& Syrian Wedding Dress
Nothing like three whole days with your long-time bead friends to make one happy! Lucky me... that's what I've been doing! Four bead sisters gathered in Mary's art-filled home to share ideas, recent work, sources of inspiration... and most importantly, time to bead. Life is good!
One of the gals had previously shown us a little crocheted beaded bag that she had made. Two of us were highly intrigued, so she gave us a quick lesson. Below is my bag in progress. I still have to finish the top, and I plan to crochet a ruffle or two under the holes for the drawstrings. I'll show it again when it's done.
My experience with crocheting is VERY limited, having put a crocheted edging on a set of embroidered pillowcases back in the '60s and made a potholder or two in the '70s. I didn't know if I'd take to working with a #9 crochet hook and #8 perle cotton. Yet once I got the hang of it, the meditative quality of the repetitive movements kicked in and made it quite appealing.
After getting home last evening, I tried to find free directions for a simple scalloped edging on line, with no success. So now I'm trying to "invent the wheel." However, I did find this fine website with links to many lovely crocheted edge stitches (just not one that worked for this bag).
Mary's home is so filled with beautiful art that I could have spent the entire three days photographing it. (Sorry... I had to bead.) However, just before I left, I photographed the Syrian wedding dress that hangs in the entry way to her home. There wasn't good lighting in the hall, so we carried it outside. Here is the whole dress.
The fabric is hand-woven, heavy-weight cotton (and possibly some linen) of an even weave. The embellishments are mostly cross-stitch. I totally love it... especially the way it's symetrical at first glance, yet on closer inspection you can see that the accent colors are not exactly symetrical. The "flags" which hang from the sleeves were stamped (with a poem), embellished, and added by Mary.
Here are two detail shots of the dress... the shoulder/neck area and the lower center front. Click on the pictures to see them enlarged. What an amazing amount of work! It almost makes me embarassed to show my little crocheted bag.
Transylvania, where young girls become proficient with a needle at an early age and take great pride in making their own traditional wedding dresses. Often these dresses are worn for special occassions and to attend church for several years after the wedding, then kept as a family treasure. Although I'm sad that the need for cash forced a Syrian woman to sell her wedding dress, it certainly is a beautiful thing in Mary's home... cherished as much as it would be in Syria.