Monday, July 25, 2011

Little pieces of history, part three

Here's another piece of fancywork that was passed on to me. Unfortunately, I don't know a lot about the background of this piece.

(click on the images to be taken to my flickr page for larger images)

Hand made beauty

This tiny hankerchief has seen better days, I'm afraid. It's got a fair amount of damage and is quite fragile.

Hand made beauty

I added my gauge ruler so you can get an idea of how small it is. The border appears to be done in bobbin lace. The corners are worked into the lace pattern, not folded and turned, with a seam at one corner. Even with the damage, it's pretty remarkable work.

Hand made beauty

The embroidery is drawn thread work, with woven wheels done at the junctions.

With the fabric as thin and flimsy as it is, coupled with the damage, I have no way of judging how well done the original embroidery was.

I'm not sure how to handle this piece. I don't want it to get any more damaged. It might be worth searching out some specialists and find out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In progress.

At the Whyte Ave. Art Walk. Artists are required to be working on something while at their booths. This is a new piece my daughter is working on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little pieces of history, part two

Here's another post featuring various items that my mother passed on to me during a recent trip out.

This next piece is a large, rectangular tablecloth. I don't know the exact dimensions, but it would easily cover a table large enough to seat six.

Hand made beauty

This piece was actually stitched by my cousin and godmother; the woman who inspired me to become a crafter with her gorgeous embroidered gifts I still treasure.

The piece is done with cotton embroidery floss on cotton or cotton blend cloth. The scalloped edge intrigues me. Usually, I see edges like this done in buttonhole stitch, with the design stitched inside the outer edge of the fabric, then the excess cut away, in the same matter as cutwork embroidery. The edging is not buttonhole stitch, however. It's looks like satin stitch worked around the edge. I can't see and won't be moving the threads around to look, but the outer curve of the scallops feel like they have been padded. That would certainly keep the edge stronger. What I can't tell is if the embroidered edge was stitched before or after the scalloped edge was cut. I will have to ask my cousin about it.

Hand made beauty

The middle of the cloth is framed with this stitched rectangle. The straight lines are done in a small, dense chain stitch. The two vertically placed motifs of this photo are at the centre of the rectangle's sides.

Unfortunately, from the flattened look of the embroidery, I think this has been ironed from the front instead of pressed from the back. Will have to fix that when I clean it.

Hand made beauty

Here's a detail of the motif. The stems are done in stem stitch with straight stitch leaves. For the flowers, the stamens are done in back stitch and French knots, with the petals and middles done in satin stitch.

I really love this piece! It's now the largest of my embroidered tablecloths, and I look forward to using it. :-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Little pieces of history, part one

I have long had a passion for hand made items. Particularly items that are meant to be used. Aside from appreciating the time and skill required to make these items, I like how they can also connect us to the past. Even if I have no idea who made something or why, a piece of that person's hard work lives on.

While out in Manitoba a little while ago, my mother passed on a whole pile of items. Many of them belonged to her late aunt. Others had belonged to my mother's sister. When my aunt had to leave the farm and the property was sold, these items passed through several hands before making it to me, more than a year later! *L*

Over the next while, I'll be posting photos I took of the hand made pieces and telling a little about them. Most of them have seen a lot of years of use and some, sadly, have a fair amount of damage.

At this point, I have not done anything to them. They've been sitting in bags or boxes for a long time, and I've made no attempt yet to clean or press any of them. They are just as I've received them.

Here's the first. (If you want to see larger photos, just click on the image to be taken to my flickr page)

Hand made beauty

This small piece is worked on linen, which has such a lovely drape and softness. It measures about 16 inches square, including the border.

Hand made beauty

The embroidery appears to be done in cotton embroidery floss. The flower petals and leaves are done in Laisy Daisy stitch, with a bit of stem stitch among the leaves and satin stitch for the middles of the flowers. The black border is also done in stem stitch.

Hand made beauty

The crochet border is worked into an edge of single crochet. The edge of the linen has been folded over, and the fold is completely encased in the single crochet edge at the back. The border is a filet crochet finished with loops and picots.

This piece, according to my mother, was worked up by her late aunt, who was prolific and highly skilled. My mother had given me some small boxes of embroidery flosses, perle cotton, needles and tatting shuttles many years ago. Along with the finished pieces I brought back this trip, my mother also passed on a whole lot of crochet thread, some incredibly fine for use with a .75mm hook.

The last time I saw my great aunt, I was very young and barely remember her. I do, however, feel honored to have these items of hers. She was a remarkable woman.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rainbow Infinity

Well, I'm back in the province and pretty much caught up again. I can now post about another gift I made before we headed out, this one for my mother-in-law who, unlike my own mother, is computer savvy. I didn't want to spoil the surprise by posting photos before we left. ;-)

The yarn I used was one I picked up a while ago. I started to use it for another project, but things just were not working out. For starters, I found a total of FIVE knots and breaks in the yarn. I've never found so many before or since. That meant a lot of yarn was wasted trying to match the colour sequences properly. :-( Also, the yarn has an inconsistent thickness. At some points, it got so thin, it ended up breaking on me when I had to undo some stitches.

Despite that, the more I worked with the yarn, the more I loved it. I loved the colours and how they blended from one to another. Even with the cost and the fuss, I would enjoy using it again.

The pattern is a modification of Lily Chin's Molly Ringwald Stole, in her book Couture Crochet Workshop. The original was worked back and forth from the middle of the stole, and it took very little to modify it into a moebius.

The finished garment can be worn several ways. Here it is on the shoulders, as a stole, front view.

Rainbow Infinity

Just a light covering. Here's the back view...

Rainbow Infinity

Of course, it can also be worn as a wide scarf.

Rainbow Infinity

Or doubled up as a neck warmer.

Rainbow Infinity

And finally, it can also be worn as a cowl over the head.

Rainbow Infinity

My MIL was quite pleased when she received it. :-)

Not quite the same with my own mother when I gave her the Ruffled Reading Jacket. I had been concerned about the fit, but my mother is very uncomfortable accepting gifts and didn't want to try it on. I let it be so she could try it in private. Later on, she told me it was too small, but I saw she wasn't sure how to put it on. I think it really did fit, but she wouldn't let me help her put it on all the way. It's not really the sort of thing she likes to wear, I guess. When she started talking about undoing it to use the yarn for "something useful," I just took it back and suggested I give it to my MIL.

Which I did, and she loved it. So now my MIL has two reading jackets (that reminds me - I still need to get a picture of the first one I gave her! *L*), including one wide enough to cover her back completely.

It all worked out in the end. :-)

During this trip, my mother passed on to me some wonderful items that belonged to her aunt. I will be getting photos of some of them to share here. What a treasure! I wish I'd known her better. She was a remarkable crafter!