Monday, February 7, 2011

Vintage Monday - Embroidery

I have always loved to do embroidery.
Have you?
When I was about 6 - 7 years old.... my Grandma Crane taught me how to do a few basic stitches.
As time went on and I was ready to learn more stitches...I would ask my mother and she would show me how.
I remember how skilled I felt when I learned to do the lazy daisy became my favorite stitch to work.

I embroidered all kinds of things like little gifts for my friends and family but most of all I remember making things to decorate my bedroom.
As I got older and went to High School...the principal gave me permission to make and sell embroidered pillows in the gift shop.
I used Blue and White gingham fabric (our school colors) and embroidered a big letter "B" (for Bingham) using the chicken scratch or hopscotch stitch in white.
Then I used more gingham in a smaller scale and sewed a ruffle around the edges of the pillow and finished it off with a bow in the top corner out of blue satin ribbon....I sold alot of those I guess that was the seed planted for my designing and selling career:)

I loved having the freedom of just a needle, scissors, colorful floss, hoop, fabric and a drawing to create a work of art.
I usually had my current project with me wherever I went..I even took my stitching to school with me...and I often took my embroidery along on Saturday afternoons when it was my turn to herd the sheep!
Please tell me I wasn't the only crafty/sew-ey geek in grade school!...any of you?

At home, we always had an abudance of patterns that I could choose from.
My mother had several, both of my grandmothers along with all of my great aunts had several...and all of them lived nearby.
Some of them were Aunt Martha's patterns and several of the same ones are still available today. You can find them here.
Today for Vintage Monday I thought I would show you a set of Days of the Week kitty's that I finished (a long time ago...making them purrfect for vintage monday...haha) and are waiting to be put into a know that I just love embroidery and quilt blocks vintagey cute.

Well...little Miss Kitty certainly was busy every day of the week...(except Sunday:) What do you think? Did she bring back any memories for you?

I still have an embroidery project of some kind going...and my favorite patterns to work are the old ones.
I buy yardage of good cotton fabric for the background and cut it into squares (always about 3" larger than my frames)...zig-zag the edges to stop fraying while I'm working on them and then I always have a piece ready to trace a pattern on to!

As a girl...I learned by using a hoop but years ago when these Q-snap frames came out...I bought a set and have used them for embroidering ever since. I love them!
I love the way that they help my work stay nice and neat.
They don't pull, tug or distort my embroidery...and the sides easily snap on to hold my work in place.
The edges are larger than a hoop making them easier to grip while working the stitches.
If you havn't tried them...I promise you'll love them when you do!
Just in case you are wondering... You can purchase them online here. Pictured is the 11" ... but I also use the 6" and 8".

I keep all of my supplies for my current project together along with a little notebook to jot down color changes and such that I might need to remember.

I'm a sucker for cute little bags and currently I am using this adorable one to hold my embroidery supplies.
My friend Sherri (A Quilting Life ) made it for me. Thanks Sherri! It's sew cute...just like you:)

Because I grew up with embroidery and tons of patterns...over the years while out thrifting...I have come across a stack or even a single pattern...I buy it.
They are getting harder to find now but I must say that I do have quite a collection!
If I had to guess I would say maybe 200 or so.
I have been collecting for a long time!

The ones that I am especially fond of are the ones that have come from my grandmothers collections.
I have several I am showing you here from my Grandma, Ida Marie Ewell (my dad's mother)...above you can see some of the envelopes addressed to her as she would often order patterns from the newspaper or needlework companies.

Among them I have found special treasures like notes about the or crochet patterns...written in my grandmothers hand.
My Grandma Ewell is still with us today (she is 97) and so is my Gramdma Crane (she is 95).
What a lucky girl I am!

Among my grandma's things I also found this old pattern for working "chicken scratch" on gingham.
She had drawn it out on graph paper and I am using it for a pattern on my gingham fabric in my "Sew Cherry" line.
I'm excited about that...and will share it with you when I am able to show it!
There is so much one can do with embroidery...such a creative way to express yourself with simply a needle and thread.
Tell me your embroidery love story. I just told you mine:)
Have a lovely Vintage Monday everyone!
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Holloway Family said...

How exciting! I wish I had those embroidery patterns that my Grandma had. I remember a lot of those patterns you were showing! Grandma did a lot of embroidery for her kitchen towels, the flour sack material type. I loved those. I have a couple of pillowcases that she embroidered for me when I got married, they are so pretty and even a quilt that has candlewicking on it. I love them even more now that she's no longer with us. My other Grandma sews EVERYTHING and does tons of crochet, which she taught me.

Pam in Brussels, Belgium

Mary said...

My mother did a "Chicken scratch" tablecloth out of gingham. It was fun to use on picnics. Lucky you to still have your dear grandmas.

DianeM said...

