Keeper of the textiles - even more cool stuff

I just wanted to share two other pieces that both blow me away from the sheer amount of work invested in each one.

I included my can of spray starch just so you get a sense of size.

This piece was made by first folding a piece of linen into quarters and then cutting it like the  paper snowflakes we used to make in grade school.

Then the cut linen was glued with a flour and water paste to a piece of netting.
All of the cut edges were bordered with chain stitching which serves both a decorative and a structural purpose.

More chain stitching is added to complete the design.

At some point I may base a bit of netting behind the worn spots. I am both awed by the amount of work it took to make this piece as I wonder if it is even worth all of the effort that went into it.

The next piece is a cloth I use as a center piece on my table layering it over a larger table cloth. Perhaps it was made to fit a particular round side table.

At first glance this just looks like a sweet spring like cloth, but let's look a bit closer.

This is pulled thread embroidery. This is not a pretty lace motif that has been reverse appliqued into place. Threads have been carefully snipped out of the linen what remains has been stitched to form the eyelets. Look how even the stitching is at the center of each diamond. pretty amazing, isn't it?
But those are only the small motifs. The larger motifs have a completely different pulled thread pattern behind the bouquet of flowers.
It's a ton of work expertly done. The cloth would have been pretty spectacular with just the cut work.

When I first acquired this cloth from my friend Vivian, it had belonged to her mother or grandmother I assumed that the blossoms and the foliage was embroidered using a running thread, that is an embroidery floss where the color varies along the length of the thread, the color will wax and wane from deep purple to nearly white. 

When I examined the embroidery more carefully, I saw that each subtle color variation was embroidered in a different colored thread. 

So much planning and care went into creating this piece. 

If the pulled work and the embroidered flowers were not enough decoration for you, the entire piece was further subtly embellished with  borders and flourishes in a color close to the ivory of the linen. You also need to notice the perfectly executed buttonhole stitches that finish off the piece.
Any one of these elements on their own would have made a pretty excellent cloth.

At a distance this cloth looks as sweet as a hallmark card you might send to your elderly grandmother. 

This is however just a great example of highly skilled hand work.


  1. Thanks for sharing these and the previous post Sarah! One day soon I may need to share what I inherited from my mum and grandma and unknown women before them... Not everything is this intricate however there are some handkerchiefs where the embroidery in mind-blowing (at least to me) in its intricacy.

  2. Please do share them. I find these textiles to be fascinating for so many reasons...There is the whole issue of women's work what it is and how it gets transformed by the industrial revolution, there is that whole Victorian craze for covering everything up with STUFF, but there is also needle work taught to young women as a basic life skill (and a way to maintain family wealth as represented in textiles).I see from reading womwn's magazines from the earliest years of the 20th century that being accomplished at needlework could serve as insurance if one had married badly or had fallen on hard times.Knowing how to do handwork well could keep one from starving.

    One of the things that I adore about the pieces I inherited from Vivian is how much of it is about reusing the good bits from larger worn out pieces - which Timo fits right into your work.


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