Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Other people's grandmothers' scraps

The yield at Stormville Flea Market was even better than usual this time.  Here are the contents of a bag full of quilt scraps, for $10.

I am overwhelmed with wonder about the women whose hands created the quilts these scraps came from.  Textile is like the mitochondria of human culture- passed on through the untold generations of womens' hands.

I'm not sure how I'll work with these since they all have batting and backing and are quilted.  Since they're quite old and the battings are cotton, they're pretty musty and they need cleaning.  Certainly all these have been washed innumerable times, but because of the exposed raw edges of the little pieces, I think I have to use them first then launder my finished product. 

Some of these are pretty homemade looking, but there are also some pieces with quite skillful quilting.  I wish I could have seen the whole quilts they came from.

I also returned with quite a haul of embroidered hankies, doilies, tablecloths, and kitchen linens, many with hand-crocheted edgings and hand-made lace or cutwork trims- to add to the not insignificant stash I already have!  Not to mention my precious feedsacks.

Am I crazy?  I work with fabric all day, for a living.  I think about sewing projects all the time.  When I have some free time, I sew for myself or embroider my ready-made clothes.  I have probably a thousand yards of decorating fabrics scraps and on bolts, which I've secreted all over the place like squirrels hide nuts.  I have I don't know how many yards of quilting cotton fabrics for dozens of unmade projects.  I have old textiles that were made by my grandmother and great-grandmother.  And still- I go to flea markets and buy other peoples' old fabric scraps.

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