Thursday, 7 August 2014

Heirlooms

I'm tired today. I was up late washing and ironing the tablecloths for the tea tables at the show, each cloth is embroidered with flowers and each one was collected and/or completed by my mother, who went through a phase of needlework during the 1950 s and 1960s 
I have very few items handed down to me from my parents. Those I do have ( a simple jam pan, a broken ginger jar ) were items I took from their house before the house clearance chap did his thing., and were items I remembered from being a child.
The tablecloths were a different story.
My mother gave me them in dribs and drabs, often after she had washed and re ironed them. Sometimes, when she was in the mood , she would complete some delicate sewing on an unfinished article, but for the most part she was happy to pass them onto someone who appreciated them... Little did I know then, that they would become part of a traditional country flower show, used every year and appreciated by all who saw them....
Much much better than being shut away in a dark drawer for the remainder of their lives eh?
It feels as though they have " come home"

I'm typing this with a cup of coffee  after the first dog walk of the day. Only Albert is awake, he's sat in the window, scanning the field for " The Bastard" who has put in an appearance yet again. (" The Bastard" as you recall, is the feral cat who lives in the nearby field. He bullies Albert mercilessly at times)
Hey ho
Enough of this leisure activity.

I have a novelty vegetable to design

40 comments:

  1. The tableclothes are beutiful. Albert looks like our's Edmund.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very much of an era, aren't they. I have a drawer-full too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. beautiful linens; do NOT keep those in a drawer, john! your mum must be so proud. and they hark back to a more genteel time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have some beautiful linens at the community centre for tea parties with lovely fine bone china tea cups.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Always nice to use them in the right setting and I should imagine the Village Flower Show is the perfect setting for them. Your Mum would be so proud.

    Sorry we are not able to come to the show, you are clashing with the Eglwysbach Show, which we have only just found out about and have promised to go to :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theirs are bigger and better than ours

      Delete
  7. There's some splendid embroidery there. We had a sideboard drawer full too and I distributed them to my brothers when we cleared mum's house. I seem to have ended distributing none to myself.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So lovely that they are still being used. I think the one in the bottom right hand corner of your photo is a classic, somewhere in my little bedroom, I have a piece of a tablecloth with the exact same pattern and colours that I was going to use in some recycling project. I must fish it out and show you.
    Sorry Arthur is being bothered again by the bastard. Does anyone own him? Is he neutered I wonder?
    Waiting impatiently for your vegetable art..........x

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have the very best time! I SO want to post you cupcakes for the tea but, well, not going to work really. xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. We have a few patchwork quilts made my grandmother many moons a go. It's good that my grandmother keeps us warm even though she died forty odd years a go.

    ReplyDelete
  11. John,

    Having these sweet linen table clothes and covers from your Mom must bring back so many wonderful childhood memories. Cherish these beautiful covers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No they don't.... Our childhood was not a fluffy bunny happy time..not at home....
      But they do give me some sweet nostalgia

      Delete
    2. How refreshing John, you are one of the few that isn't afraid of telling the truth and not cover over live's difficult parts.

      Delete
  12. Really lovely John. Made much more poignant for me as we are clearing out my Mother in laws things this week. I am taking home a small triangular box stuffed to the brim with linen hankies with beautiful crocheted at tatted edges. Now I just need to figure out how best to use them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sew them onto a backing fabric and make a wall hanging, or sew together and turn into a quilt. I have done this myself and it is a lovely way of keeping them out to enjoy.

      Delete
  13. Love the tablecloths, green with envy, my Mum never sewed anything and my Granny was too busy to embroider. I have not tried that craft yet. Your tea tables will be resplendent.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Reminds me, when my mother dies, there will be an awful lot of old china rubbish to go through in her crystal cabinet. Some of it actually is very nice. But which sibling will find the gold sovereigns first?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have boxes and boxes of my Grandmother's trimmings and buckles which belonged to her mother. My mum just chucks everything away and lives like a minimalist monk. x

    ReplyDelete
  16. I find it odd that in days before all the modern conveniences that make our lives so much easier...before automatic washers and dryers, dishwashers and steam irons and disposable diapers for example, when there was so little actual 'free' time for a woman....they still found the time to create beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my mother used to embroider tablecloths in the evenings while listening to the radio. she taught us never to sit and 'do nothing'. It's taken me years to allow myself just to watch a television programme without some handwork to do.

      Delete
  17. I have a couple of pieces of my grandmothers embroidery and a crocheted doily my mother gave me and they are very dear to me. Yours are so pretty ...your mother did excellent work!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love those linens!
    I still have the first tea towel I embroidered when I was probably 8 years old or so.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We are, I fear, the last generation of hand-embroidered tea towels.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I hated those hand embroidered things and tossed too many. Then my aunt died a couple years back and I inherited some lovely table and dresser clothes made by her mother, my grandmother. Now of course I am COLLECTING all similar aged embroidered linens I can find at garage sales etc...Yes, I too am coming full circle, not a bad trip at all.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful and precious things, being used in a beautiful and precious way John. My mum embroidered anything. Pillow cases, napkins, tablecloths. None survived to pass down unfortunately. I wish they had. Now I'm sobbing into my afternoon, post work muesli. I hope there will be a post about the show.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great way to use them, a perfect setting. Embroidery was my first true handcraft. I've just been thinking I should dig my old pieces out and donate them as the younger generation seem to be starting to use those again, but now I'm wondering if I could find ways to use them myself. Most of my pieces are bureau scarves but maybe they could be sewn together to make a more useful piece.

