In between all my other makes, I have been taking a class with Karen Ruane – embroidering, embellishing, creating cloth – patchworked white work, hand embroidered, to create a very personal keepsake quilt.
I wanted to use one of my favourite poems in the piece (Leisure by W H Davies) … but got frustrated with the cross stitch on so small a scale, so I have set this piece aside for now – I will be coming back to it later to finish off, as I am happy with the rest, though it does need damp stretching before I work on it more.
That cross stitch is really not working for me, so I will unpick it and start again using running stitch, but cross stitch will appear as lettering elsewhere in the overall cloth.
I know this, because as I have been working on different sections, it has become clear to me where this piece is going. It will be a wedding cloth – picking up memories from our wedding day, and the significant events in our life since we married. So these elements will be incorporated, somewhere along the line:
My wedding dress – a section from the buttoned back of the bodice, and probably some of the roses as well, our 3 babies’ hospital bands, some of the broken strings of pearls that belonged to my grandmother, and the locket my other grandmother gave me. All of them deeply personal ….
I’ve wanted to do a piece with my wedding dress for a long time now, and this seems like the perfect opportunity – I’ve never been quite certain what I wanted, though I knew somewhere along the line I wanted to incorporate some of the language of flowers into it. So I will have the roses from the bodice, but I will also include these:
Oak leaves – for courage and endurance, and ivy, which signifies marriage and fidelity.
And so I have progressed. A second piece, smocked:
I wanted to do something that was reminiscent of christening gowns, and I think this green embroidery over crushed ivory silk works … but have connected back to marriage vows by ‘hiding’ marriage vows within the folds …
For me this connects back to the idea in the ‘Leisure’ poem, that we need to stand and stare, to touch and search, to uncover this cloth’s message.
It is difficult not to get a bit panicky about how long this is going to take … especially as it has to fit into the ‘times between’ … but I am looking forward to taking my time over it and seeing what else this cloth has to teach me as I travel along with it.
For now, I am gathering strength to apply scissors to dress … and wondering if I should wear it, Miss Haversham-like, for dinner one last time before I deconstruct it.