Vintage Thursday…

I wanted to start the new year out by sharing more of my sewing adventures. So… I’ve started this “Vintage Linens Quilt Along 2021” hosted by the lovely Rhonda Dort on both her WordPress and Facebook pages. Here’s the linky if you’re interested : . I don’t have the facebook page, but the WordPress posts I can follow. So, I thought I’d share that adventure/challenge to start with.

I first got the “bug” last year when a dear writing friend sent me a care package of old linens from her memory chest. Oh, I can’t even begin to express how special and treasured these pieces are to me…. far too precious to cut up for this project for sure. In fact, many of her pieces, like this pic below are gracing various surfaces in my home. This one tends to travel between the bar at the bottom of the steps and the table where now my aquarium resides. No, it doesn’t go under the aquarium… now it’s residing on the bar permanently. I took it down to share it with you. I just love the stitchings…

Check out the wee little basket top left. there’s a matching one on the other side. I love this one.

So, AJ got me started with this idea to use old linens to make something. Then, I was playing with the Reader here and found Ms. Dort’s page. Wow! I was suddenly blown away in awe and intrigued at the same time. So, I decided that this might actually be a fun thing to do. Also encourages me to get out of the house to explore thrifty stores, yard sales, antique boutiques, etc. in search of things. It’s hard to do with Covid, but yesterday, I discovered that indeed, our local antique mart was open (mask & distance required, of course.). I was so glad that I almost burst into tears. It’s little things like this that make all the difference ain’t so? Anyway, I had my crafty allowance from Christmas with me ($10 left) so I figured maybe I might stash a hankie or a table scarf. I was blown away by all that I was able to score.

There are 2, of the fan table runners… a matching pair…pristine condition! Wow! As I was looking at them, the lady was putting things out in her booth. I shared what I was doing, and she pulled out several pieces that would match in pinks. She shared the stories of where they came from. Such an important part of a vintage quilt is the stories that go with the pieces, eh? I told her up front that they would be mutilated, cut, and resewn. She smiled and was thrilled with the idea. So, she made me a good deal on a handful of hankies for a buck! Wow, that really helped. Some are here, some below…and I’ll close up a few, too. Some are handmade, some machine, but they are pretty.

I saw this pretty off-white open-work piece that I just had to have for my center piece. Ms. Dort’s quilt calls for a Dresden block with the blossom having rounded tops. 1. I’ve never succeeded in making a dresden circle that actually circles. 2. I’ve never accomplished a rounded applique anything. I saw this rounded piece and thought it would make an awesome center block… so that’s the plan at the moment.

At the very top, you’ll see a spool of clearance machine- made bobbin lace. Yes, I have the tools now to make my own bobbin lace, which I will do at some point this year. But, I’ve been asked by the maker of my new pillow holder what bobbin lace is… so, I got this spool to show him the concept. I’ve also been collecting some spring color fat quarters to continue my quilting of the seasons… I’ve kinda decided that this quilt will be “Spring”.

Here’s the second half of my haul…

Here you can see some more of the handkerchiefs. The pink one is linen and has a very finely crocheted border on it. I’m thinking it will be a nice base for a little embroidery later. Upper right, Check out that awesome snowflake of battenburg lace. The lady said that it had been made by her Grandmother (and she must be in her 60’s or 70’s, so you can imagine how old it is). I haven’t decided if I should clean it, or leave the patina of age. To be honest, it’s so fragile that I’m almost afraid to use it on the quilt. Maybe, instead, I’ll frame it. It’s too beautiful. I LOVE it! In the middle-bottom is a small tray scarf. More of a peachy-brown than pink, but I really liked it. Not sure I’ll use it in the quilt at the moment. It would look so nice on the little table by the door. I found a little cutwork collar that I thought might make some nice blocks along the way.

I did already make the hankie (top left) into a nice square last night while events were unfolding on tv. Such a scary time. Needed to create some beauty to counteract the negative. I did the main motif first, but the square just looked to bland so I added one of the corners to it. I still have two corners so there’s another square there. I’ll need 8 squares for the centers of the first star blocks. I’m going to try to do all 8 with hankies for some consistency. We’ll see how it goes.

I really like the way the clear nylon thread ( a gifted antique wood spool from B.). I’ve never used such before, but I like the way it worked on this piece. Man, it was hard to sew with, though. Invisible was true in all too much clarity. Definitely a labor of love. The fabric on this hankie was so very thin and delicate. I can see why it was in such pristine condition. It was far too pretty to be used as a nose rag. A little note… when I looked at it under a magnifying lens I noted that indeed it has has been hand stitched! WOW! Such tiny little stitches. A definite tribute to a lady who really knew her craft well.

In keeping with the hankie square’s theme, I picked out this one from the pile. It’s so pretty. The rose at the bottom is made on what I believe is chiffon or organza. It looks to be machine sewn, but it’s just so gosh-darn delicate and pretty. I played with placement a little, and decided to just go with it down the center.

I’ve pinned it to hold it while I stay stitch it onto the foundation block. I’m doing a simple blanket stitch around the edges at the moment, but it feels off… I’m thinking of adding a little line of either pink embroidery or some fine tatting/crochet lace to the two diagonal seams. At this point, I’m not really liking the linen I chose for the background too much. It’s almost too fine for the purpose. So, I’m thinking I might need to add another base at some point before I put batting to it. That’s a concern for later. At the moment, just creating the blocks.

Not pretty… but I did use a coupon to get a new square template and of course a few skeins of DMC floss to use along the way. I chose the DMC’s before I went to the antique store in order to establish the color scheme… it’s easier to carry them then a handful of fat quarters. So, now I’m off to finish the rose square… and 5 more squares. Then, to figure out how to sew “flying geese” to make the points for the stars. I’ve never been all that good at sewing triangles, but I’m determined to figure it out.

I’ll be back with an update on progress next week. Thanks for stopping by and sharing this journey with me. It goes right along with the reading and reflecting of my Grandmother’s journals… they were all sewing ladies and mention quilts, dresses, etc quite often in their journals. I’m happy to continue that tradition.


  1. The embroidery is gorgeous, especially those two of the pink flowers at the end. My mom taught us simple embroidery when I was about 10. Dresser scarves, pillow cases, dish towels, etc. I still have much of the work I started doing back then. Also have things from Terry’s maternal grandmother, treasures of old-fashioned crafting. I never thought about putting them all together in some kind of project!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Follow the link I put in the post. Or go to reader and search Rhonda Sort. See what she’s done with old linens. It’s awesome! I never thought of some so pretty. She even shows how to hide those little stains that come with time. I’m starting to realize I need to do more junking though… I’m going to need more pieces before long.

      Liked by 1 person

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