Monday, January 14, 2008

Linens and Lace

I've been working on finishing up some cushions for our futon. A number of years ago, Jimmy (whom you may remember from the Shortbread post in December) gave me a bunch of unfinished cushion covers to embroider. His wife had passed away and he wasn't about to take up embroidery. So, I'm finally nearing the end of having them completed! Here are a few snippets:

I think Jimmy's wife, Nan, actually did the iris in this one, but my sister Emily helped to finish up the rest of that cushion.

There were quite a few covers with these simple daisies on them, which should add some color to the room.

I've also been thinking a lot about lace as I'm reading a fascinating book on the history of lacemaking just now. Lace is such a beautiful, feminine thing (although at one time men wore yards and yards of exquisite lace themselves).

Lacemaking is actually a dying art, one that I would like to see revived a bit. I was taught bobbin lace by a friend when I was in my early teens. Since being married, I haven't had much time for it. But, I would love to get back to it and encourage others in this lovely art form. I'm just trying to figure out what would be something "practical" to make out of, or with, lace.

I found this lovely tea cozy cover in a charity shop one day and thought it was too beautiful to pass up. It's machine lace, but still very beautiful.

One day a friend pulled out this shoebox full of doilies. As I sorted through it she told me some of the history of various pieces and then gave them all to me as she no longer had any use for them. A box of lace and doilies is, to me, a very exciting thing.

I found these two pieces in a Paris flea market. I do believe they are both hand done, which is getting closer to the stuff I'm reading about in the book I mentioned. Lace-making is such a time-consuming task and I think that is mostly why no one does it anymore.

I pulled out this cushion cover because it is one of my favorite little finds from over the years. It has thistles (Scotland), roses (England), daffodils (Wales), and clover (Ireland) intertwined in a circle around some initials with a date.

All the years I've had it I wondered who the initials were and what the date was. I used it as a cushion cover for awhile, even though it seemed just a bit silly to have someone else's name on my bed. But, it was pretty!

As I was taking the pictures for this post I made an incredible discovery. I took a look at the initials again -- they are G R -- and the date 1937. Something struck in my head and I went downstairs to check in the book I'm reading about the history of the House of Windsor in England.

Sure enough, George VI was coronated in 1937! I'm guessing G R stands for George Rex (as in E R for Elizabeth Regina). So, patterns for embroidery, to mark the coronation (which was a HUGE event), must have come out at that time and someone did this one up as their own memento!

I must say, I am very excited about this little discovery! The embroidery is not outstanding, but the story behind this pillow is just the kind of living history I'm interested in!


Catherine said...

What lovely things!

Lovella ♥ said...

Heather, I so enjoy old lace bits too. I have a little 1 foot box cedar chest that was my grandmas. Inside are rolls of lace that she was making for trimming a table cloth. I haven't yet used it . .I look at it and put it back in the box. It seems so special to think she picked away with her yarn.

Alaina said...

How interesting! And what beautiful things.

SueJ said...

A lovely collection of pictures! I am sure there are some applications for your lace making skills. I have some lace trimmed pillowcases that belonged to a great aunt that are really lovely to have on the bed.

willow said...

I enjoyed this post.

On my dressing table I have a three piece dressing table set that my mother embroidered in the 1950s. I think she sent away for the transfer from a magazine and it was to celebrate the present Queen's coronation - a design based on wild roses.

I agree with you its nice to know a little of the history behind these pieces.

Darcy said...

I LOVE the floral embroideries!

Heather Anne said...

I love old bits an pieces of lace too and have a small collection to enjoy! I am just ready to transfer them from a cardboard box into an old cherry sideboard that I am re-purposing since we no longer have a dining room. I have taken off the hutch part and now I thing it will make a great surface for pictures and other things ... even some lace!