Frances Ashforth

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Frances Ashforth
Ridgefield, CT

This is one of the many blankets my mother wove when she considered herself a “maker.” In the 1950s she studied sculpture at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. Creative in so many ways, she was also extremely organized. As she began to weave and knit she leaned towards pattern and balance of color. It must have been easier to fit knitting and weaving projects into the windows of limited creativity while raising young children. I can still see her armatures and clay gradually gathering dust as I grew up, but there were always so many other projects in the works!

She was also very fond of words and crossword puzzles. My father was an editor and the perfect collaborator for the New York Times weekend puzzles. With graph paper they built their own puzzles, and I often wonder if the repeated grid pattern on her blankets was influenced by the crossword puzzles.

I recently found a notebook of hand drawn patterns for her blankets. They were drawn boxes filled with letters and color annotations for her time at the loom.

She is now 87 and not a “maker”anymore. Sadly she has aphasia which actually makes you transpose, confuse and eventually lose your words.

We all leave behind things we make, whether material or in story form. Memories shape our lives, and are often revisited as we look for clues that help us understand those bits in our lives we don’t share.

I am so fortunate to be the keeper of so many of my mother’s creations. I hope this small, handmade, cotton blanket will bring joy to someone else. Especially someone who needs to be comforted.