Thursday, March 17, 2011

Weaving Memories

From the time I was a small child, I dreamed of one day having my own family, but sometimes life just doesn't work out as we think it should. Without going too much into my story, I will share that we tried everything. Finally, after a period of grieving, I told my husband that yes, I would love to have my own family, but I just needed to feel that I had made a difference in the life of a child. There was an ad in our neighborhood newsletter looking for people to host exchange students. That hit home for me. When I was in high school, I took French and would have loved the opportunity to live and study in France as an exchange student. My father left and there was no money for such an adventure, but here was my chance to make this possible for a teenager. Over the years we hosted 11 students from all over the world. On February 26th, our German student who lived with us the very first year we hosted, got married. We also hosted his two sisters later on. We have 3 Italian students that we have not seen for quite a while, so we arranged to see them before the wedding in Austria. (Going to Austria from Germany is like going to Indiana from Illinois, sounds exotic but it's actually just a 3 hour drive.)

We had a wonderful time. In this picture is from left to right, Massimo, my husband Carl, Giacomo, and Alex. They are all men now and are doing quite well. I am so very proud of them and I loved having them together and sharing stories. Of course their favorite stories are of all the things I did to make their life difficult while they lived with us.
So I needed a special dress for a special wedding. Last summer I decided to weave a skirt out of ribbons. I got it started, but wasn't in a hurry to get it done, so it stayed on my board for quite a while.

The gold ribbon I had. The other ribbons I bought to pick up the colors in a piece of Asian print fabric that I had. I'm sure you can guess where I bought the ribbons, Soutache of course! I was so pleased with the ribbons that I chose. You really can't see it in this picture, but the beige ribbon actually has a small stitched edge on either side and it was absolutely perfect with the fabric.
Everyone who has seen the skirt asks how long it took to do the weaving. Once I decided how I wanted the ribbons to be arranged, the weaving took about 6 hours. The real work came when I attached it to a piece of silk as an underlining and then figuring out exactly how I would finish the hem. I don't have close up pictures at the moment, but I will take some to share with you.

Me with our Martin and his lovely bride, Jeanette.

Another picture of me with Martin taken in the castle where we stayed and where they held the reception.

Sadly, this picture is rather blurred, but at least you can see what my blouse looks like.

This is a picture of the castle where we stayed. It was built in the 1500's and had been the summer home of a duke.

Life did not work out exactly as I had planned. A friend asked me once, "what would you give up now that you have gone on with your life?" That was a very interesting question for me to ponder. If I had gone on to have that family, I would probably have never learned to fly, I would probably not have taken exchange students. Now that I am on this side of those experiences, I can't imagine my life any other way. Some of the ribbons in my skirt are rather narrow and seem less significant than the others, but if one was missing, the whole piece would fall apart. The time I spent with these kids was a very narrow portion of their life and mine as well, but I know that it was significant. They made my life richer and so much more meaningful.

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  1. This is a vey nice story indeed.
    I would definitely have a closer look at this awesome skirt.
    I remenber that about 20 years ago I weave a big cushion with velvet ribbons, I had suc a marvellous trying to find the best color arrangement.

  2. Beautiful skirt and even better story!

  3. Lovely, and the analogy of the ribbons in life is perfect.