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.
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.