Many knitters before me have fallen down the rabbit hole contained in that passage. What is "cotton warp" and how does it become a quilt?
While L.M. Montgomery didn't leave us a pattern, it's thought likely that Mrs. Lynde was knitting "counterpane"--a series of intricate blocks that could later be sewn together to make a quilt.
After having it in my Ravelry queue for years, I finally gutted-up earlier this month and made this 19th century "apple leaf" tidy, which may be similar to one Mrs. Lynde would have made. (The Anne books mention an "apple leaf" spread and a "tobacco stripe" pattern in different places.)
First and foremost--it must be said--though fictional, Rachel Lynde was knitting badass.
This little rectangle is only about 20 inches long, but it was all consuming. I was using lifelines and stitch markers and about every other trick I know to keep it straight. (And the edges are still a little wonky, even after blocking it twice.)
I can't imagine making a whole quilt this way.
Except that now that I've done it, I kind of am. Imagining a quilt, that is.
I blame it on the fact that I was listening to the audiobook of A River Runs Through It while I knit. Listening to Norman Maclean's rhythmic descriptions of his brother Paul's fly fishing casts...seeing the beautiful perfection through his eyes...it just makes you want to be all-consumingly, heartbreakingly good at something.
I am much too clumsy for fly fishing, so for me it will have to be knitting lace.
But slowly, I think. Maybe a square a year, all made in some brand of white, cotton yarn that's been around forever and will be around forever so that I can buy it as I go. It may take me three months to even settle on a pattern. (I'm savoring the selections in this book like a gardener going through spring seed catalogs in a blizzard.)
I'll never beat Mrs. Lynde's sixteen quilts at that kind of pace, but even just one would be a big accomplishment. Something to drape over my shoulders when I'm an old woman, knitting at my kitchen window and watching the world pass by.