Hanky Panky

Yesterday I finished putting the borders on the Mom Cats quilt.

There was a good amount of "easing in" to get those spools and borders to match up end to end, which made my borders a little, shall we say, "ruffly". I think it will all quilt out in the end, but if not, I'm considering just quilting around the spools so that they puff out. If that doesn't look right, I might just make a little nickel-sized yo-yo to sew on each one...it would be cute.

So recall that in the original pattern, the Mom Cats are wearing aprons made from vintage hankies and doilies.

And when I decided to make this quilt, I was talking all tough about how I was going to use handkerchiefs, doilies, and/or dresser scarves made by my grandmother for the aprons. Here's what I said:

I'm going to dig through my cedar chest for some of the doilies and handkerchiefs handmade by my grandmother. I have literally hundreds of doilies, dresser scarves, and the like that haven't seen the light of day literally in decades. I'm going to use them in this quilt.

Since they haven't been out of the cedar chest for so long, it seemed silly to keep saving them for...what?!? It seemed an easy matter to just cut them up because, honestly, what value do they have to anyone when they're all packed away and never seen, right? Well...once I got them out, it turned out to be much harder than I anticipated to think about cutting them up. They are so precious, and frankly, rare in today's world. Look at this one, made from the most delicate linen:

And until I took these images off the camera, I didn't even realize that the photos above and below were taken from the wrong side!

Here's how it looks from the right side. She must have used the tiniest threads and needles to do this.

Look at how beautiful her satin stitch is on this one:

Here's how it looks from the back:

Would it surprise you to know that my satin stitch doesn't look this tidy when you flip it to the back?

And I'll just say that if you're surprised by that, then you have seriously overestimated my skill and patience.

This one was kind of interesting to me. This is another one made from a very thin and delicate linen.

I don't know how the "holes" end up there...if they are woven in that way or if she had a technique for removing the threads to make the design. Maybe one of you knows how this was done. In any case, she decorated it with this perfect delicate hand applique of the same linen fabric.

And while some of them are just too precious to cut up, this imperfection makes this one an easy choice.

And since there will be fabric left from this hankie, I'm thinking I can use the leftovers for the sheer curtains in these upper windows in the next block for the Doors of Ireland quilt.

Here's some more of her beautiful embroidery. 

I don't know about that little corner piece of lace. Did she stitch that, or did she buy it that way?

Since I am the last person left alive with any knowledge of these pieces, there is no one I can ask about them. Here's the same piece from the back:

Some of them are made from little scraps with store-bought lace sewn to the edges.

My grandmother must have thought it sacrilege to have a plain white hankie. She always did some sort of little crocheted edging around them.

Here's another one. She never used any sort of pattern. She just sat with her crochet hook (a tiny one) and her thread and went to town. 

While it doesn't show much in this image, this next hankie got washed with something dark blue at some point in time, and so it too is an easy choice for my quilt. I can so easily recall my mother using these as handkerchiefs.

Now, this next one is special. I won't be using it in the quilt, but I wanted to show it to you anyway. It is a hankie my grandmother carried when she married my grandfather in 1912. It was old then. I carried it as my "something old" when I married Mike in 1975. My mother liked to tell me that it was over 100 years old when I carried it. 

I don't know anything more of its origins, but my mother was also fond of telling me that the edge was tatted.

I'm going to put this project aside for a while because it will have to be sandwiched and quilted before I can add the little aprons, but I laid them out here just for grins.

The Mom Cats quilt is my project for the Let's Book It challenge on Sharon V.'s blog.

So next, I want to get to work on my Happy Campers quilt, and I'm kind of excited to be getting started on it.

Sue and I got very lucky on our walk yesterday. The sun was shining the entire time, and we even got to see a mother duck with her three ducklings. I would have taken a picture, but she was being very protective of them and left the area fairly quickly when we came on the scene. So, we had nice dry spring weather for our walk, but as I was driving home, the rain started. The universe smiled on us again.

Anyway...all of that to say that Sue gave me this little card left over from her husband's retirement party. Isn't this cute? 

The little trailer is a plastic button-type doodad, and so it's three-dimensional. I want to look for a little frame to put this in sans the glass. There isn't a lot of room for hanging things on the wall of the camper, but I'll find a spot for this.

It's dry outside right now, but we're expecting a showery day. My shoulder has been in spasm again, and I've been fairly miserable with it. It won't stop me from sewing...but it will definitely keep me from housework today. And, really, how bad can that be?

21 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

They are all gorgeous little hankies - what a nice selection and any one would make a sweet addition to your kitties.

Donna said...

I love the hankies. I have my grandmother's hankie collection and I also agonize over putting them into a table runner so that I can enjoy them everyday. So far, no table runner...

