May’s Blanket: an old pair of jeans and a journey.
If you have been following my blog, you are by now aware that what I am aiming to do with this crochet journey is to experiment how you can use crochet as a medium to weave a story into the fabric of a blanket.
Furthermore, I would like to encourage all of you out there to do the same and to create your little piece of history.
Today I want to introduce something else that it is very important to me:
“Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect”.
It is a Buddhist concept called wabi-sabi “the wisdom and beauty of imperfection.” it can be applied to virtually anything but in this case it is about taking the time to create something really unique as a beautiful way of connecting with a garment or textile, and making a feature of an old scrap of fabric, recycling old yarn or mixing oddballs, given as a present, out of a sale basket or an impulse buy..( we all have been there…) , old yarn from the bottom of your stash.
With the assumption that beauty is in an object’s impermanence and imperfection that means that mistakes, maybe some wonky stitching or different textures can be embraced, and you do not need to be a confident crocheter you just need to be able to hold a hook and have some yarn, so this is also a perfect project for a beginner.
What has inspired me are traditional Japanese boro cloths.
They have a beauty like no other. Each cloth tells a unique story of its journey through life with patches carefully sewed on and reinforced with stitching, often over generations of a single family.
Although beautiful, boro cloths came about through pure necessity. During the 18th and 19th centuries cotton,in Japan, was a luxury afforded only to the nobility. The lower classes had homespun fibers, like hemp, which were more difficult to make into a fabric and didn’t last as well. By patching and stitching, the fabric could be strengthened and its life could be extended. During the Edo era, there were also laws that restricted lower classes from wearing bright colors which is why the cloths are indigo blue and brown.
During these times pieces of cloth were re-purposed in various forms. Often starting off as a kimono then becoming everyday clothing, a piece of sleepwear, a futon cover, a bag then finally a dusting cloth. Every scrap was used until it wore out.
Boro textiles are now highly sought after collectibles. I am not so sure about the ethical side of that and the fact that now they fetch thousands of pounds and adorn the lounges of affluent people, to me it defies the purpose in the first place, but I am grateful for the opportunity to see them in exhibitions n museums as a tangible piece of history and a lesson too.
Boro celebrate the beauty of something frayed, decaying or repaired and also conveys a deep sense of regret concerning waste, as Earth’s resources are limited and it is important to search for new and creative ways to recycle and reuse.
So back to the blanket…
What am I going to do? I have no plan really. I have been collecting bits and pieces: some Japanese bowls I use every day, I love the colors and patterns, some yarn I have been given to try at the last Blogstar’s meeting and some crochet samples I made.
All I know I want to use my old jeans. I bought them years ago. It must have been a bit of a ‘middle life crisis’ as I never wear jeans and I thought they looked ‘trendy’.
Then I gained some substantial amount of weight and they lingered at the bottom of my wardrobe for ages as I couldn’t wear them anymore, but since Christmas I have been shedding the weight once again and now they are far too big for me to wear. I wore them to go camping for Beltane’s celebrations last weekend and I had to keep pulling them up which was really annoying.They are not good enough to go to a charity shop but they are precious to me as they remind me of my weight loss journey. So they are going to become a blanket!
I am going to see if I can introduce some sashiko to join the pieces together,
Sashiko is a traditional form of Japanese hand sewing that uses a simple running stitch sewn in repeating or interlocking patterns, usually piercing through several layers of fabric.
wish me luck…I will keep you updated on it’s progress,
love to you all,