Lifestyle, Stories

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,

Lucia xx

 

13 Comments

  1. Vittoria

    May 3, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Complimenti, Lucia, per tutto il tuo lavoro meraviglioso! Questa idea di una “memory blanket” è a dir poco fantastica, e vorrei avere la tua fantasia per farmene una personalizzata… Congratulations on all your fine work, from a fan of yours in Italy! Vicky

    1. admin

      May 3, 2017 at 9:43 am

      grazie Vittoria,
      mi fa piacere che l’idea ti sia gradita, a dire la verita’ non ho la piu’ pallida idea di come questa coperta si sviluppera’ ma sono sicura qualcosa ne verra’ fuori ! magari faro’ delle entries piu’ spesso cosi’ puoi seguire l’iter.
      lucia xx
      Thank you Vittoria, i m delighted you like the concept, to be honest I have no idea of how the blanket will turned up, but I know I will manage to do something with it i will post more often so you can follow my train of thoughts.

  2. Kathleen

    May 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Thank you, Lucia, for this thoughtful and informative conversation about Japanese boro cloths and the inspiration for this month’s design. I find your blog inspiring as I return to crochet after many years without yarn in my hands. So looking forward to your posts as May progresses and this blanket develops. Wishes for a beautiful day there in Scotland.
    Kathleen

  3. Marg

    May 6, 2017 at 5:03 am

    Lucia, it’s the first time I’ve read your blog, and you have given me such a happy, inspiring start to my day. Thank you so much for such an interesting article. I will. Be looking at your older posts now.

  4. Pamela

    May 13, 2017 at 11:13 am

    thank you for such inspiring work and ideas

  5. Sira

    May 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Acabo de descubrir tu blog por medio del de Jane crow, y es maravilloso ver tus trabajos. no se inglés, pero si se apreciar un buen trabajo hecho con amor. Gracias

    Sira

    1. admin

      May 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Gracias Sira por sus amables palabras, puedo entender un poco de español como soy italiano para que pueda ponerse en contacto conmigo en cualquier momento si necesita alguna ayuda.
      lucia x

  6. Meryl Brockway

    May 17, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Hi Lucia, I found your blog via the Janie Crow website. Your colour pallets for your Fridas flowers blanket is stunning, think I prefer yours to the original. I’m so glad to have come across your blog as you sound like my kind of girl. I’m going to subscribe now and look forward to seeing all your future makes. Happy hooking sweetheart , sending love and best wishes to you from South East Wales

    1. admin

      May 17, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      thank you so much Meryl, for your lovely message and support. I m glad you like the new Frida!
      Lucia xxx

  7. janet

    May 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I like your granny square do you have a pattern for it please

    1. admin

      May 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      I haven’t written the pattern yet but I will make them available. 😀

  8. Emma F

    May 20, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    I have just found your blog through the May 2017 Stylecraft newsletter, and am so excited to have such a fabulous new-to-me blog to enjoy! I have enjoyed this post immensely, and feel that you have managed to convey so much meaning. I am looking forward to see how your jeans will be transformed. Now I am off to gaze at your beautiful blankets!

  9. Sandra Huwaidi

    June 12, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I would love to join your newsletter but it won’t let me. I just LOVE your site so much inspiration and colour candy. Thank you

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