Friday, January 8, 2021

Vintage linens and a year long challenge...

Over the past couple of decades I have collected and been gifted many pieces of vintage embroideries, doilies, linens, tatting, crochet, cotton spools, cutlery, scissors and even a few uncompleted tablecloths which I felt the need to rescue in the hope that one day my own fingers would finish them.

I'm not sure when my love affair with all the loveliness of vintage kitchen, dining and sewing pieces began but I can say with certainty that it's always been connected to memories growing up in Nana's small home.

The older I became the more I pondered her life and felt more keenly the loss of her presence. No-one hugged like my Nana and I used to think no-one laughed like her until one day I realised my own laugh was a very real echo of hers. Loud and joyful. That brought a deep abiding smile to my heart.

What I consider vintage loveliness now she would have thought quite ordinary and everyday in her time because every day is exactly how she used her embroidered linens, bone handled knives, stork scissors, fine laces and thread. 

Anyhow, I am revisiting my rather overflowing boxes of all things vintage at the moment spurred on by a challenge which I came across through a friend on Instagram. Being that my daily employment is to design and embroider patterns for purchase, I was rather intrigued to take on a challenge which was outside my comfort zone - making pretty paper backed tags.

Fifty two tags to be accurate. One each week through the year.

The host of this #52tagshannemade challenge is Anne Brooke of @hannemadebyanne. She's a UK textile artist and tutor who does lovely things with a variety of textile pieces and after reading through the details of this year long adventure I decided to jump right in and have some creative fun that wasn't associated with anything else I do. 

The week one tag was to be all white and that's what got me digging through all my vintage bits and pieces again, a reminder of how much pleasure they give - especially when I make use of them creatively. 

This is my completed week one white tag. They all slip onto a large ring over time to keep them together but I am yet to find a ring large enough. 

I'll be sure to show my tags each week as I make them. You might like to join in? You'll find the #52tagshannemadebyanne information HERE on Anne's Instagram or HERE on her Facebook page.

Now, back to those vintage linens and laces...

I have occasionally embroidered a design onto the centre of a crochet edged doily but this is done very carefully as the first time I tried this the pigma pen I trace with bled into the fabric as the material was old, fine and had a looser weave than what we use today. Now I take extra care and don't have the same problem but still, its been a while since I last used a vintage linen to stitch on.

I really like the pieces which lend themselves to this opportunity and look for them whenever I'm op-shopping, at garage sales or markets...

Something else which sends my heart aflutter is vintage lace and to be honest this is what I collect more than anything else. Just the feel of that feathery softness across my hands is pure delight.

I mentioned earlier that I also like to rescue unfinished pieces. There's a few in my collection for 'one day' but this tablecloth is my favourite and the only one I have already begun to work on...

Only one corner was completed when I found it and there were no threads in the accompanying plastic bag so I spent a good deal of time looking for the same or very similar threads to work with. I did find a variegated blue very close in colour so I began to copy the one completed corner by filling in the little chain stitch squares and the stem stitch connections in the opposite corner. Later I found the right green and yellow. This will be a long process to complete the cloth but I'm not in a hurry; embroidery should always be done gently, without rushing...that's the advice I give to everyone who asks because it truly makes the world of difference.

Two years ago I shared a tutorial to make a vintage style needle-book which featured a pretty cross-stitched doily. At the time I was just embarking on a new love, crochet, and added that to the inside as well as some lace and English paper piecing. 

Everything added to the vintage style I was aiming for in this project and it became such a special needle-book that I have it always on display in the sewing room.

If you'd like to follow the two-part tutorial I shared back in 2019 for this needle-book the links are below. Just click on part 1 and then part 2...

After becoming re-acquainted with all my vintage bits and pieces earlier this week, an idea formed. I want to see how I can use and repurpose quite a few of my lovely pieces this year because I'm really not the kind of person who likes to pack things away in order to save them from harm. In fact, and some of you may shudder at this thought, cutting up vintage linens to create something else doesn't bother me. I just like to see all that handwork made use of again. 

So I did a little roaming on Pinterest the other night and found a few ideas to inspire. Aprons, bags, lampshades, coat hanger covers and so much more abound there.

If you go HERE to my Vintage Linens board on Pinterest you'll see many more!

I especially like the way this apron has been trimmed using a section of embroidered linen so it might be the first thing I try next week.

Well I think that's all for today. One new plan for blogging in 2021 is to share an Ideas post each Friday, something to stir your creative cells over the weekend because if you're like me there just seems to be a bit more time on the weekends to 'play' in the sewing room - especially now that my dear husband works on Saturdays and won't be home till 2pm, so our usual habit of visiting garage sales that morning has come to an end. Perhaps I'll pop out every so often if there's an interesting one close by? But then it's just not the same on your own. 

Thank you for your prayers of late. Blossom is almost well again and the children have recovered. She has her best friend (also a mother of three) from homeschooling days flying in to visit for a few days next week and we're all very excited to see Abi again. They chat a lot on the phone but haven't seen each other in 16 years. May the Lord bless their reunion and grow even stronger the love of Jesus they both share. 

God bless you sweet friends,
till next week,


Angie in SoCal said...

What lovely use of those linens and crocheted pieces, especially your needle book and that first bag that has all those pieces on it!
Thank you! How's Charlie David?

Chris said...

Oh so thankful that Blossom is almost well!! And how wonderful to have an old and dear friend come to visit. Praying a blessing on those days for you all.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
A fun Friday idea!
Looks like the tags are a fun doable challenge and if each week there is a " guide line" such as white, by week 52 there will be a rainbow of surprises!
Thanks for all the fun ideas for pretty vintage things! Repurposing has been and is very popular. Have fun.
The second hand stores are overflowing here with stuff. We are in lock down. People have been cleaning house most of 2020 and recycling/donating. But the shops are closed and will be for a few more weeks. The lock down will probably be extended for a few more weeks.
Have a great creative weekend !

gail said...

