archaeology of elders

i had a big surprise once i started removing the binding from this quilt. i had planned to just use it as the center of my elder cloth and expand around it with the wool blanket and other pieces, but as it turns out... it had been a larger quilt at one time, and had been folded in half and re-bound and quilted... presumably due to the wear on the top side, now the inside...

so strange how i've had this quilt for a while and had no idea what treasures were inside. some of the patterns look 30s or 40s with their dotted designs. i still love the back, it reminds me of hobo fabrics, but with this discovery, i'm rethinking the whole design.

i find all these tatters and bits of batting incredibly beautiful. i'd like to just tack most of them down rather than patch over them, but some of them i'll patch with the elder-dyed muslin. i also thought about trying to felt some of them down.. i'm assuming the batting is cotton, but perhaps i could add some wool. although i don't want to do anything to further damage the fabrics, so i doubt that would work. i'd have to remove the top layer of piecing and apply it to a prefelt, and i don't know how much of it would survive. i've seen quilts that looked almost as delicate as this one in places, but i do want it to be strong and usable as a blanket, preferably even washable. would a million quilting stitches on top of the batting accomplish that?

for the new year, inspired by jude, i've started to set a course. the theme is 'wild' or 'the wild.' i don't have a colour or shape yet. brown is feeling good right now, but i'm not sure i've fully explored grey yet. and then blue has been coming up for me a lot lately, and that is new. i don't have a shape yet either, i'm not sure i work that way.

things are weird here right now. the beginning of fall has me looking inward and wanting to go deeper. i always want things to stay the same and am reluctant to take things apart, get rid of or improve anything. wabi-sabi is such a fabulous, comforting philosophy and aesthetic, but i worry that so much nostalgia keeps me stuck, disempowered, and keeps me from taking part. always obsessing over what to keep, what to mend, what to give up... and too much inertia. i feel the need for some deep healing and release and think i'm ready.


  1. that is an amazing find on the inside. i wouldn't want to hide all that history. if it were mine, i would preserve it as is behind a glass frame, maybe. not really sure what i would do but i don't think i'd want to disturb it.

  2. wow, what a beauty..... i totally feel your dilemma re: the fall and feeling stuck. I to want to turn inward and stay there. Like a bear hibernates.... yup that's what I am thinking. I say trust yourself with this quilt. Your love for it cant be denied and let your creativity soar. Am thrilled to find your blog and am really looking forward to see what direction you take. xx Sandy

  3. richness and gorgeousness.
    how impossible would it be to separate the layers & invisible baste them to new bases before bringing them back together?

  4. What a wonderful thing. All those marks of time and other makers.

  5. Good for you. I know where you are at Dru as I was just there myself and am working my way out:) Be brave. What is the worst that can happen if you make a wrong decision once in a while?

    Fabulous post. Beautiful quilt. I promise to get those questions answered today. I forgot until this moment.

    Are you going to do SouLodge?

  6. dru...such a tender post. so, you and
    this quilt are the same??? in a way...
    what to keep, what to give up, what to
    strengthen, what to change......how amazing
    that you found it and are slowly discovering
    a really beauty Full Full Full post.
    thank you for it....love

  7. deanna, it's tempting to want to preserve it, but i am so sure that this is my elder cloth.. so i feel that i must work with it and use it...

    sandy, thanks for finding me! hibernation is exactly where i'm at... where a few of us are it seems..

    handstories, i like that idea - but i'm not sure it's possible. plus even aside from the batting, there are so many delicate worn fabric patches that i'm not sure it'll be strong on a new base anyway. those might need to be patched over, but i love the way they look! at least until a dog claw gets caught in them..

    claire, i'm so glad you visited, your work is wonderful!!

    cindy, yes i'm doing soulodge and am really excited. are you thinking about it? i'd love to know more about your climb.

    grace, i was thinking of you when i wrote this post. trying to make my blog more open and honest and real. you are such an inspiration.

  8. wow, i am full with this cloth and post.

  9. i wrote down the date and some word
    images from this post, so i can go/come back
    to it...
    i am hoping that you will carry the threads
    of your thinking here forward as you do the
    work, referencing what you wrote here, this
    moment in time.
    it really IS elegant and somehow also the kind
    of beauty and intensity that we back away from
    because it holds such meaning.

    i am just a blabberHeart. Love to you....

  10. I'm not a quilter but I am a fabric lover and this is so lovely. I love how it shows it's history - just beautiful !

  11. This is just beautiful...all of it. I have a section on a quilt that has pulled into threads. I've been thinking about stitching all the threads down or weaving into it to make it more sturdy but not sure yet...oh the choices!

  12. deb, i hope you'll share what you decide... i stitched on mine a little, but mostly i'm still looking and thinking.

    grace, i'll definitely keep going with this.. i think it's my journey. love.

  13. The quilt is telling you to go deeper - such rewards when you do! I have seen very old quilts stabilized with netting applied over top. Perhaps cotton gauze or cheese cloth would work as well. I wouldn't try felting.
    Some words from the cover of a japanese magazine I received today: Revive, Remake and Revere.

  14. im soooooOOOOOOO glad to have discovered ur blog. it's like a treasure trove... ooooh!!!!!