Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blanket coverage

Earlier this week, Mum spent a whole day mending this blanket…

… a handmade quilt, that I had been using since I don’t know how long ago. As you can tell, it is made up of scraps of cloth cut into triangles. Two triangles each from two pieces of cloth make up a square. Mum would use the leftovers after making clothes for her four children, or would get odds and ends from cloth shops. She also had to find large enough pieces to make the borders (see pix below) as well as the base. All of us used these blankets, and I seem to have inherited most of them – there are four in my room.

Mum had to repair this blanket because quite a number of the triangles were torn or had disappeared, from some 30 years or more of usage. If you look at the first picture, you can spot a few obviously new-ish looking pieces – in terms of design and age – that seem a bit out of place, post-restoration.

These blankets bring me back to an earlier time when our family got by on Dad’s meagre salary. We ate simply at home; we had nothing beyond the bare necessities; there was no pocket money for me in my first years of schooling, and all of my clothes were made by Mum. She was and is an intelligent woman, who if born today, would have excelled in school and made a name for herself in whatever profession she chose. But she lived during a time when women were given little or no education, and were expected to master the role of wife and mother – the highest achievement they could attain. Thus, Mum spent her day running the household – sewing clothes, cooking, cleaning, managing the finances and so on.

Sis recently revealed that she was very sad when termites ate her stash of Mum’s quilted blankets. These quilts are our own little family heirloom and very treasured because we have few objects left from those days. My practical and unsentimental parents have discarded many of the old stuff because we no longer use them and they have become teen ter, Hokkien for “in the way”.

So, I have packed away that old blanket of mine, and am using another of Mum’s creations – smaller and of newer vintage (above).

Thanks, Mum, for everything.


Jen L. said...

I'd like to add, having actually slept under these: they're really comfy. Smooth and silky -- probably because they've been so well-loved, well-used.

z said...

this made me sad because i feel the same way about my grandmother's blankets--the same style!!! she passed on during my qualifiers and i really miss her a lot.