This weekend I went to the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to. My beautiful cousin got married and at her wedding she had collected vintage handkerchiefs for the guests "for happy tears." She worked hard to wash and press these vintage swatches and they were beautiful. Holding it in my hand was like a connection of the past and the present. My handkerchief got a lot of use that afternoon because I cried some serious happy tears.
I love the idea so much I plan on taking this handkerchief to every wedding I ever go to from now on. This little swatch can catch all of the happy tears I cry. I don't mind saying, I can tear up pretty quickly. A pretty white square with flowers embroidered on it with simple white edging makes me feel very fancy, even if I am dabbing the running mascara away from my eyes.
I look at my handkerchief today and wonder who owned it before me. Did they cry happy or sad tears? I wonder if someone did the edging or the flower details by hand. What has the journey been like between their last owner and me? Was this handkerchief stuffed in a dark drawer somewhere for years? I'd like to think it is happier with me.
I appreciate that it has a past. I hope that some knitting of mine will go on to live a longer life than mine. Maybe one of my grandchildren will find an old shawl of mine in a chest someday and wear it to keep the chill off her arms at a fancy restaurant. Perhaps she won't know all the places that shawl has been, but I would like to think she would show it a good time.
Perhaps we do knitting and spinning and all of the fiber arts for the same reason. We love that link to the past. I know I sit and think about women of another time knitting for need rather than for luxury. I think about how labor intensive it must have been to have had to spin the yarn to knit or weave the garment and I appreciate the work they put into every piece. We appreciate their skills and techniques by continuing to carry on their art. I bet they would have been impressed with what we've done too.