Comfort.

I had a post planned and mostly written about a recent (ok, it was 3 weeks ago, whatever!) trip to the Gee’s Bend Quilt exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. But now, I want to take a new direction in my writing, especially because of a recent shake-up in my life.

Everyone has something in their lives that comfort them. I’m not talking about parents or significant others (which may come and go), I’m talking about material goods which bring comfort.

At the Gee’s Bend exhibit, this quilt just struck me. I loved it’s aestetic, like I loved all the others, but the story behind the quilt stopped me in my tracks.

Missouri Pettway, 1902-1981. Blocks and strips work-clothes quilt, 1942, cotton, corduroy, cotton sacking material, 90 x 69 inches. Missouri’s daughter Arlonzia describes the quilt: “It was when Daddy died. I was about seventeen, eighteen. He stayed sick about eight months and passed on. Mama say, ‘I going to take his work clothes, shape them into a quilt to remember him, and cover up under it for love.’ She take his old pants legs and shirttails, take all the clothes he had, just enough to make that quilt, ahd I helped her tore them up. Bottom of the pants is narrow, top is wide, and she had me to cutting the top part out and to shape them up in even strips.”

I don’t even know what to write in response to that. The kind of love behind such a quilt… I felt honored to stand before it. I imagined this woman “covering up under it for love” during thunderstorms, difficult life crisese and feeling her husband near her through it all.

Now, I’m trying to find the things in my life that bring me comfort, because I need it right now. The obvious answer is knitting, but 2/3 of the time I’ve been knitting was when I was with my ex-boyfriend (ex as of Saturday evening) and the associations are strong. I knit more in my life with him than I knit without him. He was the one to whom I modeled my fair isle socks in pride. He was the one who was my foot model when I was knitting my dad some socks.

Don’t interpret that as me not knitting. I am. I picked up the Log Cabin Blanket again because even as I’m still knitting it, even though it’s not quite finished, I’m cuddling up under it for love. I’ve knitted 3 1/2 more strips, and, in honor of the Gee’s Bend Exhibit and doing what I want to do, I’ve introduced a new color, as you can see in the photo below. I only have to do 10 more strips total to reach my goal, but I may just keep going until I run out of yarn.

Even though the association of the Gee’s Bend quilts are also strong to my ex-boyfriend (we went to exhibit together, at least physically), I’m getting lots of comfort from the fact that this project was one of my summer projects, one that I knit as I grieved the loss of my grandmother. And she’d tell me to keep knitting. Just keep knitting. And forget that silly boy.

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15 Responses to “Comfort.”


  1. 1 Monika January 22, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    I’m sorry to read about you going through a rough time. I’m an old wise woman and tell you, time heals all wounds, na, I wanted to say, there will be another one, and when the right one comes along, you’ll know, because you had the wrong one already! Enjoy your life, every second of it, doing what you love to do.

    That green you’ve added, it just had to be there, wonderful!

  2. 2 Punkin January 23, 2007 at 1:07 am

    My heart is touched and aches for you. I know what that kind of loss feels like. Listen to what your Grandma would say.

  3. 3 Bryony January 23, 2007 at 2:55 am

    Oh sweetie I’m sorry. There isn’t much anyone can say to help you out at this stage. I would say that knitting is as much an act of defiance as one of association with loved ones. Remember how you keep knitting in spite of problems with the knits? Now you just keep knititng. It will always be there for you, even when you don’t want it to be and you have 6000 projects to finish.

    Big hugs.

  4. 4 Michelle January 23, 2007 at 7:02 am

    Your grandma is a wise, wise woman. Knit until it soothes your heart.

    I would be honoured to stand in front of that quilt, too. My grandmother was a magnificent quilter, and I am in awe of what human beings can accomplish on this earth.

  5. 5 terhi January 23, 2007 at 9:21 am

    The blanket looks lovely, and the green stripe fits in perfectly. A big hug from Finland!

  6. 6 JulieFrick January 23, 2007 at 9:53 am

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. Your log cabin is fantastic. I’ll search around on the blog to find out which yarn you’re using. You’re making me feel like getting back to mine, which I haven’t worked on since July. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. 7 hege January 23, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Big hugs to you. Thanks for the story about the quilt, that is incredibly touching. For forty years she had that quilt to warm her.

  8. 8 Carol January 23, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    What a wonderful quilt story! I’m sorry to hear about the upset in your personal life. For what it’s worth, I suggest you get yourself out and try something completely different. Seriously. Force yourself to take juggling lessons. Or something….

  9. 9 Nora January 23, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    I love how you announced this. I don’t have any advice for you but I do know that knitting soothes te heart… maybe it’ll soothe yours too (if only for a while). x

  10. 10 Roni January 23, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    You knit girl! And forget that silly boy.

  11. 11 Roni January 23, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    ps….I know a nice single firefighter hehehe

  12. 12 Alison January 23, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Grandma is right! And it is amazing how something like this can hurt so much at first . . . . and then later on sometimes it doesn’t hurt at all to think about. Another point in the “people are weird” column.

    Go have some tea and sit under your blanket and knit. :)

  13. 13 Bridget January 26, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Sorry about your ex. :(
    I have been checking out your pinwheel blanket as I had a friend just announce she was having a boy, and then I saw your log cabin. Your blankets are just beautiful.

    (have you mentioned which yarn you are using for the log cabin?)

  14. 14 Rachel May 26, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    It’s crazy to think that something like a breakup is so universal and lifechanging, yet unique to every person. Craziness.

    Breakups are lame.

    You’re AWESOME!


  1. 1 Le Fin. « All Buttoned Up Trackback on May 26, 2008 at 2:28 pm

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