Sunday, November 30, 2008
Among my souvenirs
What would the collective noun be for mittens? A clutch? A handful? These are Newfoundland Mittens,the beauty of which is that they are knit in one colour at a time, the slip stitches suggesting otherwise. And they use hardly any of each yarn, so the remnants from sock knitting or that odd skein bought some time ago, turn out to be perfectly adequate. Add to this a quick turnaround, with a finished item always in view and they form the ideal winter project.
Summer, however, usually finds me searching for that elusive textile treasure. Having once picked up a stunning white quilt in France for under twenty pounds, I remain convinced that neglected gems are still out there and find myself incapable of passing a Brocante without checking it out. The quilt, it turned out, was English, seventeenth century, and not unlike one in the Burrell collection.
Here, we have a sampler, found in the scruffiest of village vide-greniers in the Auvergne. It was filthy, stained, crumpled. Gradually, I noticed that the same three letters are repeated in different styles. Who was this girl, and why did she stop where she did, when the letters are so very ambitious and the stitching so very regular? After a little pre-testing of a thread end, I boiled it in Persil, not without trepidation, and it was transformed.