To bolster his Bulgarian skills, my husband volunteers at a charity center that helps single mothers. He makes needle felted crafts with the other volunteers, mostly older women, listens to their stories and pushes himself to tell his own stories.
The ladies know I’m into knitting, and invited me to join Lorenzo one day, and to paw through a bag of scraps. Someone’s grandmother had passed, leaving behind her craft stash, and anything I didn’t want would end up in the trash.
There’s something very intimate about going through a stranger’s unfinished crafts after they’re dead. The bag contained sharply creased linens, half-embroidered with pixellated traditional designs. One corner of the linen might be completely filled in, the motif fading outwards into a single thread.
Besides embroidery, this person also crocheted breathtaking little bits out of stiff cotton thread.
When she was tired of one, she’d stuff it into an empty candy box (which, post-Communism, are now artifacts in their own right) and start a new one.
There’s also an unbelievably exact little handkerchief with samples of different hand-stitched patches, which, according to the tag, might have been stitched by a third grader.
Sifting through this treasure trove has inspired me to blog more examples of local textiles. I’ll be carrying my camera around, so stay tuned for more fiber finds.