Hello Jenny, I’ve just finished the first block on the little quilt you are generously sharing with us. I’m really looking forward to next months design. I find it such a joy to visit your blog and to read about your love of the Lord and to see your pretty embroideries. May you have a lovely week ahead.
Blessings Gail.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Good morning Jenny (at least it's morning here in Ontario Canada). I read this post with great interest and thought you might be interested in knowing about an online class/challenge using vintage linens that Rhonda Dort is running currently. I'm taking part in it just so I can use some of my Grandma's hankies and doilies. If you want to know more her first blog post about the class is here....
Even tho' I don't comment much I truly do enjoy your posts and hearing about your lovely family and the area where you live. Happy New Year - be safe, be well.

Lorrie said...

Good morning Jenny, from Vancouver Island in Canada. The tablecloth you are working on is going to be beautiful - I love the pattern created with those chain stitch squares.
So glad that Blossom is doing well. Thanks be to God.

Farm Quilter said...

I also love vintage linens and doilies...looking to use them in my quilts. I've used some to embroider labels for my quilts as they are so lovely they make the back of a quilt just shine! I really like your needle book and may have to figure out how to make that! So glad to hear Blossom is doing well and will be having a visit from a dear friend. Hope you are doing well and aren't suffering with migraines! Sorry Mr. E has to work on Saturdays now...that really cuts into your time together.

Jill at emeraldcottage said...

I love your needlebook, especially the crochet edging on the inside, so delicate and pretty. Thankyou for sharing the tag challenge, I am very tempted to join in myself!
Have a great weekend,

Julie said...

I saw your white tag on Instagram Jenny & thought what a wonderful idea. I watched a Youtube video of Fee's late last year & she showed us how to make the most gorgeous tags. Your vintage linens are beautiful & your post is timely as I have cleaned out a cupboard & thought I really MUST do something with my stash as my sons/daughter in laws are never going to want them. Do you know my friend - when I see a post from you on my list - I always wait til I can make a cuppa to sit & read it & it feels like you are chatting to me over a cuppa. Have a lovely weekend Jenny xx

Christine M said...

Another lovely post Jenny. All that vintage goodness makes me feel happy. I have started planning my Lillian Elizabeth's Kitchen (your Phyllis May's Kitchen) quilt layout. I have pulled out my vintage linens, laces and button ready to be added to it. I've been trying to find a photo of my grandmother in her kitchen but with no luck. I was sure I had seen one at Mum's but we searched and couldn't find it. I must have imagined it or maybe it was just wishful thinking! I was hoping to add a photo of her to the quilt. If I can't find one, I'm just going to add a photo of myself with her. Have a lovely weekend. Hugs, Christine xx

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

These are so pretty. So much loveliness. Anne Brooke has a lot of great ideas. If you are interested in another project, Rhonda Dort is hosting a quilt along making a quilt using vintage linens.

Susan said...

I'm so excited to hear Blossom's friend is going to visit, after such a long time not seeing each other. They will have so many notes on mothering to compare! Of the projects you showed, I really loved the apron skirt and the apron top - presuming they are two different aprons? I have a few vintage linens, things I found for Crazy Quilting, which is how I usually use them, though it's been a couple of years since I did any. - at least 2020 I didn't. Your own collection looks so pretty. I like the vintage laces, too. They are softer and prettier than current ones, though I certainly can't say I don't have a collection of those, as well! =) All for CQ, of course. Thought provoking post ... it does make me think about what I have and why I'm not doing certain things any longer.

Ondrea said...

You have a beautiful collection of vintage linens etc. I love how chain stitch has been used in square formation on that cloth and the colours are so pretty. So many ideas. Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to cut into my grandmothers' doilies. However, I do have a couple of emroidered ones that have brown age spots on them which I could repurpose. Love your tag.

pat chester said...

love your remembrance of your Nana and her influence in your life. I never knew my Nana's, my mum's mother died when I was about 1 year old and my dad's mother died when I was about 6yrs old but she lived in Edinburgh so I don't remember seeing her. I didn't have grandfathers either. I think people who have good grandparents are so very fortunate. I do try to be a good Nana to my four grandsons and one grand-daughter but I only see three of the boys regularly as the other two live 180 miles away but we do skype so that does help.

I really enjoy your blog and keep trying to make myself do some of your embroidery projects.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

There's a bitter sweetness to my having known Nana so well, Pat. It was because I had no mother - all my life I have wondered what it feels like to have a mum, to be loved by one.
Nana was amazing, and I simply adored her...God blessed me with her.

Margareth said...

Bom dia, Jenny. Adoro suas postagens e sigo seu blog já tem alguns anos. Mas hoje descobri que somos quase almas gêmeas. Também adoro peças vintage e tenho um grande estoque herdado da minha mãe e das duas avós. Peças maravilhosas, algumas bem parecidas com as suas (tanto os bordados quanto os detalhes em crochê). Ainda trabalho como engenheira, mas preencho todas as horas vagas com bordados e patchwork. Minha mãe era costureira então tenho agulhas e linhas no sangue. Tenho quatro filhos (2 meninos e 2 meninas) e um neto maravilhoso, Eduardo de 3 anos. Serei abençoada ainda esta semana com a chegada de mais um: Felipe. Espero ansiosa suas postagens que sempre me deleitam e acalmam. Sua fé é reconfortante e suas palavras sempre chegam na hora certa. Fique com Deus e receba meu carinho.