"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Linen collection is all sorted out!

It has taken me nearly a month, but I have finished sorting out my linens, and now I know where everything is, and have weeded out items that I no longer wish to keep, as well as a few pieces that I have doubled up on over time. A new antiques and collectables store has opened locally, and the owner has already bought some of my linens, and wants to buy more, which is a real bonus, as I was just going to give them away! But she won't take everything, so I will still have a few left for the giveaway I promised on this blog last week.
A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of the cupboard where I keep my embroidered tablecloths. I hang them on plastic hangers instead of stacking them on top of each other on shelves or in boxes. But my collection also includes aprons, teacosies, pillow and cushion covers, and doilies in a large variety of shapes and sizes. I have an ongoing problem with storage, and would welcome feedback from anyone reading this, who also collects linens. How do you manage your collection?
I am lucky that I have a spare bedroom dedicated to keeping my collection, but apart from the wardrobe, there are no cupboards, so a lot of it is still in boxes. My own embroidered work is framed and hanging on the walls. As well as the cloths hanging in the wardrobe, I have pillow shams and pillow cases hanging up. The embroidered aprons are folded up and kept in a large cardboard box. The unworked aprons are in another box. The teacosies are laid out flat in a large cardboard box, with the smaller cushion covers with them. Large table runners and panels of embroidery are either laid flat or rolled up on cardboard tubes, and in a suitcase, lined with acid free tissue paper. Hand towels are folded on a cane shelf unit where I have other ornaments. The Tallboy/dresser has four large drawers and two small drawers, all lined with acid free tissue paper. The small drawers hold handkies and other small items. The first large drawer holds teatowels, tray cloths and napkins. The second large drawer holds large centrepiece doilies and sandwich tray doilies, all lying flat. The third large drawer holds more large centrepieces and small round and square doilies. The bottom large drawer holds the Duchess/dressing table sets consisting of a larger doiley with matching small doilies. I have a large collection of all kinds of items with peacocks embroidered on them. Regrettably at the moment I have nowhere to store them, so they are rolled up/stuffed into a large plastic bag. I was going to photograph each collection as I have described it, but haven't had time to do that, so if anyone is interested, post a comment and I'll get around to taking some pictures.


Cathy K said...

Hi Gina, well I am amazed at how much you have. Although my first pieces date back to saving a hankie from when I was 6 years old (50 years ago), my collection really got its start when I inherited the crocheted bedspread, tablecloths and doilies of my great grandmother, the embroidered dresser and other sets from my grandmother, and hankies and more of everything from my mom. For a half dozen years now, I’ve madly sought out hankies, but stopped when my collection reached... um... we’ll just say “several hundred”. I have some old quilts and tops (including a vintage CQ), pillows and shams, dresser sets and runners, doilies, tablecloths and napkins, tea towels and fingertip towels... No tea cozies. And aprons. Less than 75, but well loved. They are the only things hanging. My vintage CQ is rolled in acid -free tissue paper; the rest are in fabric-lined drawers in my studio and in my vintage sideboard. And I have several large stacked piles that need to be sorted. System? I need to learn from you!!

I am planning to weed out about half my collection. The worst of the bunch - holey and permanently stained - will have the nice parts salvaged to be used for projects or to sell. My favorite stuff and family stuff will stay, and the rest will get sold on Ebay or Etsy.

BTW, I have also started collecting vintage sheets and plan to cut them up and sell as fat quarters or half yards. The vintage embroidered pillowcases make wonderful girls dresses (I’ve made some and will make more), but some cases will be sold because they are too beautiful to use even as a dress.

No matter what their end purposes will be - collected and lovingly stored, cut up for crafts, or resold to collectors or others for sewing projects - I think that acquiring vintage linens from yard and estate sales and getting them back into the hands of people who love and appreciate them is a good thing.

I love your blog and subscribe to it in my Google Reader. BTW, one of the pieces I got this weekend is a cross-stitched peacock table runner (I believe that’s what it is, if memory serves). Some of the stitches are loose, and it’s not what I’d call a wonderful piece, but the peacock made me think of you!

Cathy K

Cathy K said...

Sorry - I keep getting an error message that says my post was too large to process, so I cut it down. Now it looks like it printed them both. Go figure..... Hugs,

Joy V said...

Wow Gina, what a collection you have. I thought I had a few, but you well and truly surpass me. Can't wait to see some photos. Not sure when I will be in Melb again with spare time - everytime I go I seem to have my time filled. But haven't forgotten our coffee date.

Gina E. said...

Thank you Cathy, for your lovely long comment! Don't worry about the duplication - I deleted the second one. S--t happens! It sounds like you have about as much as me, with the same aims in mind - to preserve the beautiful work that ladies in the past spent so much time on, and to recycle the not-so-good things that can be partially salvaged. I'd love to see a pic of that cross stitch peacock!
Joy, lovely to hear from you too. I understand completely that your time in Melbourne is limited. It's a long way to come on the off-chance that you might meet up with me for a coffee! You could always come and stay with me for a few days. It takes that long to look at my complete collection!