
|I love this print. It reminds me of china dishes. I hope I can do it justice!|
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
|My grandfather, Robert Glengary Smith at 8 months in 1913. This baby grew up to marry, have three daughters and was on board a ship in Pearl Harbor the day it was attacked. He survived and served out the rest of the war as a commander on a troop transport escorting troops from New York to France. He worked for Shell Oil after the war and until retirement. He died in 1980.|
|A newborn baby skirt??|
This item looks like a long baby skirt, made of soft cotton flannel with a plain cotton band. It comes with no button, hook or tie attached to show how it would have been fastened on Baby, nor is there any sign of there ever having been one. It's tapered and measures fourteen inches in width and twenty two inches long and the cotton band at the top when closed measures six inches in diameter. So small and soft, so meticulously and neatly stitched, I imagine Bessie pregnant and waiting for the arrival of her baby while making beautiful little clothes like this. Bessie was highly skilled with a crotchet hook and this lace with its complex design embellished with embroidery on parts of it speaks to the level of her skill, her love of thread and pattern, lace and textiles, and it speaks to me of what's possible in myself. It's as if my Great Grandmother is talking directly to me as I hold this and marvel up close at her work. She is saying two things to me, "I loved my little child," and, "You could do needlework like this too. It is in your blood".
|Bessie and Frank Smith in 1938|
My grandmothers must have lived always with a small crochet hook and a little ball of string in their pocket. Their fingers must have constantly been busy while waiting in line, visiting friends or expecting babies. They must have begun when they were very young, as little girls in pinafores and continued on without stopping all through the years of their long lives. Indeed, my past is so lavishly dripping in a froth of crochet I wonder why I don't do it too and as constantly as my grandmothers as tribute to my heritage and my forbears. It should be like the family business or family farm, passed on through the generations as a way of life. Is that going to stop at me? Well! Alright then! Onward! I hereby vow this January, this dawn of 2013, to carry a bit of needlework constantly with me every where, some knitting or embroidery or a small bit of quilting perhaps, but more precisely I am thinking I shall steadfastly and constantly carry a little crochet hook and ball of string in honor of Bessie and Ragna, and Ragna's daughter Esther who also crocheted (but more on that at a later date) and I too shall crochet lace. After all, as both my grandmothers have so eloquently stated in this trove I have of theirs, it is part of genes on both sides, it is part of my marrow, part of my blood and it is in a very special part of my heart.
|Cotton thread crochet with embroidery on the ribbon band|
Monday, January 7, 2013
Thursday, January 3, 2013
|5 inches x 8 inches|
|Sides crocheted together|
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Spider Webs of Lace
Like most of us, the period in which I grew up shaped my sensibilities. My coming of age took place in the years comprised of the 1970's and 80's a period when women were having to prove something, fight for respect and shoulder their way into environments with a predominately male topography. Things traditionally thought of as feminine were shed. Clothing developed straighter more angular lines to replace curves, ruffles and lace. Women's time became precious as they strove to "have it all" and things purely decorative were considered inefficient and a waste of one's time and talent. Doilies, those intricate, time consuming circles of looped thread seemed especially to epitomize the waste of woman's time and talents as she sat for hours making nothing more useful than an pretty web. Indeed, go into most any second hand or
|Detail of Above|
thrift shop and there you can pick up half a dozen handmade doilies for no more than a few dollars each. The time it took a woman to fashion these small wonders is given little thought or respect. And yet each one of them is a mathematical wonder in which several motifs begin with a single starting point and evolve outward into their final circumference. In the later half of the 1800's and on into the mid 1900's were used to beautify the home. Early on they were thought of as napkins meant to wipe fingers on, then they became antimacassars meant to protect furniture from the greasy hair product men wore in those days. It was clear upon delving into the treasure trove of needlework inherited from Great Grandma Ragna, that her house was a veritable froth of frill as delicate, intricate webs of crochet doilies overflowed the contents of what I found inside the chest amongst her other needlework. As I drew each one out and gently smoothed it flat I realized what true works of art each one was, the kaleidoscope of stitch variations, the delicate motifs and intricate arabesques of mathematics Ragna's needle had lead the fine cotton thread through. Each one of her doilies, as well as all the other doilies ever made, became for me like one of the lilies of the field that bloom unremarked and undervalued. What spider of unbelievable beauty spun such elegant webs of art and why oh why don't they grace our homes still or show up on gallery walls as they deserve? For this reason many doilies will appear on this blog site interwoven with the other posts about the other needlework found in my inherited chest of Ragna's treasure. I hope as you look closely you too will become entwined with these elegant lacework webs, created as surely as the Greeks tell us the spider herself was originally created . . . by a spell of enchantment.