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!


  1. These are very special vintage needlework finds! Were you jumping for joy when you found them?!?

  2. Yes, I have to admit I was pretty excited! And to find them near the beach was just shocking to me!

  3. You always find such great tea items. The linens are really lovely. Your copy of the cup pattern is super. The only thing I ever learned to crochet was granny squares and that was many, many years ago. Looking forward to seeing what treasures you make with the copied patterns.

  4. Bernideen's TeaTime BlogDecember 11, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    I've always beeen drawn to|"|old" things..and linens are at the top of the list!

  5. Beautiful "tea" work:-)The Ladies they're very lovely:-)


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