Wednesday, 26 June 2013

WIPW - Lace and Flags

It has been a hectic week but here is my Work In Progress Wednesday report on the coffee party quilt, Kafferepet. For more WIPW reports, go to Pintangle.

There are no more 'items' on the quilt top; the last thing to show and tell is the collection of lace that I have incorporated between the blocks.

There are seven kinds of lace. All but two are handmade by ladies in my family, grandmothers, aunts and my mother. Originally the lace must have been made for bed linen. Most of them can be traced to fine sheets and pillow cases, but in my mother's stash I found a number of odd bits and ends of lace.
In honour of all 'kafferep' parties these ladies have hosted, I wanted to make use of these pieces in my quilt.

This lace was crocheted by my mother:


These are bobbin lace:






This lace I have bought, and it is machine made:


As you can see I have placed the lace on top of either blue or yellow fabric. By doing this I wanted to add the colours of the Swedish flag.








How a national flag is used varies of course from country to country.
In Sweden I feel it is a symbol of summer; it is flown whenever there is a festival, like this Midsummer Dance around the May pole. Also it is flown to celebrate a national holiday, a birthday or graduation.
Anyone with a private yacht, a country cottage, a caravan or a sunny balcony is likely to have a small flag on display.
When the rectangular flag is not used, a pennant like this is flown.
One of the Swedish traditional Christmas tree decorations is bunting:





























Many flags have names, the Union Jack (Great Britain), Stars and Stripes (USA), Dannebrogen (Denmark, the oldest flag in the world) ... and while writing this I found that the Swedish flag is supposed to be called Swea. This is something I have never heard before.  If you know anything about this, I would be interested to read your comment.

A flag that does have a name is the Japanese, Hinomaru. This must be the easiest flag in the world to draw - you take a sheet of white paper and draw a red dot in the middle!
This simple design has given name to the most frugal form of boxed lunch, the Hinomaru Bento (the seventh picture from the top). It consists of a bed of cooked rice with a pickled red plum in the middle.
During WWII another version of the flag, with sunrays, became the symbol of ultra nationalism and aggression.
A flag is like any powerful symbol, it can evoke pride, shame, unity, distance taking or other strong feelings. The power of a piece of fabric!


16 comments:

  1. I think you will find the British flag is called The Union Flag and ( Jack ) is when used on ships. The use of Family mad lace is a lovely way to keep memories.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. When I read it I thought of Big Ben, who for many is the clock tower (Elizabeth Tower) or the clock, but actually is the nick name of the greatest BELL. (One reason might be that 'klocka' in Swedish can mean both 'clock' and 'bell').
      It was interesting to write this blog post as I had to do some research. I've just checked http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Jack and there is a lot written about the flags of Great Britain. There seems to be a 'matter of debate' about the name. Whatever the official name, your flag is one of the world's most beautiful (in my opinion).

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  2. A lovely use of old bits and pieces of lace.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it feels meaningful to use the 'scrap' pieces like this.

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  3. What a wonderful way to use family heirlooms :) All of the lace is lovely!

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    1. Thank you, Aurelia.
      It is nice to handle the lace grandmother once made!

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  4. Oh that beautiful lace! My friend Angela also has a collection much like yours, collected from old linen that belonged to her mother, grandmother and great grandmother. (She migrated here from far northern Germany, that part that changes from Danish to German every so often.)
    This is a very special piece.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the more I look at this quilt top, the more I think and write about it, the more special it becomes. It is sad when the lacy sheets no longer are used, but the duvet covers now so popular are easy to care for and can cover a plain duvet. The lacy sheets go well with a 'silk' quilt but not with the IKEA non-woven synthetic quilts we are prone to buy these days... Sigh! There is only one thing for it; stop making wall-hangings and make a bed size attractive quilt instead!

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  5. My mother made tatted lace but I was never able to teach myself.I found out that if I wanted lace tablecloths, I would have to make them myself.
    I have made one for each possibility of table configuration ... round, one leaf, two leaves, and three leaves.

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    1. In primary school I made bobbin lace; I was the only girl in the class who wanted to try her hand at it, the others were fighting over the sewing machines. However, not having had a lace making cushion to work on I haven't made any more bobbin lace. My mother taught me to crochet lace but I got cramp in my hands and gave it up. I have yet to try tatting, something that is very popular to add to crazy quilt blocks.

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  6. how lovely to have added lace made by so many of your family, not sure if you make lace too Queeie, I expect you do as you are so versatile with your fingers. Very interesting reading about the culture etc in Sweden, such an interesting life living in different countries you well travelled lady

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    Replies
    1. As I explained in my reply to Julie's comment I have tried bobbin lace and crocheting. I loved the former but have no bobbin lace cushion, I gave up on the latter as I found the muscles in my hands got sore. Tatting, well, I'd love to try, but there is no time. Also when I see the wonderful tatting you make I wonder if I ever can make something as beautiful.
      I am not well travelled! I circle between three places on the Globe, that's all, but thanks to internet and blogging friends I have learned a lot about other countries and customs.

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  7. You have some beautiful lace Queenie, all made with the love and care of your family. I myself would choose handmade things, they are always better quality. The lace is going to make your quilt into something special!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, aren't I lucky! : ))
      I have no idea how many hours the ladies in my family spent on making these treasures, but I am glad that the lace will be shown and enjoyed for a long time rather then hibernate in a box of scraps.

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  8. Another lovely post! What beautiful treasures from your family and you are really honoring them. I love your insight about flags, too.

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    1. I am really grateful to my mother and the other ladies in the family for not having tossed out these 'scraps' and I hope they approve of how I have used the fruit of their labour. I know almost nothing about flags, compared to a small Japanese boy I once saw on TV. He was only 5 years old but knew the official flag of every country in the world, where the country was on the map and the name of its capital. Had the mother been training her son to do tricks or was it his own interest?

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