About a year ago I began a project that involved unlabeled family photos. I envisioned a three part series featuring groups of people, women, and children; all with no identifying names. After finishing one with groups of people I stopped working on the series as I hit a mental block. I just couldn’t make them into art quilts, and the colors were very muted. That was understandable as I was working with old linens. However, I wasn’t ready to take on a huge amount of embroidery to add color, and I wanted to keep the vintage theme.
A week ago I hauled out the remaining women and children photos and set to work on developing visually pleasing layouts. I realized that these won’t be art quilts, but are more fabric scrapbook pages. Once I made my peace with that I was able to find a way forward.
I had done natural dying on the old pillowcase some years ago, so I was stuck with the muck green color. The central photo may be one of my mother’s cousins. I know it’s not as old as the surrounding photos, which were probably taken in Ireland. The original of the stern matron has the name of a photographer in Letterkenny, Donegal, at the bottom. The crocheted pins were made by a friend of my parents, while the flower filled oval came from a scrap I was given.
While I still have some hand tacking of edges to do, in my book the women are done.
I can’t say the same for the children. The photos are a mix of studio portraits and casual snapshots. The latter are under or over exposed, but again I don’t have the negatives. The fabrics here are another linen napkin, an embroidered small pillowcase given to me by a friend, hand knit mittens and a hand embroidered bib that may have been made for me. There’s no one left I can ask.
So, one will go back in my undone pile, while two will go in the completed pile. These aren’t works to be entered in a show. For one thing, shipping would be difficult as they can’t be rolled up or folded. For another, they aren’t works of art, but family mementos. Maybe I can convince one of my cousins they are perfect for their family photo wall.
I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.
So Not Me, But I Like It
Thanks to the generosity of a recent acquaintance I now have a piece of vintage embroidery, and I’m curious to find out exactly what it is.
The base fabric is heavy and canvas-like, and the binding is lighter weight. The embroidery thread made it through a soak in Biz without bleeding. Alas, the stains are still there, though lighter. I’m wondering if they were caused by spilled tea. Any thoughts for further remedial action are appreciated.
I think it’s to be tied around one’s waist like a small apron to hold sewing notions like scissors, etc. If so, it’s for a slender-waisted person. I don’t think it’s to be tied onto a table or chair, given the curved shapes.
My dilemma is, what to do with it. It could make a cute pillow with the embroidered areas appliqued onto a base. I thought an oval shape might work with the sprays of blue flowers added on the side. Of course I have no fabric in stash that looks right with it. Or, I could wear it at sew-ins and confound fellow sewers with it. I can hear them now, saying “I thought you didn’t like that sort of thing.” That’s usually the case, but I love word play and the embroidery is nicely done.
All guesses and opinions are welcome.
Filed under Commentary
Tagged as embroidery, vintage fabrics, vintage linens