Weaving Towels and Traditions

Thanksgiving is over, and while it’s still technically fall, I know many Americans are decorating their homes inside and out to prepare for winter and all the holidays it brings. Gone are the pumpkins, turkeys, and decorative orange leaves! In their place go snowmen, sleighs, and pine cones.

In southern New Mexico the winter décor differs slightly as snow is a fairly rare occurrence most years, and in true New Mexican fashion we have our own traditional decorations. Luminarias go up, both traditional paper and candle versions as well as the more durable plastic and electric light ones. Sugar skulls decorate Christmas trees while melt in your mouth biscochitos (the official cookie of New Mexico) served with hot chocolate start appearing at holiday parties.

In my own home, winter decorating officially starts the day after Thanksgiving as I put up my Christmas tree and string up my set of chile pepper lights. Growing up, my favorite tree decorations were always the antique globes daintily painted with stripes, flowers, trees, and other scenes. My parents had quite the collection, and I loved seeing their bright jewel tones as they sparkled and shone with the Christmas lights. While commercials and my elementary school teachers taught me that the colors of winter were red, green, white, and blue, I tended to prefer the deep purples, smooth turquoises, bright pinks, and shimmery golds of those ornaments.

This season I have a new addition to my slew of winter and holiday decorations: an ornate overshot towel. Earlier this year I spent some time weaving towels based on Pattie Graver’s beautiful “Bertha’s Towels.” The rich jewel tones and the shiny pearl cotton reminded me of those beautiful globes that adorned my childhood Christmas tree. I made three handwoven towels, all slightly different (and true to my fashion, none exactly the same as Pattie’s original towel), and gave two away. The third is going to sit in the place of honor under the glass of my living room coffee table.


Christina’s interpretation of Bertha’s Towels

Though I’m writing this a few days before you all will ready it, I’m already looking forward to snuggling on the couch with a mug of cocoa, reading my favorite winter-time books and watching The Bishop’s Wife, my favorite Christmas film, as I do every year. Though I will not be home to help decorate the Christmas tree with my mother and brother, I can look at that towel and think fondly of all those day-after-Thanksgivings past as my brother and I carefully hung up our favorite ornaments and drank hot chocolate that was probably more marshmallow than anything else. Then I can look up from the beautiful towel to my Christmas tree where among the branches sit just a few of those same antique globes.

Happy Weaving!


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