Monday, August 6, 2012

Finding Treasure

Today I was at a very dear friend's house having lunch. I casually mentioned something about wanting to embroider something on a pillowcase for the grandchild I would one day have. My friend's husband asked if I would have any use for embroidery floss, he had found some while weeding out old things in the basement. I lit up like a Christmas tree and said, " I would love some embroidery floss." He came up the stairs with a very old law book and tucked inside a couple of dozen pages were skeins of silk embroidery floss from the turn of the century. Each page I turned revealed a new brilliant color that had retained its original vibrancy and integrity, or if it had lost any I couldn't tell. I was overwhelmed by the  sensation that some woman a century ago had carefully sorted her colors in a book on the shelf of her home to keep the colors from tangling (although that didn't work too well as I soon found out.) I imagined what she must have made with all those colors and if the work survived somewhere on this earth, I wondered what her family was like; did she have a close knit family that would sit around together in the evenings reading aloud and playing music, was she lonely stealing moments in her busy day to sit by the natural light and get a few stitches in? I felt the beautiful silk strands with the lovely sheen and wondered what project I would use them in. Maybe that pillowcase for my daughter's hope chest  or maybe something more formal and decorative. This is one of the great appeals to me about needlework; the way it ties you to women all over the world in different generations, different socio-economic groups and different cultures. Somewhere, all over the world tonight there are women making beautiful things for a variety of reasons and if you are an insider only you can truly understand the meaning behind the hand made craft. I am painstakingly going through each skein and winding it around my little hand made cardboard form and when I'm finished I'll post a photo or two. Happy embroidering!

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