Whilst doing a spot of cleaning and tidying up recently, I noticed how lucky I was to have some items of embroidery that were embroidered by relatives, some of whom I never had the chance to meet. I have tablecloths, serviettes, pillow cases and a lot of doilies! I am lucky too that I was given the opportunity to have these pieces. I remember one instance when we were all ‘back home’, Mum bringing in boxes of linen from cleaning out my grandmother’s home, for my sister and I to decide if we wanted anything. My sister being the beautiful person she is let me choose the pieces I wanted, as she knew I have a great interest in all things embroidery. She also has an interest and is a wonderful cross-stitcher. So we both have a lovely collection with sentimental value.

I have to ‘make up’ the story behind these pieces, as in the majority of cases, I don’t even know who embroidered them! Since these pieces come from my grandparents and great grandparents, (I will presume it’s not earlier than that!), they were made in a time where women would have worked in the home a lot more, creating these pieces was presumably part of their daily activities. One of the tablecloths I have isn’t finished. The design has been transfered on, with it worked presumably much like the kits we have today. No stitch instructions were found, so I’m not sure how the stitches were chosen. I do have some threads though! One day when I think I can do justice to the stitching already in place, I’ll pick it up and try to finish it.

Most of the pieces have been worked in stem stitch, long and short stitch and buttonhole stitch. Each piece has been ‘hemmed’ slightly differently.

Here’s some of the doilies. They have very sweet designs. A trend of past times maybe?

Here’s a pair of mountmellic pillow cases, complete with the traditional knitted fringe. I don’t believe we have any Irish heritage, so maybe this was a type of work that was appealing to the stitcher for other reasons. You can see in one area a repair has taken place. I have no idea if this was before, after or during the making of these cases, but we could learn from the frugal mindset our ancestors had.

Finally, the tablecloths with serviettes. A matching set for four places.

To contrast, here’s some of my cushions that I have made over the years.

Whilst these pieces aren’t ‘museum worthy’,ย they hold a special place with me.

Does anyone else have pieces handed down through the generations?

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