mama dear made rag rugs. i still have a few of them. for a long time, a rag rug served as a faux tablecloth on the kitchen table. eventually, after years of washings, the stitches loosened up and i tucked it carefully into the drawer of a cupboard in the dining room.
my grandmother also made yoyo quilts. she took outgrown clothing and bits of leftover fabric bolts and cut circles from them. sewing a running stitch along the perimeter she pulled and it gathered into a rosette-round. hundreds of rosettes later, even thousands, she stitched them together into quilts full of visceral memories of moments spent in party dresses or aprons or simple a-lines. yoyo quilts sell on etsy for a few hundred dollars, but i would never sell mine.
some day i’d like to make a yoyo quilt. i had envisioned my children cherishing one made from clothing they wore as little ones, but i realize that their level of thready is nowhere near mine, so i will have to make the quilt for myself. i have saved their clothing to do just that – tiny overalls, sweet sundresses, toddler leggings, mini blue jeans, printed onesies and receiving blankets – for a yoyo or even for a traditional quilt, both projects which seem like mindfulness exercises even with the tedious work needed to create them. someday.
we walked into the door of the farmhouse. it was our second time there. i remembered it as homey and just perfect for what we needed – as a gathering space for the family, the rest of whom were staying in a hotel. i remembered the blue walls, the chalkboard cabinet doors with messages, the photographs. i remembered the cheer.
but i had forgotten about the rag rugs. instant bonding.
in early morning, the sun rose past the horizon, peeked under the porchroof, around the adirondack chairs and the swinging platform, past the sleeping gracie-cat and up and over the fern perched on the rusty-red outside cellar doors.
but at just the right time, in later afternoon, it curled around the silo and the barn out on the west side, streamed in through the screen door and bathed the old wood floor and the rag rug in light. like a spotlight on something simply beautiful, it called out to be noticed.
i wonder how hard it is to make a rag rug. mama dear never showed me how she made them. i suppose i could take them out of the upstairs closet where they linger, waiting for the right chance to use them again. maybe i could figure it out. it can’t be too very difficult to discern the process. but my grandmother was a talented seamstress and i remember mama dear sewing and sewing, her hands moving quickly – at her singer or with needle and thread – and talking, talking, talking as she sewed. the only time she didn’t speak was when she would (don’t try this at home) store pins pursed between her lips. i thought that straight pins needed ‘spittin’ on’ in order to use them. it wasn’t for a few years until i learned that my grandmother was not spitting on the pins before she used them. perception – as a child – is a funny thing. what i did understand was how much she made things for all of us. no spit needed, just lots of love.
rag rugs and quilts and wood floors. they go straight to my heart.
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