a summer guild "assignment" we had was to read a book which mentions a particular textile skill, and create something using that skill which was inspired by the book. a read/create challenge you could say.
i've read the brothers grimm since my childhood (having a copy of the complete fairy tales of the brothers grimm), and several mention textiles; usually something to do with breaking an enchantment. one which i remembered well, and which had lots of possibilities, was the six swans.
here's the basic storyline: brothers become enchanted by evil stepmother, sister takes vow of silence for six years and begins sewing 5.5 shirts from asters (a flower), king falls in love with mute maiden living in woods, marries her, begets heirs which disappear soon after birth, maiden is accused of cannibalism by crazy mother in law, after third "disappearance" maiden sent to stake, at last moment saves brothers, vow is ended, proclaims innocence, mother in law dies, everyone lives happily ever after.
well, almost everyone. back to that .5 shirt; like any project which spans a few years, it's not quite finished when the deadline approaches. something about a sleeve. so, the sixth brother gets to keep a swan wing instead of an arm. a bit awkward, but hey, would you rather remain a swan?
i crocheted rather than sewed, but i wanted the finished piece to have more of a feeling of being crafted from nature. actually, i cut and spun the yarn from paper, then crocheted it. the wing was crocheted with a really cool paper yarn from habu i've been hoarding for years.
i figured the method used for creating the actual shirts was open for interpretation as i can't imagine sewing flowers together in the woods would be doable. they kind of skimmed over the details anyway. what did she use for thread? did she use the stems, or the leaves, or the flowers? how were they kept flexible after so many years? how were the shirts constructed? see, the way i see it is that the word sew could have been translated from a different word, like weave, maybe. it makes more sense for her to have woven the flowers into cloth, or knotted the stems into a cloth. that's the thing with translations and getting a story however many generations passed down verbally, there's a lot of interpretation and maybe the grimm brothers didn't know too much about the variety of methods found in the womanly art of the needle. it was written down during the 1800's after all. so there.
i'm thinking this would be an interesting series to pursue. i've got some ideas for the story all fur. well, we'll see where this thought takes me.