Oh yes, I remember those blissful youthful days when floss was 10 cents a skein down at the 5 & dime store...I always bought the bright rainbow colors & the varigated. I can remember doing embroidery with metal hoops. In middle school me & my girlfriends embroidered all kinds of motifs on our jeans (wish I still had those) & I had a studyhall teacher who taught us all huck embroidery. She bought the fabric for us & would finish it into a dishtowel for us after we completed the stitching. She had a lovely heart pattern I always admired. So, yes, I guess I was a needlework geek like you - just not smart enough to market my wares the way you did :)
Have a sunshiney day - I loved this post & all the pics.
Smiles, DianeM

Comfort Cove Designs said...

One of my first experiences of embroidery was my grandmother would embroider the edge of pillow cases. She would have her children go to the nearest general store to get the old flour sacks. She would wash them and bleach them til they were pure white and then make pillow cases out of them and embroider the edges. I think there might be a set still lying around here somewhere. My Nan Clancey passes away Christmas Day 1988, but those pillow cases have long outlived her and the quality is still amazing!

I too love to embroider and only recently started getting into it more seriously. I also remember those Aunt Martha patterns. I should see if Mum still has any lying around.

Those kitty days of the week blocks are just adorable!

Quiltingly Yours

FourSistersInACottage said...

Oh Lori,
What a cute post. I love the kitten towels they are darling and the bag is adorable!!!!
My grandma taught me too, how to stitch when she bought me my first cross stitch sampler. I still have it to this day. (I should dig that out and put it in my kitchen)
Thanks for sharing, sure does bring a lot of memories back for me.
Hugs, Amy (Mom to the Four Sisters)

joliesjunebugboutique said...

That is so gret that they are still with you! I love my Grandma's so much! My most treasured recipes are the ones written out by them! They are tucked away in a safe spot!

(un)Deniably Domestic said...

Lori - No worries - I was a sewing geek as well. I completed my first cross stitch in first grade...a pink I love my dog cross stitch. I am just getting ready to re-frame it. I earned first place at the county fair!! In high school I spent my Junior and Senior years cutting class and hanging out in the Home Ec room designing and sewing prom dresses. I guess I never got in trouble because I was on campus and being productive! That is how I earned a D in Senior English which is ironic now that I am a college English professor. Ha! Love the embroidery and can hardly wait for that new line of fabric of yours. ~Kelly

unDeniably Domestic

Mamacessories said...

Oh I love embroidery too and also did it as a child. My grandma and her sisters taught me. They were children of the Depression, their mother took in sewing for the woman who were lucky enough not to have lost it all so all the girls would sew to help support the family. These wonderful ladies are no longer with me, but they taught me to sew, crochet and embroider and I have loved using a needle to express myself since I was about 7. My one great aunt went on to become a child's clothing designer so we (and my girls) were lucky enough to wear many of her design samples! Thanks for letting me share my story - hope I didn't babble!

Old Centennial Farmhouse said...

Oh, do those bring back memories! Lovely collection you've got and I would say you are twice blessed to have both grandmas with you still! I am sure they are thrilled you're carrying on with the embroidery!

I learned to embroider as a girl, and don't do it quite often as I really should, it's so relaxing! And I LOVE your kitty patterns, so adorable!

Now I wonder where all my vintage embroidery patterns have gone too...I'm on a hunt!

Thimbleanna said...

What a FUN post Lori! I'm right there with you -- I love to embroider and learned when I was little. Did you do the little cross-stitch sampler that we all did in primary when we were 7 or 8 years old? I can't even remember what it said -- maybe "I will bring the light of the gospel into my home"? (Mine's buried in the closet somewhere.)

LOVE those little kitties. I used to love to do those little embroidered days of the week. My favorite was little poodles. A few years ago, I found the poodles at Turkey Feathers online store and I'm hoping to do them again someday.

Can't wait to see your kitty quilt!

Cindy said...

Your post brought back some sweet memories. I did my first embroidery at age 10 for my sister who was pregnant. Cute little bunny blocks. I was going to make them into a quilt, but never got that far. How I wish I still had them! I embroidered and did cross stitch for years before quilting. Thanks for reminding me of some happy memories!

A Vintage Chic said...

Good morning, Lori! I so enjoyed this post today...brought back so many memories of my grandmother teaching me to embroider, crochet, needlepoint, many precious hours of her time devoted just to me. I wish I still had her with me--you're so lucky!

I love the old patterns too...have some of my grandmother's & great-grandmother's old crochet patterns, but none of their embroidery patterns--what a collection you have!

Hope your day is just wonderful!


My Vintage Mending said...

I always carry a bag of stitching. Idle hands are lazy. I love working with the old patterns and use them as towels around the house. Hoping to encourage another generation of the value of homemade. Your patterns are gorgeous and your stories are priceless. Thank you for sharing...Renee

Cathy H. said...

