Friday, June 20, 2008


Every time I get out Rita's silks (and I'll never think of them as anything else) it brings up the whole swirl of feelings that go with Rita.

I met Rita late in her life. She was a very skilled stitcher with a true passion for learning. She was also very sure her way was not only the right way, it was the only way. I liked her and enjoyed our visits, but she often asked things I had difficulty with.

Our main issue of contention was that she would ask me for photocopies of books, charts and magazines. I can understand--she was on an extremely limited budget. But I just couldn't do it. When I could I would buy a duplicate for her or give her mine, but I couldn't always do that. She also wanted (needed) more time than I had. I regret that a bit more...I feel I should have been able to work something out; others did.

I could have learned so much from her, I just wasn't wiling to pay the tuition, I guess.

Every time I pick up her basket of silk threads, I think about her stitching. I think she'd be happy someone's using them. I think she might even be interested in what I'm doing with them.

She made lovely brooches with the silks. Her process was painstaking. She would stretch silk fabric over hand cut card shapes, padded with batting. Then she would embroidery delicate flowers, birds and little scenes (through the cardboard and all!). She'd finish with a second padded (and often embroidered shape) and twisted cord, often with a jeweled tassel. (The trim with it's Swarovski crystal was a truly major expense for her.)

I know all of this because part of the collection included her notebooks of how she worked, sketches, precious bits of hoarded silk fabrics. I'm not sure if I'll ever use any of those designs or techniques; they seem closer to Rita to me than the threads, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Rita did any and all types of stitching. She was most proud of a huge phoenix she made as a banner for her church. I first met her when she was teaching a simple needlepoint project. She loved crazy quilting and I can just see how enthralled she be by all of the new online resources that are available. She'd be having a great time.

1 comment:

Jane said...

You've bee ntalking about your "Rita silks" but I had no idea there were so many of them, or that they were so colorful! Are they buttonhole type? That's sort of what it looks like. What a treasure!