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Archive for May 19th, 2011

Portugese Knitted Rug? Inspiring.

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

(Apologies…  no photos in today’s post. I take my own photos, and in this case the project is someone else’s. In respect for their ownership of the images, I encourage you to click over to their site and see the multicolored glory!)

Memories of a Heady Fashion Time

Back in my “previous life,” I worked for a commercial interior design firm (circa 1985). We specialized in businesses but had a very few high-end residential clients. Beautiful things have always given me joy, and that job was full of visual delight.

I sat at the front desk. I got to open all the mail. In every day’s stack there were samples! There were rugs and catalogs of desks and chairs. But the best days were when the upholstery fabric sample books came in. Oh, the luxury!

At the time, my primary artform was sewing my own business attire. I made skirts and dresses, sometimes blouses, sometimes simple jackets (never a tailored blazer, I wasn’t interested).

These were the days of Norma Kamali and what seemed at the time “monster” shoulder pads. I loved the strong shoulders with the soft, wool fabrics flowing, draping, hanging softly from the shoulders. I wish I had photos of me in some of the clothes I had those days. I felt so alive, so vibrant, when I wore clothes which were totally unlike those of my childhood. They seemed geometric and urban.

During those days I discovered REALLY good wool, both at my job and for sewing. I was merely the front desk assistant (though I was learning how to use that new gizmo called an IBM personal computer which had something called DOS and something called WordStar on it for typing documents).

I didn’t have a glamor income. But I could figure out how to make an amazing fine wool flannel skirt for myself out of 1.25 yards of fabric and two Norwegian pewter buttons. I happened to luck out and live walking distance to The Fabric Gallery, a small but very high quality fabric store in Williamston, Michigan. She (Mesee Wilson, owner) had the finest wools I had ever seen, and the best collection of buttons I have seen in the Midwest. Oh, the delight! I had clothes better-made than those at any store I knew.

One Magnificent Handcrafted Wool Rug

At my work, we had one high-end residential client who got the most incredible rug I had ever seen. I don’t remember the details, but I remember it had pieces of fine wool cloth as its surface. It surely had its roots in a rag rug, but it was totally luxurious. I don’t remember if it maybe also had some pieces of good rug yarn in it as well, but the main effect was a fabric surface.

In the rug’s sample books I remember there were a few colorways for that rug style. I’m sure you could get it in a solid color or something with a more subdued look. I remember there was also a multicolored one which delighted me. And that was the one our client ordered.

As I recall (this was 25 years ago), something went really wrong with that rug order… it seems there was a fire on the ship and the rug got water damage if I remember right. It was one of those perfect items that took forever to custom-create and then deliver. I don’t remember many other Purchase Orders from that job (there were some custom-built tables that also stand out), but the rug has remained in my mind.

Memories Return, and Within Reach?

So today I was not feeling well and decided to catch up on my Sister-in-Love Diana’s Otterwise blog. And I found a link to a Portugese site about making knitted rugs with fabric strips as pile (link goes to English translation, if it doesn’t work for you, click the “Translate” button at the top of the page). I’m in HEAVEN!

(Note to knitters: In the photos on the linked page, she is purling with her yarn held around her neck, coming down on the left side. She’s making garter fabric by purling every stitch of every row. One could adjust this to knitting every stitch on every row but it would look a little different in the hands.

At first I guessed this was a lot like Thrummed Mittens from Scandinavia. However, I took a look at instructions and a thrum is more like a single stitch of stranded/Fairisle knitting where the smooth fluffy stitch looks like a knit stitch. This technique wraps a piece around a stitch in a two-move technique.)

How to Fit it In?

Oh, my. I have a bit of a to-do list already. Maybe I could start with an entryway mat? In August, after I get home from Sock Summit? Maybe. Meanwhile, my mind is happily concocting great ideas!

Being Gentle with Myself

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I wrote recently about loving others, and saying so. Right now I’m preparing for the 5th funeral/memorial service in about 8 weeks. One service I did not attend… but loss is heavy on my mind right now.

I believe that every time you have a loss, you experience bits of previous losses. My most defining moment as a human, was the loss of my father. He was 40, I was 14. He loved me deeply. I say “I love you” a lot, because of that very sudden loss. (Photos: Daddy’s HS graduation photo, me in 3rd or 4th grade. Same eyes, same ears, although my eyes are brown like Mom’s.)

What I’ve Learned

I wish I did not know much about grief and mourning. What I have learned, is that grief is the set of feelings and memories we have inside us when we experience a loss. Mourning is the sharing of those feelings, memories, and the like… ideally with safe people who support you during the hard time. Without mourning, or the sharing with others, it’s easy for grief to stay a very long time.

When Daddy died, I didn’t sleep until the day of the funeral. I cried at the funeral. Then I felt I needed to get on with life and take care of my little brother, who had not even reached puberty yet.

Four years later, I cried for 4 months, in college. Nobody understood why I was so flipped out so long after the loss. My brother was in college, too, at that point, and I could finally let go. Grief does not go away when we ignore it.

Gentleness to Myself

Sunday I gave myself a “pajamas day” and it was good. I tend to feel guilty when I don’t work if I’m at home, but I did reasonably well with it.

Today I got out my fabric paints and fingernail polish, and decorated a camera-battery charger and a new tuner I got for my bass. A little color was a good idea on yet another rainy day.

(Thanks to blogger Ken Roberts who is @KenAndPaper on Twitter, who blogged today to just make stuff and not worry about how it works out! I needed a push. I find that I “doodle” best with paint rather than a pen or pencil. So be it.)

The charger was far too “vanilla,” just light gray and quite serious. The tuner? It’s a beautiful, intense blue. However, its name is “SNARK.” If you know me, that doesn’t work. I’m in the “snarky is clever but also mean” camp, and I work hard toward kindness in my life. In high school, we were all snarky to protect our egos. I’m done with that now.

So now the tuner’s name is: SPARK. Yeah. Much better.