Catskill Mountains, NY


Stone wall, Catskill Mountains, NY  Stone wall, Catskill Mountains, NY


My mother’s side of the family comes from the Catskill Mountains in New York.  Her father, and his predecessors (via Scotland), had a dairy farm on the romantically named Dingle Hill, and her mother grew up nearby on the farm of her mother (via Estonia), who ran it by herself when her husband died very young.  The Catskills are full of stony fields, forests, old fences and many, many springs and babbling brooks.


Rusty fence, Catskill Mountains, NY


I have very happy childhood memories of summertime visits to my grandparents’ farm.  Although the family doesn’t own the land any more, fortunately the Catskills remain, in general, not much changed, which is more than many people can say of their childhood haunts.  I may not be able to go back to the farm of my youth, but I can still return to a place that looks and feels the same and retains all of its beauty and much of its charms.

I attended a family reunion recently near the old farm.  Among other things we shared during the reunion, my aunt brought some fabulous textile objects that she has in her keeping.


Necktie Quilt -


The above is a coverlet made from old neckties, many of them silk.  It was made by my great-grandmother (on the Scottish side) and her daughter, my great-aunt.

The coverlet is tied rather than quilted and has a backing but no batting.

Necktie Coverlet -


Necktie coverlet -


Necktie coverlet


Necktie coverlet -


Necktie coverlet -


It is a beautiful example of piecework and creative color patterning, as well as mottainai¹.

My aunt also brought along this gem:


Wedding dress -


The same great-grandmother’s handmade silk wedding dress, circa about 1912-13.


Wedding dress -


Wedding dress -


Stunning workmanship and elegant design.  Here it is on the big day:


Wedding day, 1912 or 1913


It’s always so wonderful when family treasures are preserved.  However, like Indiana Jones, I find myself saying, “These belong in a museum!”.  Perhaps one day that is where they will end up.

¹Mottainai – (Japanese) – The regret that is felt when something is wasted. – (as an exclamation) “Waste nothing!”