Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Polyester and Procrastination

During holiday parties you sometimes get to know people you see throughout the year a little better. As a way of sharing something about myself, I let these non-quilting acqaintances know I have a blog. I scroll through my photos to show them my cat, a quilt I am working on, or family members. Invariably someone will shreek "Oh, oh that one! Stop scrolling! Oh, that one is so beautiful!"
 And they don't mean a quilt I made, but the polyester double-knit beauty I purchased at a garage sale (this one) or the poufy one I bought my hubby (meant to be a joke, but now I sleep under it) at Goodwill. See it in my previous post.
 My parents have lived in the same house since 1963, and one day a neighbor (a son of the original owner) was having a garage sale. He said his mother made two of the double knit beauties, and what the heck did he need two of them for? Having thought a lot of his sweet mother, and knowing how much work was put into it, I purchased it.
Mrs. Massey made the postage stamp-style quilt top probably in the early 1970s. The country was was just beginning a time of quilting skill revival, and most of us were working in somewhat difficult to find 100% cotton calico prints and thought little of readily available double-knit polyester.
 Most of us were walking around in pants suits made of the stuff and cloth stores were full of it. Our piecing was done by hand, as tradition dictates, and double-knit was very difficult to hand-sew. (See her tiny stitches 2nd photo.)
 This quilt reminds me of just how many different prints and textures of double knit there were. Mrs. Massey was a rebel; using "new" fabrics for a traditional craft. The rest of us were busy being snobs and rejecting polyester. I am so happy she was independent, resourceful and creative. Those qualitites are what I believe quilting to be about.
Apparently this quilt will last forever. It certainly photographs well. I love it, but have to say I am a little jealous of the attention the two polyester quilts get over my own work.

Today I must, must, must get out some holiday decorations. I understand I will have some company Christmas Eve, so it is time to clean, clean, clean and at least decorate a little.

7 comments:

Kris said...

Wouldn't you know it? But as for me....I will continue to drool over, and admire YOUR work! The quilt you purchased is indeed special, for many reasons, and I would have bought it too, but my tastes are really very similar to yours. I also rescue quilts from the Goodwill, and garage sales. I can appreciate the work that went into any such quilt.
I really love that so many younger ladies are taking quilting up, as well as yarn arts...such as knitting and crochet!!
Happy Holidays!
xo Kris

oldgreymare said...

I love that you find the "true spirit" of the quilt instead of passing it off as inferior because of content.The artist steps ahead of the mere viewers.
merry merry my dear <3

Muddling Through said...

My grandmother used to make quilts by hand from leftover clothing scraps. She made a lot of clothes, too. She would hand sew a square of fabric (or material, as she called it) to another square - leaving a small opening, turn them right sides out and stuff with a leg of pantyhose she collected from me and everyone else. When she had enough, she would hand sew all those squares together and tie the center of each square with thread. This woman lived through the great depression and never forgot how to "make do". It is a heritage I treasure.

terry said...

Your "poly" quilt reminds me of a "poly" quilt my mother made when I was a child. Her squares were larger and I have no idea what batting she used (I suspect it was an old blanket) but it was heavier than heck. Sleeping under it was like sleeping under one of those x-ray blankets. My brother loved it and took possession of it. Don't know what happened to. Thanks for rekindling that memory. Merry Christmas to you.

Terry

Karmen Sunshine said...

Hi Terry, I am glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I clicked over to your blog; it looks like you all have a good time at The Country Loft. I took a look through your patterns on the website. You have so many good ones! I especially like My Sewing Bag.
Karmen

annie said...

Great read!
This reminded me of my Momma. I remember when polyester suits became all the go, she had several in many shades and a few patterns. She owned a little beagle type mutt that shed horribly and lived in the living room. Every where she went, her poly pants were covered in white dog hairs up to her knees! When poor Cindy went on to doggy heaven she swore off dogs in the house forever. The only reason she had her was because one of my very spoiled older brothers wanted her there. I agree the colors are pretty, but give me fine cotton quilts any day!

Karmen Sunshine said...

Hi Annie,
I am glad you shared your memory with me; those polyester pants suit were on all of us "back in the day." My mother made me two skate dresses (I roller danced) that zipped up the front: one in turquoise and one in red. I could also wear the dresses to school with the matching bell bottom pants underneath.
Karmen