Thursday, December 11, 2008
Vintage tea-themed needlework
OK, so this is the fourth day I've mentioned that day trip to Fairhope, Ala., and it's the last day I'll mention it, I promise, but I've been dying to tell you -- especially the needleworkers -- about the great vintage napkin I found! I was finishing up browsing in this antique store, and slowly walking back out, when I glanced at a rack of vintage linens and thought, "Wait a minute! Is that ..." and it was. A teacup!
I am perhaps fortunate that so many of my interests overlap (antique dishes, tea, needlework), and I had to have this for the pattern alone! (I uploaded this picture at high-res, BTW, so you crocheters can double-click to see the pattern better.)
As soon as I got back to Newnan, I began experimenting with my grandmother's old stainless steel crochet hooks, as I could tell this work was teeny-tiny. I started with a size 12 hook, but the stitches were way too big. I went down to a size 14 (the larger the number, the smaller the size), but it was still too large. Then I tried a 16. Then I tried an 18. Still too large. So, I googled to see what other sizes of these hooks are available, and I couldn't even find anything after 13 or 14 that is still being made! So, I just used the tiniest thread I had with that size 18 hook. The antique design is about 3-1/2-inches square and mine ended up being 4-1/2 as shown at left. I knew it would shrink when washed, so I slipped it in a cotton pouch and ran it through the washer and dryer. Now my piece is down to about 3-3/4 inches. One more washer/dryer trip and I'm going to see about using it as an insertion for a linen napkin, just as the original napkin maker did. I just love this design, and if I can master it, I will be making lots of these napkins. (Anyone got any tips on hemstitching linen to make napkins?)
Later in the week, I came across another great piece of vintage needlework at Miss Donna's Antiques in Navarre Beach. She has a lovely antique mall, great prices, loads of different stuff, and that's where I found what once was a pillow cover. The pillow form has since been removed, but I wanted this for the "art" and, possibly, for the pattern. I haven't copied it yet, but give me time and I just may give it a try!