Mom always says, "never cut a knot, always untie it. If you can't figure out how to untie a knot, you'll never figure out how to solve your problems."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

threads on thursday - may days

I have been stitching and working in the garden.  It's that time of year - sowing and (sewing.) I have completed my May cloth: 

The cloth is rectangular.  I just think I hold the camera in such a way that I have a foreground that makes it appear lopsided!  

It took me a while to figure this one out.  New colors and commercial colored cloth made me look a long time before I thought about what I was going to do.  The story is the greening of the leaf. I worked through winter with the leaves that had fallen, dry and no longer producing sugars and photosynthesis, exchanging gases.  Here, lower right,  leaves start  thinly colored with green and become more saturated with color as the season progress.  There is still a little tribute to the old, dry leaves of last year, lower left.  Also, the addition of color is  a response to the blooms that have started popping up, two months ahead of schedule.  Lastly, top right, this is about as much of the super-full moon that I got to see since my area of the country was pretty much overcast during the last week.  

Following are the details:  


This is a close up of the center leaf.  Jude talked about needle weaving in her magic diary class so "ode to Jude:

The last thing I'll mention here are changing times.  

Before wheely luggage people use to carry their suitcases...manual labor.  Before plastic luggage there was leather.  Imagine, organic gestures. 

 I was born in England, Leicester.  We immigrated in 1961 by crossing the Atlantic in a ocean liner, the USS United States. February - it was a bit bumpy and we weren't allowed on deck because of the ice.  Portholes were covered to prevent the glass from being broken by the waves/ice! Not exactly Titanic mind you, but an experience. 

My mother still has the leather  luggage that we used to "come over on the boat."  She hand sewed covers for the luggage to protect it; leather is soft.  This cover is a very heavy canvas.  She was getting ready to throw it out but I rescued it. Washed it and will save it because I think it is part of my history.  I also found the original luggage tag.  All luggage had to be a assigned a letter, based on the travelers' last name.  When we arrived in New York, the luggage was sorted on a platform for retrieving by the letter assigned. It took us a long time to collect all our things because in fact, just like luggage handlers today, a little disorganized. They weren't all with the "z's." I'm amazed that the label  has survived over 50 years.  

Above, you can see how it was squared off.  Well fitted to the suitcase.  The corners are quite strong;  they are double layered. The opening, for the handle, is also re-enforced, two layers thick.  It was buttoned and also had leather straps to act as a second level of closure/security.  The staining is from the leather.  Quite a piece of engineering.  My mother was very skilled with her hands.  She now just talks about all the things she could do. Sews a little - mending mostly,  because  hand movement is very painful.  Her arthritis is one of the things that brings her down.  But she still tries. I'm keeping this too because my mother is part of this cloth. 


  1. What a story you both have told here. Your mother was quite the craftsperson! Amazin, really. Thank you for sharing.

  2. amazing story . it reminds me of being in the paris airport a couple of weeks ago watching people have their suitcase wrapped in plastic . i think i like the canvas idea better .
    i love your may cloth . i think i need to work on something smaller ... (:

  3. wow. loved hearing your story and seeing the luggage. nice that you are saving it. did you stay in ny for any length of time? and your stitching is wonderful. i especially love the way you represented the skeleton leaf. do you plan out the design before you start?

  4. We, as daughters, need to watch everything our mothers throw out! Bits and pieces of history, old photos ......whatever my mom tosses with a fury as she gets older I seem to want to collect. Such different outlooks she and I have. Sigh.
    Beautiful stitching on your May cloth!

  5. What a lovely treasure imbued with family history and so well constructed, an ode to the mother/maker.

    Your May Cloth has a traveling energy, makes me think of mapping.

  6. What a great story; I thought of a map too looking at your May cloth.

  7. I love your cloths, and the words you write about them. Also, your mother's suitcase protector is amazing...glad it's still with you..so beautifully made...

  8. such a different world, wasn't it...
    the taking of such Care of things
    thank you for telling this.
    your cloth is just beauty full.

  9. I love this story...and you'r English!!! Amazing....

  10. love the mapping of the greening with the skeletonized leaf as the key & the tailor made suitcase cover is fabulous do you still have the old suitcase too?

  11. Ani, your May cloth has such lovely detail, I think you must have an affinity with leaves. Just beautiful. The luggage story is nice and I'm glad you kept the cover your mother made. xo

  12. Oh gosh yes that luggage cover and tyhe preserved lable has family history to its credit.........a must to keep!
    love the may cloth too....


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