Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My mom is turning 92 in February...

It is true, I don't know where the time went!  I get a lot of my creative ability from her.  She always had a great eye for color and form.  She's of that generation (and growing up on a farm) that knew how to shear sheep, make roving, spin yarn, and then either knit or crochet something useful.  She even made linen from flax, and knew how to weave.  They wove their towels (which lasted forever), their tablecloths, their rugs from old clothes that we used to sit and cut into long strips and ball up when I was a kid.  The destruction was fun.  She even taught me how to weave, but I had no patience weaving that thin linen thread into towels.
My grandmother even wove sheets, and they had a seam down the middle (the loom wasn't large enough.)  They had a loom always set up in a big part of the upstairs bedroom at my grandmother's.  Mom never had a loom in the places where we lived, but she always wove rugs when we spent the summers with my grandparents.  She still has some of these brightly colored rag rugs on her floors, and if I peer closely, I  might recognize the rag line from one of the dresses from my youth.  I do have a lot of her things that she embroidered in the "old days," things that are truly vintage now.
In her youth, she was pretty much self-sufficient in making her clothing, and later those of my dad, but with modernization, she stopped those habits, though her hands were always busy.  During the 2nd World War the women used to knit hundreds of mittens and socks for the soldiers.  That was before my time.

I asked her if she remembers some of my fave sweaters she made for me when I was a kid, but she doesn't.  I had a really comfy gray and blue patterned sweater that I wore ALL the time; I still remember it clearly.

She loved to sew clothes, made fabric collages, embroider, needlepoint, cross stitch, knit; she even dabbled in porcelain painting, but my dad complained about the fumes.  She could knit and crochet anything.  We used to get excited about some new pattern; I would start it and she would finish it because I always got bored somewhere in the middle.

I have the patience now, however.  I don't know how that happened--with age maybe.  I have been more of a dabbler than making something "useful," though.   In one of the pictures below I made a fabric collage from a picture in a book about Medieval life.  I now marvel at how large the horse is compared to the women, but I didn't think of that at the time.  I could never finish it since I couldn't decide whether to frame it or make it into a pillow.  It now lives with my mom's things in a plastic bin.

My mom's hands are twisted and stiff due to Parkinson's these days, but she can read without glasses, so that's how she spends her days.  She has all her marbles still. :)  She's the kindest person you could ever meet!

I haven't worked with fabric for a long time,  but I'm following some really cool fabric art blogs, and getting more inspired to get out those bins.  Check out this great blog, Spirit Cloth, by Jude Hill.  It's a whole different feel to explore creativity through fabric.  (Though I usually prefer paint--get my hands down and dirty as they say...! :)

 This is a really old piece, possibly embroidered by Mom in her youth, or Grandmother might have made it.  I don't remember.  But look at the needle work!  These cloths were hung on decorative rods to hide the everyday towels used in the kitchen.

I have two tablecloths like this.  Mom crocheted those from a very fine cotton yarn, then patiently crocheted the flowers/snowflakes together.  It's fine like a glorious spiderweb!
This is a newer tablecloth; possibly one of the last ones she embroidered before her hands gave out.  She sent it to me.  My brother who is an artist always wanted the same pieces, so she often made two of the same pattern.  You would think a man wouldn't care, but he does.

This is a tray tablecloth that is meant for a birthday cake placed in the middle of the wreath.  The word "Gratulerar" is Swedish for Happy Birthday (sort of, more like "Congratulation" if you want to be picky.)  A gift for one of my birthdays.  I use some of these things, but I worry about getting them dirty.

My foray into Medieval art (must've been in the 90s.)  I loved combining daring fabric patterns into a cohesive look.  Even the birds wore armor in my picture.  The fabric was mostly machine stitched even though I'm not very good on the sewing machine, or my machine isn't very good...

Another lifetime, but everything runs in cycles.
BTW, I love my Mom. :D  My dad could've been a painter, but never really pursued it.  He passed on in 2004, at ninety.  I do have a couple of his beautiful paintings.


jude said...

hey thanks for the mention and i always love to hear fabric stories,wonderful! my grand mother had woven sheets with a seam down the middle too, i don' know who made them...
i like how you freely combined all those fabrics.

A Creative Dream... said...

Isn't it a wonderful legacy to inherit the love of crafting!?! My Great-Grandmother's work inspires me still.

The pieces you shared with us are lovely...and Spirit Cloth is a great site, I'm definitely going to do more exploring there.

Happy Birthday to your Mother, and I'm so glad she inspired you, because you inspire me!

Maria said...

Thank you Jude, I find lots of inspiration on your blog!

June, thanks!

Heather said...

Oh my gosh, what gorgeous linens. I really liked your story of your family's textile heritage. Your mother sounds like a talented, resourceful woman.

I have one of those tea-towel hiding clothes, and I couldn't quite figure it out, thought it was a curtain. Thanks for the lesson!

Amanda said...

Maria you are in today's EBSQ Friday Five!

I'd also like to discuss you being a Blogger of the Week. Did you get my email?




Kelly said...

This is a wonderful post, Maris! I loved every word. Your Mom is a truly remarkable lady, and how lucky you are to have her in your life. Her textile work is AMAZING! They are priceless treasures for you I am sure. Thanks for the lovely read today.