I cannot count my day complete
'Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

Sharing a common thread with those who love the art of hand embroidery

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A vintage cross stitch design

I remember the first time I found these little napkins. Only three in the set, tucked away inside of an antique dresser drawer at one of my favorite "antique hangouts". Small in size and the material yellowed with age, I still had to have them..................for the vintage design, still fresh and colorful as if it were stitched only yesterday. I placed these away and have had them for awhile...........
but have decided to make my own set of napkins with this design. So with pencil and paper in hand, I carefully marked each stitch.........

Even the hems are hand sewn. Someone, whoever she was, stitched away her spare time on these. Did she use them instantly at her table? I always wonder. From looking at the napkin, I think these might have been a stamped cross stitch set. Each one is perfectly stitched.
I now have a pattern for this vintage design.......a little piece of history preserved....for someone........someday.........

I have a set of vintage linen napkins that have never been used just waiting for a design like this to grace their surface.................I can't wait to begin stitching! Probably one day, mine also will be sitting in an antique shop waiting for someone to discover them.
Now, how about you? Do you have some charming little napkins from some other place and time? I would love to hear.

***Please note: I have often been asked if I sell the designs once I preserve them........
no.........I preserve them for my own reference in making new linens with a vintage charm for myself and for customers. The only thing I charge for is the embroidery work I do for a customer.


9 comments:

the rusty cupboard said...

that was wonderful. I almost cried listening to you. how someone long ago worked so hard on them. I think the same way when I see something like this. but I have never thought of copying the pattern. so cool

Linda said...

Hi Kathleen, these are the sweetest little napkins...when I find treasures like these I always wonder what their story is. I think these were a special gift from a mother to her daughter and used for the most special occasions....I'm happy you have perserved this lovely pattern.
I recently had a lovely time visiting family in Texas....I was thinking of you and wondering if you were anywhere near them in the NE corner near the OK border. ...hugs, Linda

papel1 said...

Kathleen,
I really like the napkins. You must have great eyesight and patience for work on transfering the pattern. I can't help but visit antique stores hoping to find a treasure.
Judy

Mildred said...

What a fun project. I can imagine your joy finding these lovely napkins. The cross stitch is so pretty. I don't have any vintage cross stitch napkins but we do have some crocheted placemats that grandma made that are treasured. I think I tell you every time about me having a few pieces of the Virginia Rose pattern that was gma's but I LOVE your header photo with the matching flowers!!!

Laura Frantz said...

Kathleen, These are true keepsakes! I really miss my crossstitch days so coming over here gives me that dose of beauty and creativity I need. Bless you in all you turn your hand to!

W. Latane Barton said...

A precious post. I am so glad that you made the design so that perhaps you too can make your own crossstitch napkins.

I found some plain (no design) linen napkins at an estate sale once and I use them. I too wonder who had them, if they used them, that sort of thing.

Margie said...

Very lovely design. I often wonder what will happen to my cross stitch projects in the future! I only hope someone enjoys finding them at flea markets and sales as I've enjoyed finding my hand made treasures of others over the years!

Gina E. said...

Kathleen, I feel bad about telling you this: those napkins were probably made in China about 50 years ago, in a 'sweatshop'. That design turns up on tablecloths, runners, napkins, etc. all the time over here. A friend of mine told me she saw them being made while she was in China on business many years ago. Yes, they are handmade, but by many women all doing the same design. I have several cloths and napkins just like this. Some people won't collect them at all because they consider them mass-produced, but like you, I look at the exquisite stitching and think about the poor little ladies in those factories, or in their own homes, stitching for hours, for a pittance in pay.

Kathleen from Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Thank you Gina, for telling me about the history of this beautiful design. I have always love it, and it doesn't matter to me where it was stitched. I now have the design to embroider myself. Most important, thanks to you, I have some history to go along with it. That is what my work in embroidery is all about...trying to put together the story with the design. Blessings,Kathleen