    Poor Albert. At least he has a good home. What does the feral cat do in winter?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think it's wonderful that you use them instead of packing them away to be forgotten. As a knitter, nothing gives me more pleasure than to see my knitted gifts being used, and I'm sure your mom felt the same way about her embroidery. She did some beautiful work, and how appropriate that it is displayed for the village each year!

    ReplyDelete
  24. You do make me tearful at times, John. Which is fine. I don't mind tears. Tear ducts are the soul's equivalent of our bladder. To be emptied every so often.

    Your tale reminds me of a table cloth I lovingly and painstakingly stitched for my mother. Christmas present. Age twelve or so. Now, my mother is many lovely things, but she is no needle woman. So my gift fell on thin ground. It hurt. A little. Yet, I do know - and I am my own harshest critic in whatever part of my life - it was not only a beauty, it was beautifully executed. At least my father was grateful for that shoddy job of a knitted yellow tie. Odd the things we remember with a sting.

    Don't worry about Albert. He'll be fine. Obviously, as any hypochondriac, doctor and nurse knows, adrenaline/distress raises cortisol levels to foreshorten life. Other than that life is sweet.

    U

    ReplyDelete
  25. I don't think I have any family heirlooms. When my mum moved out of her old house, I had moved 350 miles away across the Irish Sea so acquiring anything of any size would have been tricky. But I agree, such things should be used and not just hidden away somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have a collection of tablecloths like that, some with napkins to match. When I am next having a clear out I will send them to you. I love them but they're not doing much good in a drawer somewhere.

    I am quite handy with a needle but I don't know where I got it from. I was once going to visit my friend at University in London and at work I remembered that the hem of my jeans was hanging down. I phoned my mother to ask her to stitch it up. I dashed home packed my bag then off to the train. When I got there, I took my jeans out of the bag to find the hem held up with a nappy pin!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have one that my Granny didn't finish before she died. I finally finished 35 years later.

    I love to embroider but people look at me like I'm strange.

    So I rescue these cloths whenever I can find them charity shops. They are few and far between, here in Canada. It's all cross stich work, no beauties like yours, John.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love those old needlework cloths - and lace ones too. I have collected a few over the years - I had an uncle Albert, who was a Plate Layer on the railway and who married a rather wealthy spinster when both were in their forties. Every one of his nieces and nephews (and we were a big family) got one of Albert's cloths for a wedding present. His embroidery skills were superb and he used to take his needlework to work with him so that he could continue to do it in his lunch hour! His brother Tom, with whom he worked, who was a real rogue and lived alone, used to go to work in torn clothes and Albert would mend them. He once feather-stitched Tom's cap!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Just wanted to say that I envy you those needlework keepsakes which your mother embroidered. My mum also liked to do embroidery and the only regret I have in regards to my mum's possessions is that I do not have any of her needlework. Might be because I am a little tired tonight, but I feel quite tearful about this. I shall be alright tomorrow though. Hope your village show goes well.

    ReplyDelete
  30. My Ma used to embroider and stitch those tablecloths and antimacassars (protective cloths for the backs of chairs and sofas, invented by the Victorians who used macassar oil in abundance on their hair) so lovely to see your Ma's work and great to see that they're still in use. I remember my Ma ironing-on the transfers to the cloth then meticulously embroidering the design with all those pretty colours. How nostalgic am I? Hope it's all 'flowing' together nicely for you for Saturday. Good Luck with it all. x

    ReplyDelete
  31. Those tablecloths are beautiful and wish I had the skill to do that or at least buy a few like the ones you have. Glad you are using them for the flower show, so apropos.

    Poor Albert, tell him to take no shit. Or can Winnie get his back?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Love Albert - who is so like my Jazz.
    Love even more that you are using those tablecloths. I have some hand-made lace ones my mother made in cupboards. And should use it. And will use it.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have pillow cases embroidered by my maternal grandmother. I just finished embroidering pillow cases for my new daughter-in-law. I hope to give them to her this weekend. She likes to garden so I embroidered leaves and vines.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  34. You are so lucky, they are beautiful

    ReplyDelete
  35. My mother was an embroiderer too and left each of us (6) a tablecloth. I was so pleased in a play I directed and produced and toured, I was able to feature her tablecloth in a key scene.

    I love that you are doing the same thing and with so many, oh my, I am astounded. Such work!

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete

I love comments and will now try very hard to reply to all of them
Please dont be abusive x