Yes that sums up this post - quintessentially English. Union Jacks, embroidered tea cloths and mad dogs.
I really shouldn't leave it so long between posts. I've had to upload so many pictures from my camera that I'm really not sure where to start! So I think I'll start with the picture above. This is my latest cushion.
I'm pleased with the way this one turned out, although it did use rather a lot of lace!
This isn't the only cushion that I've made since my last post. I've been very industrious.
Isn't this embroidery beautiful?
It is by no means the best quality embroidery I've seen, or own, (I'll show you my 'best'embroidered linens one day) but still isn't it beautiful?
I love old embroidered linens. The hours and hours of work involved. Such care and love that originally went into them. I have quite a lot of embroidered linen now and each one is different. Each one almost tells a little story; I look at the quality of the background linen and I'm sure each woman who invested as many hours as these would take, purchase the best quality she could afford. The quality varies greatly from thick crisp linen to floppy crinkly 'crash'. I then look at the quality of the embroidery itself. Some have baggy loose stitching, or over large stitches; was it done by someone just learning or a lady of advanced years who's eyesight might be failing?
I look at how many strands of thread have been used. How many different stitches can I see. The colours chosen. Each embroidery is a signature every bit as much as ink on paper.
Unfortunately 90% of the cloths that find their way to me look like it's been a very long time since anyone looked at them never mind loved or even used them!
The majority of them arrive with stains, or orange rust marks. Quite often the corners are torn or the edging is coming away. Some have patches of wear or bald areas of embroidery and others have just one colour of embroidery thread that has disintegrated (usually green).
Most of them smell stale and fusty and have obviously been stuffed at the back of the least used cupboard for years, forgotten and unloved.
BUT I LOVE THEM!
I soak every embroidery overnight before washing it. Then I take great joy in hanging them outside on the washing line where I can see the sun shining through silhouetting the embroidery. I sometimes wonder what my neighbours think when I have a line full of 'old lady linen'! Lol!
I find the best time to inspect the linen for wear and tear, stains and marks, holes and tears is whilst carefully ironing it.
What shall I do with these linens now? The ones that are torn and stained? Should I fold them up and store them in the back of another cupboard for a couple more decades unseen, as the previous owner did?
NO! They are still beautiful even if too worn and marked their original use.
This is when I take another look at them, are there parts of the embroidery that is still sound? Can I 'up-cycle' it and make it into something that can be used every day and loved again? Can I give it a second life?
YES! Of course I can. It takes me a loooong time though as I have to use every inch of embroidery and linen that I possibly can. There can be no waste. These linens are far too precious. I have to use the embroidery the best way I can.
That includes the back of the cushion. I try and make the whole cushion from the same piece of linen. (which can be quite a challenge). I love the neat edging on the cloths and have bags next to my chair where I stash every spare inch of embroidery and edging that I trim off. Nothing can be wasted, it's too precious.
What do you think?
.Would you enjoy seeing this embroidery in its new form sitting on your sofa or bed every day?
Would you cherish it?
Would it make you smile as you caught a glimpse of it as you passed the sofa?
Would you love it?
Does it deserve a second life?
Or should it be in the back of a cupboard?
Sneaky Dog's not allowed anywhere near my pretty cushions but she does like a sun lounger when she's sunbathing!
Whether or not somebody else was already on it!