Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grandchildren and fiber

Although grandchildren have a direct line to my heart, they also engage my fingers and my fibers.

“The baby’s room will have an insect theme,” my daughter, Amber, said. And so, two months before our second grandson is due, I spread a piece of rug canvas on the floor and begin to imagine. Kieran’s rug held three goldfish in a purpely blue underwater world. For our next grandson, I drew a scene from a bug’s (or a small child’s) perspective. A lady bug climbs a grass stem; a honey bee hovers over a dandelion blossom; and three stages of a monarch – caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly, inhabit this bug’s eye world.

I spread five shades of green carded roving, yellow, red, orange roving and neutral brown, gray and tan around me on the sofa. Then I slip my locker hook through the first hole on the canvas, catch a loop of dark brown alpaca roving and pull the loop through to the front of the canvas. I hook another loop through the next hole in the canvas and repeat. When I have five loops of brown on my hook, I pull the locking thread on the end of my hook through the loops and begin again.

The rows accumulate slowly, only two per hour. There are one hundred rows of canvas in my design. I will listen to lots of books on tape as I create a rug for a baby to lay on, a tired mother to stand on, and a small boy to imagine himself within.

I appreciate the rovings as they slip through my fingers. The coarse gray-brown was from Fair’s fleece, my very first sheep. The variegated sage green was naturally dyed with common mullein from our fields. The roving for the monarchs wings simmered in orange Kool Aid for half an hour to turn a brilliant orange. Memories of dyeing with friends over wood fires mingle with anticipation of a new addition to our family as I create something that has never existed before – possibly an intriguing image, hopefully a beautiful rug, certainly a gift from my heart.

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