Years ago I read The Mountain and The Valley by Ernest Buckler. One of the images that has stayed with me is the one of the grandmother making rugs from carefully saved family clothing. As she hooks each piece into the rug, her mind is inundated by the image of the child or adult wearing it and the emotions connected to the scene.
I’ve been making scarves lately from the bag of cashmere sweaters I have been saving. In my experience, cashmere is not often found in thrift shops–wearers find other uses for this beautiful, warm fibre when it is no longer presentable, either lining the cat’s bed with it or wearing it to bed themselves. So my cashmere fragments are from my own cast-offs and those of generous friends. As I pieced the scarf together this morning, the visceral images brought back by this bag of coloured wool were breathtaking. There was Anne in her beautiful striped pullover and Janet in her orange cardigan. J.A. Wainright, in an essay on Buckler’s Nova Scotia novel, summed up the grandmother’s activity:
When she is alone in this room and “without speech,” Martha is happy because “her tasks are like a kind of conversation” (p. 24); she does not need to talk to others in order to “come alive,” and her mind obviously has its own “shining population”.
So here is to all rug hookers and ‘repurposers’ of woollen garments. Enjoy your conversation with that shining population.
I remember reading that book in high school….and feeling so clever because I knew what rug hooking was…. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to get in touch and see if you are going to VT next week or not…but never seem to sit still long enough to write the e-mail. Man, I make things complicated sometimes….LOL!
Anyway, if you’re going, let me know — it would be great to see you. We will be at the barn on both Saturday and Sunday 12/13
No, I am not going–unfortunately–and feeling sad about it. I’ve been there every November for quite a while. It is such a great show.
Are you vending? Take lots of pictures.
Good Sunny Morning
Just wondering how you are progressing, i’m sure you are busy from your great show.
No rush for my black & tan bag. I have deceided to give the canvas tote to my fav niece. So when you have time i would like to have one for myself.