WoolenSails said...

I love the hankies to use in quilt appliqué, really makes them fun and special. The camper quilt is another fun piece, like the idea of doing one with camping and outdoors in mind.


Janarama said...

I see now where you got your talent genes from. Your grandmother did fabulous work, especially the yellow rose with lily of the valley flowers! It really looks like it was machine embroidered. Her stitches are perfect.

Your Mom Cats quilt is adorable and will be very special because your adding a bit of your grandmother to it. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

Kate said...

Beautiful hankies! It's obvious that stitching is in your family genes.

sophie said...

I thought of you when I saw some camper-shaped pincushions in the Spring/Summer issue of Fresh Quilts. (They're also called Happy Campers).

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Wow, your grandmother had the touch, didn't she ?~! Just gorgeous. I can recall my grammie carrying and using hankies too. She passed in 1968 when I was eleven so I have some pretty good solid memories of her and hankies factor in. No one else I knew ever gave me hankie or helped me edge one.

The Irish doors quilt's windows will have a spot of your gran in them; that's delightful and creates an heirloom piece.

Your DILs will carry traditions forward, perhaps establish new observances and linens can be a big part of the holiday rituals, useful for many applications and as some of the prettiest parts of the table settings and decorations.

Sher S. said...

In that one hanky you wondered about, it's pulled thread embroidery and my Mom did some of that with linen. I'm sure my grandma did it also. All that fine stitchery is beautiful. Well to be cherished. You could mount them in a shadow box to frame them. I have one quilt block that was done at my Mom's church that got framed. The church was trying to raise money for building and so the ladies made quilt blocks and framed them with a little history about the blocks. I have it someplace, I'm sure I'll find it in cleaning out and packing.
Love your lady cat quilt. I think I have that book so will look for it when I pack quilt books. I could make one for my new sewing room.

barbara woods said...

our grands spent a lot of time on every thing they did. Tommy says it's because they didn't have t v to watch.my header on my blog is a completely hand stitched bow tie quilt that his mother made many years ago she died at 91 a few years ago

Vicki W said...

You hankie collection is so special!

Tami C said...

If you can recall your mother using these as handkerchiefs, then they will bring fond memories when you look at the quilt you include them on. I really like the hankie that was your something old. My husbands grandmother did a lot of tatting. I'm looking forward to seeing how you do your Happy Camper quilt.

Judy H. said...

The one hankie wasn't tatted -- that's bobbin lace. I can't tell if it was hand made or purchased, though.

quiltzyx said...

The spool borders are cute on the Mom Cats! I think you'll do fine to quilt out any waviness.
The hankies are such a treasure! I remember my Grandma always carried a hankie too. I don't recall ever seeing them up close, so don't know if they were as "fancy" as yours. I did find some tutorials on pulled or drawn thread embroidery - just in case you get a bee in your bonnet & decide you need to do some:

Love the Happy Trails card & I'm looking forward to the travel trailer quilt. :D Glad it was sunny for your walk on Friday! We got some much-needed rain late Friday night, and even some snow in the local mtns. Made it gorgeous out today!

Winda's sewingmachine said...

hi there, i am in oooh about these beauyful hanky's your grams made. the one with the holes in it, could it be made with hardanger ? just google it and see if that is what she did. you can make the most beauifull kind of stuff with it, but as plain and simple as in these hankys i think it looks the best... complementing the rest of the design! love to read your blog btw... give your 2 4-paws a cuddle

hugs from the Netherlands

Lyndsey said...

I love your cat quilt top and the camper one you are starting but I am turning green with envy over the hankies. My mom used to embroider her hankies and my dad gave them to me after she died. I left them in her hankie drawer whilst dad was alive and after he died my SIL's got rid of them. Your hankies showcase so many handcraft techniques including drawn thread and bobbin lace. It will be great to include them in your quilts so they can be seen and admired once again

knitnkwilt said...

Hmmm. I remember as a child when I'd show my embroidery to my grandma, she would turn it over to look at the back. I was always miffed because she missed the pretty front. Now I see the goal she had in mind for me!

Brown Family said...

I love her hand work. I have done some pulled thread or hardanger before. Mine was not that even!

I bought some beautiful hankies at a garage sale to use in doll house miniatures for curtains and bed linens. They may get used in quilts, now!

Joanna said...

You made such sweet fancy cats. The hankies are add a charming touch.

Sheila said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

Cindy D said...

I love your cat quilt! Thanks for sharing it with us.

kiwikid said...

The cat quilt is lovely, the embroidered hankies are amazing - I have some crochet doilies my grandmother made, but nothing delicate like that. Love the caravans!