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

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Once again, I am caught in between stitches.................

I have a project in progress..............but progress take awhile when it comes to hand embroidery.
Which makes me appreciate vintage linens, elaborately embroidered with so much intricate design and stitching.

I came upon a wonderful collections of linens in an antique shop the other day...........yet the prices on the linens were not rated as antiques..........they were priced just right for me to take home.
As I was looking through the pile, I became  engaged in conversation with a woman, who, although recognized and stated that vintage linens are becoming harder to find, did not see much value in them. She was more than glad for me to clear them from her shelves.

I only know just a bit of information on these wonderful linens. With more research, it is astounding at the rich history these linens hold. Some linens are from France, some from Italy, and most of my collection is from Madeira, an island off of the coast of Africa, a region of Portugal.
The designs are from the inspiration of Madeira designers, past and present,
Needlecraft was a skill passed from generation to generation on Madeira.

Elizabeth Phelps, the daughter of a wealthy wine shipper, was the driving force behind Madeira embroidery's transformation from a hobby to an industry. In the late 19th century, with concerns over vine diseases affecting the wine production and workers' wages, she turned a local pastime of embroidery into a source of income for the island. By introducing the handmade embroidery from Madeira to Britain, she started demand for the embroidery.

In the following years, the demand for Madeira embroidery rose and the local embroiderers of were busy creating hand-embroidered products for the market. Local businessmen began traveling abroad, selling Madeira embroidery. The hand embroidery was thriving and demand rose in countries including Germany, the United States and Syria.
The 20th century brought challenges for the Madeira embroidery trade with World Wars and a declining economy. The market was taken over by Syrian and Lebanese interests, which mass produced embroidery of lesser quality for American sales  When demand for quality Madeira embroidery began to appear again during the post-war period, new companies in Madeira opened, determined to return to hand-crafted Madeira embroidery. These companies include Patricio & Gouveia, Imperial de Bordados, and J.A. Teixeira.
There is so much more to learn about these wonderful textiles with a little time and research.
The reason I collect them, boils down to one simple thing.
I love them!
 To know that someone stitched for hours to produce something so beautiful with their hands, makes them a treasure to me.
How about you?
What do you love to collect?
Is it a rare thing..............do you find it hard to part with it?..............
no matter how many you have?
I would love to hear!


Bev said...

They are so beautiful! I love dishes... I have so many...yet I am always drawn to cups, dishes... pottery.... I have to stop!!

Shami Immanuel said...

I love to do embroidery on white background. Always vintage linens are treasures which we cannot get in the future.


Hindustanka said...

Very delicate embroidery finding this time :)I do understand why you collect these beauties - because they tell stories of some crafty people back in centuries... wonderful thought!

KathyB. said...

This is very interesting, and the needlework is so beautiful. I am glad the needlework is in possession of someone who appreciates the artistry & skill involved in it's creation.

Preeti said...

That was an interesting story about the history of Maderia! Thanks for sharing ! I enjoyed reading it:)
I don't have any specific collection. But Indian textile has been in the world for many centuries. I have fine silk sarees which are handwoven with old methods as in 14 th century. With advent of easily available Chinese silk everywhere, these realistic silk industries and the weavers are losing jobs.

Jessie said...

This is wunderful!

lil red hen said...

Very, very interesting information on the embroidered pieces. And I agree with Kathy, it's wonderful that these pieces have come into your possession because you appreciate them so much.

For a time I collected Homer Laughlin china pieces, but as I grow older I'm trying not to add things to my cupboards.

Betty Lou said...

Beautiful and thank you for the little lesson. You were so lucky to find such lovelies.

Cindy said...

What an interesting history! Thank you for sharing it with us. And to think that these people did so much beautiful handwork and never signed any of it.
I collect many things, but the only things I couldn't part with are the antiques I inherited from my grandparents. I love every bit of it!

Mini said...

Those linens are simply beautiful...what a find! Thanks for this post-so interesting & informative too:)

janice15 said...

They are indeed very lovely...great find..I can't seem to get one embroidery project finished.. I keep going to my crocheting my oldest daughter told me boy mom I wish I had four hands to do my crocheting and embroidering...lol..Me too Have a lovely Tuesday, with love Janice

Anonymous said...

Lovely linens, Kathleen.

Marianne xo

Tammy said...

Interesting history of Madeira embroidery. Elizabeth Phelps was a smart woman. How lovely that you were able to find these linens to add to your collection. Hope all is well and that you are having a great week. Tammy

Marie said...

This was a fascinating post, Kathleen! I loved learning about this special history of embroidery. It makes you appreciate these finds so much the more! The ones you found are all exquisite!

Gina E. said...

Hi Kathleen, your story is so familiar to me! I have so often found vintage linens in antique shops and thrift shops, where the sellers are only too pleased to offload them to me, to make room for other 'stuff'! Yesterday I posted on my blog about the latest lot of linens I have come by, from a lady who is downsizing and didn't want to keep her family linen any more, so asked if I wanted it. The first lot of white and crocheted linens are now soaking overnight!

Sharon said...

Beautiful, beautiful embroideries... Enough to bring a tear to my eye I love white work - imagine someone in some other time perhaps spending their spare time doing those...

Jan said...

When I read "To know that someone stitched for hours to produce something so beautiful with their hands, makes them a treasure to me.
" I knew I had found a kindred spirit! Thank you for sharing.