Monday, April 2, 2012

Home Fibers ~ Part II


I arrived home from my Virginia vacation and kind of spazzed on my blogging.  I'm the sort of person who makes daily goals and likes to get a lot done, so when I returned after a week off, I went crazy doing things with the kids and around the house.  My vacation involved much sitting and visiting and I just couldn't sit still any longer.  Whenever I thought about blogging, I was deterred by the prospect of idle desk time. 

I'm starting to settle back down now and I miss my routine of daily blogging.  Plus, I have a lot about which to blog.  I took so many pictures of home fibers while I was away.  I had a great time asking people about the fiber art that they have on display or in use in their homes, and my family and friends seemed to enjoy sharing their treasures.

Before I talk about my collage today, I just have to say a little something about this fiber mission.  I assigned myself the task of searching out home fibers just to add a little fiber flavor to my holiday.  I knew it would be interesting to me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions of my family and friends.  They seemed to enjoy showing me things as much as I enjoyed seeing them.  It gave us something more to talk about than just the everyday catching up.  It also made me feel more connected to the ones I love because talking about the fiber arts in their homes, led to talking about the hands that made them.  This often meant beloved mothers and grandmothers.  Hand crafted items hold so much sentimental value.  The style or condition they're in hardly matters when they are filled with tender, warm memories.

My collage today comes from my father-in-law's house.  My husband and I have been married for almost 17 years and in this time I have come to love his parent's home.  In fact, it seems fitting to display some of their fiber arts in a collage as my mother-in-law, Kathleen, had a gift for creating decorative displays.  She liked to collect items and then strengthen their story by grouping them.  For instance, the pineapple is historically a symbol of welcome.  Kathleen assembled a grand collection of pineapples including plaques, stained glass, needle point and more.  They are the first thing you see when entering the house and they assure you of the warmest of welcomes!

Also in the entryway is an antique cabinet on which stand a collection of wooden spools.  No doubt retired from years of good service in a textile mill, these spools now enjoy a place of rest and a new purpose.  They are fabulous in appearance, not the tidy little spools we use on our spinning wheels, but massive, metal enforced pieces of machinery.  When I look at them, I remember family dinners, sitting at the long dining room table.  The spools in their various heights winding down the center and illuminated by the candles that Kathleen placed in their cores. 

After this lovely greeting in the foyer, we make our way down the hall passing by the living room.  Draped over a chair is the blue shawl that a friend knitted for Kathleen after she was diagnosed with cancer.   I can't help but touch it as I pass by, grateful that Gary has kept it present.  Now it feels like a symbol of how much we all loved Kathleen and do still.

The hallway opens up to the family room.  This is a wonderful, open space with large windows looking out onto the water.   On the opposite wall hangs an impressive macram√© made by Gary's mother.  Though this wall hanging was made in Kansas years ago, it seems right at home and takes on more of a nautical feel.  The natural color and play of knots prepare you for a day filled with salty air and sea shells.  At the end of this day, you can curl up on the couch under a knitted afghan that lays waiting just for you.

What I love about my father-in-law's home is that everything feels so natural.  I'm not sure how to explain it, but sometimes you feel as though furnishings are brought in to match their environment.  On the contrary, there is something special about a structure that feels as though it was built just to accommodate the contents within.  I think it's the difference between house and home. 

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