Saturday, April 07, 2007

Seamy Side Of My Denim Patchwork Coverlet

I finished assembling the blocks of my denim patchwork coverlet day before yesterday. I took pictures of the seamy side because it looks rather interesting, and because it will soon be covered by the backing fabric, red sweatshirt fleece. I plan to tie it, but I haven't decided how yet, or what to use for edge binding. While wondering about all these things, I also wondered about the word "seamy." Turns out, blogger "Language Hat" also wondered about "seamy" on December 20, 2004.

....[T]his is one word that really does derive from Shakespeare...he has Emilia say (in Othello, Act IV Scene 2):

"O, fie upon them! Some such squire he was
That turn'd your wit the seamy side without,
And made you to suspect me with the Moor."

Hence the OED's definition reads: "Having a seam or suture; characterized by seams. seamy side, lit. the under side of a garment, etc. on which the rough edges of the seams are visible; fig. [after Shakes.] the worst, most degraded or the roughest side (of life, character, etc.)"...
1859 Sat. Rev. 2 Apr. 403/1 He appreciated to a considerable extent, what we may perhaps venture to call the seamy side of human affairs.
But by the end of the century it was taken for granted:
1899 H. A. Dobson Paladin of Philanthropy vi. 146 The knowledge of the seamy side of letters.

Emilia is defending herself here, saying Iago's wits are turned inside out. I still don't understand how we jump from "wrong-headed/wrong-side-out" to "sordid." Virtuous or not, here's the "right side" of the cover, snapped yesterday when the snow was just beginning to pile up.

2 comments:

Jane said...

Neat quilt! I love the ones that look like they could be antiques and I've been playing with making one similar to this but with cottons. Maybe I'll dig the box of double knits out of the crawl space (because I don't have that much denim - it all goes to patching DH's hammock) and see how those would work. The double knit quilt that I made back in 1982 when I was first starting is still going strong and has been on the bed ever since I finished turning the front to the back and tacking it down after tying.

mysticalfeet said...

I love the quilt! So very Gee's Bend. How's the weather back there? The Easter snow was beautiful but alas for all the poor daffodils!