Thursday, July 12, 2007

Grandma Knew Green

the Pink, in Cardboard's Bedroom

Grandma Cardboard was ahead of her time. Long before anyone cared about recycling or knew "what the hang" a carbon footprint was, my grandma was thinking green. I was too young to remember this hobby of hers but my mom talks about it fondly.

Grandma Cardboard used to peruse thrift stores and gather all the wool she could find, usually nabbing a goldmine in worn out winter coats. As my mom and her siblings sat around, watching TV or playing games, my grandma would sit on the floor and make a rug. She first cut the old coats into strips and sewed the short pieces together (still sitting on the floor and using a hand-cranked sewing machine) to form long strips. Then she braided the long portions together, winding and stitching them into a circular or oval shape. The braids were fastened together with heavy-duty oil thread. She would keep herself busy with this for hours, planning out her color schemes and patterns. The end result was always slightly miraculous and definitely pretty.

I am lucky to have one of her largest rugs in my bedroom. It's the "pink" rug, named for the overall pinky-purpley look of the rug. It's one of her oval creations, with its longest side measuring out to about 10' and weighing probably about 60 pounds. It's impressive. It's lovely. It's eco-friendly. But most of all, it's the tangible texture of my grandma's creative spirit, the perfect spot to find balance every morning.


Anonymous said...

I have a set of 3 of these braided rugs my grandma gave me in a bright turquoise & pink colorway. They need some restoration - being restitched where the connecting stitches have broken but are otherwise beautiful. AND I still have 1 last rag rug my grandma had made. I'd get to use her "Singer" sewing machine to stitch rag strips together and then roll them into huge balls. Grandma would then take these cotton based - denim is great for this - ball to the rug weaver guy in her community.

Eric R. Rickert said...

gorgeous. lovely story.