Love your post today!! My first piece I embroidered was of Little Miss Muffet that came in a blue plastic frame. There's still a long blue string hanging from the back that was never cut off! I was probably abour 6 or 7 when I stitched it. That led to a life time of embroidery. Right now I'm assembling a red and white quilt top. There are 12 pieced blocks and 12 red embroidered blocks of snowmen and winter motifs. I've been embroidering for over 50 years and still enjoy it so much!! I love your vintage Momday!!!

Nedra said...

Lori, I just love this post. It was a great reminder that I still need to pick up some snap frames (on my to-do list since your last visit). I've been wanting to start some embroidery, and you are such an inspiration.
*I'm excited to see how you use the gingham idea with your next fabric line!

Carrie P. said...

Yes, I am one of the geeks and still am. lol
My grandma taught me how to embroider and I still love to do it. I have collects several of the old patterns from antique stores when I can find them. Such fun to look though them.

Lois said...

How much fun to read your embroidery story as I also grew up in a family of "stitchers". I learned at an early age and still enjoy the stitching.

Darlene said...

Oh, Lori, I thoroughly enjoyed your post this morning - it left me with tears in my eyes.

I, too, learned to embroider at a very early age - sitting outside, hoop in hand, on the porch of my grandmother's grocery store (attached to the house) during the heat of the day.

She stocked Aunt Martha's patterns in her store so naturally she owned all of them :-) She had me embroider kitchen towels, pillow cases, dresser scarves, etc.

Thank you for the wonderful memories on this Monday morning, Lori.

Auntie Em said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, especially the individual pics of your kitty days-of-the-week. I really got a kick out of the rain bonnet that Wednesday's kitty is wearing. Remember those accordian folded plastic rain bonnets that we all carried in our purses? Even as a kid, my purse had a few pennies, a hanky and a rain bonnet. Such a fun memory!

syocom said...

I know this is a random question to ask but I am really desprite now. Do you in your stack of pattern (embroidery) have any ducks? The one I am looking for he is sitting in a flower. This pattern is the one my grandma taught me how to embroidery with but over the years my patter and the project have been lost. So i am trying to at least find the pattern.

Delirious said...

Wow, I remember those cats! My grandmother had some very similar. I love to embroidery too, but not the kits that you buy. I love "free form", and also just using drawing to embroider. I learned as a girl, and slowly improved as time went on.

I love that square frame! I might have to buy one.

When I was a teenager, my Aunt made me a floss organizer. Here is a link to my post about it.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

That is going to be so cute with your fabric. I am not a great embroiderer. We both know that! my mom taught me and I liked it, but I didn't do much because mine was messy. I moved onto the sewing machine and crochet. In jr high school I won a district and then state award for a bargello purse I made. After I made it my teacher asked me to submit it to the art contest for fiber arts. I have no idea what happened to it. I never used it but it must have gotten tossed in the move from PA to here. Wish I had mine. Yours is always lovely. I wanted to take a class from you at Amy's. Next time you teach embroidery I am taking your class, hopefully. I found out we are going the last weekend in March to my sisters. I'll totally miss Amy's retreat altogether. I was afraid of that. Oh well.

Quilt Monkey said...

Oh this brings back memories! Thanks for sharing your stories. I was also a stitcher as a child. My mom taught my sister and I lots of different types. I'm wondering where my chickenscratch pillow project is that I worked on for so long. Recently we were looking at a quilt that my family made for my grandmother when I was young. Everyone in the family made a block and mine was included that I made when I was 8 years old. The funny thing is that I was the only person who dated their block, and that is our only way of dating the quilt exactly. Thanks again for sharing!

Lynn said...

What a lovely post and it brings back memories for me also. My grandmother taught me to embroider too. She passed when I was 9 so those memories are precious. But I kept it a secret from my friends for years. Isn't that ridiculous and a bit shameful now?

Brenda said...

I started learning embroidery when I was in 4th or 5th grade. It is one of those things that I will do for a while then it might be years before I pick it up again. I have some old iron-on patterns that I get out once in a while and try and think of a use for them. Glad to see it is coming back into style yet again.

Julie Harward said...

I am happy to hear that you received my package, have fun with it all :D
I love these Aunt Martha patterns too, I remember them well. I do love to do handwork but after awhile, I don't know what to do with it all :D

Sherri said...

What a fun post Lori...glad you are having fun with the little zipper bag, too! I still remember my first embroidery project in 2nd grade--I sewed most of my project to my skirt...luckily I didn't give up!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I love embroidery of all kinds and always have a project going. I've managed to collect a few embroidered vintage pillowcases and they are so special. I do quite a bit of redwork but am working on several other pieces right now that are multi color. I find embroidery soothing. blessings, marlene

Rae Ann said...

Can I just move in and share all of that wonderful stuff that you have going on there? You are so blessed to have all of those things that were your grandmothers... especially with all of her writing on them.

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