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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some old fancy work completed.

Today was the final day of the Embroiderers' Guild annual exhibition. I should have posted something here earlier to remind Melbourne readers of this blog to visit the exhibition if they could, as it was a fabulous display this year. Sadly they have a policy of 'no photos allowed', otherwise I would have taken a heap of pictures to post here. My favourite exhibit was a spectacular Crazy Patchwork quilt - one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
I worked in the Gift Shop two days last week, and today I was on duty as a 'demonstrator'. The Guild asks members to spend half a day (or a full day) in the Gallery, stitching one of their projects, so visitors to the exhibition can see how some of the works on show are actually created. Before the exhibition opened a few weeks ago, I noticed on the roster that there was no Demonstration stitcher on the last day, so I offered my time. I said that it would only be 'ordinary traditional embroidery' - not anything special like hardanger, drawn thread work, tatting, etc. and the person I spoke to said it would be a nice change for visitors to see someone working on 'ordinary stuff' that they would more likely to have done themselves.
So I brought along Ken's mum's 70 year old Semco stamped linen tablecloth, and assorted UFO vintage 'fancy work' which I thought would appeal to the old ladies (80+) who attend the exhibition every year. I was right! Most of the people my age and younger smiled politely at me and moved on, but the older ladies came up and said things like "Oh I did so much of that when I was young" and "I've still got all my unfinished doilies and cloths!" One lady who looked to be in her 40's came over and chatted for a while, saying she had her grandmother's UFOs in a cupboard, and had intended finishing them one day, but decided she probably never would as her eyesight wasn't as good as it used to be. I showed her the magnifing glass I have hanging around my neck, to magnify my work while stitching, and she thought that was a great idea. She wandered off to look at the rest of the display, but came back some time later, and said "You've inspired me. I'm going to buy one of those magnifying glass things, and get out Grandma's embroidery and start working on it. Thank you so much!" Isn't that lovely?
Here is what I achieved today. It doesn't look like much, but I was chatting to people inbetween stitching, so it wasn't non-stop work. I've had these pieces for so long, and they only needed about 10 or 15 minutes of work on each to finish them off. I can't remember if this was one of MIL's, or one of my former Home Care clients' work. It is very old, and has obviously been well used, as the fabric is soft from washing, and the colours faded. The original pattern stamped on it has faded to almost nothing, so I had to improvise and stitch where I thought flowers etc. might have been. It's finished for me now - not going to search for any more faded marks! This art deco style linen tea cosy attracted a few comments today. I can't remember where I got this one either - could have been eBay, an opshop find, or somebody at the Guild may have given it to me. It only need some stem stitching and satin stitch in black thread to complete it on both sides, so it is now ready for a soak in Napisan to get rid of the stains, and then I'll find someone to crochet around the edge. This is one of a pair of doilies that I have been carting around with me to hospital waiting rooms for years! I finished the other one last year, so I was pleased to get this one done today. This peacock duchess set centrepiece is another one I've been working on for years. I've been determined to finish it for once and for all, but didn't quite get there today either. But there's not much to do now, and it will be great to clean it up and display it on my dressing table with the matching doilies!
These two doilies (pictures above and below) came along for the ride today, but I didn't do anything on them because I didn't have the appropriate stranded cottons with me. So they just sat on the table to be commented on by the passing parade!


Miss 376 said...

It was my great grandmothers antimacassars and armcovers that got me wanting to embroider in the first place. Think most of us have memories of these kind of things

Annie said...

These are such great vintage pieces. We use to have things like this all over the house when I was growing up.

Wendy said...

Love all the stitching going on here....I especially love the peacock one....where did you get the pattern from?

Gina E. said...

Wendy, this doiley set was a stamped linen duchess set that I bought from somebody on eBay about 8 years ago. It would have to be 1950's vintage.