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.