Maryte Collard – Country – Flora/Fauna

Linas and Rūta

Flax has been grown in the territory of Baltic tribes for more than 4000 years, and linen has a special place in my nation’s traditions, arts and crafts. It is amazing that a flax plant and anything made from flax fiber in Lithuanian is called with the same word LINAS.

I decided that all 6 quilt pieces representing Lithuania, I will make from linen fabrics, mostly hand woven and not commercially dyed. The Lithuanian Flora quilt is a perfect opportunity to show how Lithuanians used and still use linen fibers in their everyday life. 

In this quilt I used scraps from my collection of handwoven towels and tablecloths. I also used a piece of commercially made linen lace where bleached and unbleached threads were combined.

I crocheted the frame for an embroidered patch, using unbleached linen yarn. I have to admit that throughout my life I crocheted many doilies, skirts, blouses and even dresses using unbleached linen yarn. I didn’t stitch this quilt too much because I didn’t want to distort the weaving patterns. 

Up to the mid-20th century, Lithuanian people had sung songs on every occasion, including the seeding and cutting of flax and weaving of linen. Linen also appears in other folk songs, such as the ones about war or marriage. In the marriage songs the most popular plant is RŪTA (Rue). It is the most frequently referenced herb in Lithuanian folk songs, as an attribute of young girls, associated with virginity and maidenhood. It was common in traditional Lithuanian weddings for only virgins to wear a rue  at their wedding, a symbol to show their purity. Rue is considered a national herb of Lithuania. 

That’s why on a small patch of unbleached linen I embroidered a flower of linas and a spray of rūta.

Detail view:

The entire collections of my linen quilts:

These quilts don’t look like what I usually make, but I have to admit, that making them was a pleasure. I felt getting close to my roots, to my heritage, and linen was singing to my soul.

  1. I still have some Lithuanian linen fabrics bought some years ago and I cherish them for the beauty and quality. Love the way you incorporated this important plant into the whole series. And it is beautifully done, as usual.

  2. A wonderful interpretation of a plant that is so valuable to the Lithuania culture. well done

  3. Maryte this is lovely. The way you have chosen your plant to tie all the pieces together is really clever and the series looks really great. I love the touch if colour with the flowers and leaves, great work!

  4. Good choice and well explained. Amazing work that completes perfectly your series. Well done as usual. Bravo!

  5. I really like the choice of fabrics and really appreciate your embroidery work.
    Did I tell you that my mother was born in Lithuania? I feel like your story touches me too.

  6. studiociboulette

    Beautiful work and I like that you chose linen, a fabric that is from your country, it gives the work more richness. Beautiful soft colors. Bravo!

  7. This is a fine end to your series and truly demonstrates the beauty of linen fabrics and threads. Your soft colour palette is very fitting and the addition of the flower gives a lovely flash of colour.

  8. Chantal Guillermet

    The scraps of linen fabrics from your collection are beautiful ! I am always in awe by the quality of our ancestor’s work. I have kept all the table cloth and linen from my family but I am unable to cut into them … for that I buy linen on flea markets that I can dye and incorporate into my work !
    Your series was really interesting.

  9. This is a stunning use of a common fiber – linen. Your piece is filled with a delightful assortment of texture and I enjoyed reading your statement.

  10. Lovely! The linen fabrics are wonderful and you have combined them well to show off their qualities. The little embroidered square with its bright colours is a great detail.

  11. The linen scraps are beautiful and tie in perfectly with the rest of your series. Love the soft, natural colors, the crocheted frame with the hand embroidered lina flower and rue sprig that adds a pop of color. Lovely representation of your country and a great end to your series.

  12. A joy to read your statement and to understand how important the material is in the history of your country. Your piece is lovely with all the different examples. I especially love the crocheted piece with the blue flower. A very harmonious series. Well done!

  13. I love how you used all these different linen fabrics. The nice blue flower pops of the background. Beautiful series, Maryte.

  14. I really loved your story about the flax plant and the linen. Your piece is a beautiful assembly of old linen pieces. Your whole series talks about nostalgia. Wonderful and harmonious. Bravo.

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