Story Cloth: a beginning?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what stories I want to tell and how cloth might be a part of that. This is where it ended up today …

And here’s how I got there.

I’ve been reading Jude Hill’s Spirit Cloth blog from the beginning … again. This time with more insight and the intention of taking notes with Jude’s words on the right and my responses to them on the left …

My all-time favorite cloth (to date) is Remember 2016, with a patch for each day of the year I turned 60. It currently lives on the back of a chair where I can see it every day …

Many of the patches hold words and I realized how much they are a part of my way. So I went to my boxes of cloth looking for these scraps of my mom’s shirt …

It was a simple, printed cotton, button-down shirt … one I claimed from my parents’ house on Shelter Island after my mom died in 2008. I wore it as a nightshirt for years, until it began to fall apart. Then I began to use it in paperless pieced cloth

a technique learned from Jude.

For this new project, I chose a piece of cloth from the worn elbow, one that had a flaw in it, and pondered what to write …

The pen I used has a pleasingly fine tip, but an annoying habit of vaporizing so quickly that it has to be reapplied again and again …

I chose to stitch the letters in creamy white silk, remembering this picture from Meg’s graduation in 2005, just before mom became debilitated by the cerebral vasculitis that would not be diagnosed until after her death …

Then I moved on to a second patch, inspired by this picture of Meg’s daughter, Parker …

She’s holding a miniature towel I made for the play kitchen her parents got for her second birthday, hence …

Dyed thread by Deb Lacativa

After stitching the words (and I’m feeling a bit rusty as it’s been a while), I pieced the two patches together with an overcast seam …

thereby joining the generations from my mom to my granddaughter …

A perfect pairing …

24 thoughts on “Story Cloth: a beginning?

  1. LOVE IT! You inspire me. I have a dress hanging upstairs that was hand sewn for my grandmother as an infant. It is disintegrating & has mold stains but I’ve been considering it for an embroidery project.


    Sent from my iPad


    1. I likewise have a christening gown made in the late-19th or early-20th century … it’s a shame to keep it in a drawer, but it’s also in pristine condition, so I’m loath to cut it up.


  2. I love this Liz.

    Christening gowns/night gowns??…I have 2 that were my father’s, or his brothers. I have considered stitching them whole, flat down on a…well…I am not sure what kind of fabric. Perhaps one of their mothers card table cloths? I should do that soon, before they get lost in the winds.


  3. Dear Liz – in the end it is our stories isn’t it? Our stories are what we hold, what we remember and what we pass on. I really love the generational connections here and how they have become tactile – to be held and to be told. Another thing I love is those moments when we suddenly know/learn/discover exactly what precious bits need to be come or do – and when they do they are perfect. A lovely post to wake to, and to ponder – full of love for your women and girls.


  4. How touching to have these two cloths touching to bring the generations together in the path of threads. No doubt Grandma is smiling down on all her loved ones.


  5. and a bridge. between. maybe just stitched words? or? but the bridge….that goes from
    there to here.
    Love this. very much.


  6. Oh don’t cut the christening gown! Just a visceral reaction. But what you have cut has the energy of time passed, cloth worn, the wearer — the beauty of using your mom’s shirt. And as others have said, the bringing of the generations together with a seam is very special.


    1. I won’t … couldn’t … my mom wore it, I wore it, my daughters wore it … and I suspect it started out with my grandmother …

      I’ll see if I can find and/or take some photos … the detailed sewing is mind blowing

      Seams are much on my mind … seams and words

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen heirloom linens in shadow boxes that look absolutely wonderful. In our house, we sometimes hang a vintage kimono or a garment my mother made on a narrow dowel and a single nail.


        1. Hmmm … thinking about this (and how the hanging spot must be chosen wisely to avoid the Texas sun) … also now thinking a lining could be hung within, stitched with the names of those who wore it …

          Thank you Dee!


          1. Oh what a nice idea!! Shadow boxes can be equipped (for a price
            of course) with archival glass which I think helps filter sunlight.


  7. Hi LA – such beautiful and powerful creations – I think there is something very special about adding words by hand to reclaimed materials. Yours is even more special given you use materials connected to people who are so part of your story. Go well. B


    1. Thanks Barry … I think I need to use more words … so often when I see an old quilt at the thrift store it saddens me that the stories it could tell are lost


      1. I like the idea of adding more words to the stories – mom’s shirt, she loved it, wore it here, gave it to me…oooh goosebumps!


        1. This is why I love the give and take of blogging … how a questionable idea grows into something more. I will save these patches as memory holders … and make new patches that more truly reflect the story(s) in each cloth


  8. Every bit here share the who you are through the intentional, respectful, technically amazing work. The photos of your beautiful home and family. I could easily sit right down in that chair and start scanning the bookshelf! ha I’ve always loved that quilt of yours as well.


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