Friday, April 19, 2013

Our Foremothers . . .

I've been making bonnets out of vintage handkerchiefs
for many years.
They used to be $5.00 for a box full of doilies and hankies.
Now they are running $5.00 to $14.00 EACH!
Sometimes even more for the special ones.
I was moaning about the prices and having to think about raising
MY prices soon, now I charge $18.00 for a bonnet.

Then I thought about where these pieces came from.
Somebody made them. With a needle and thread.
Somebody cut out each butterfly and painstakingly
(and with a very teeny needle) stitched it to another piece, and then embroidered over it. There is also drawn threadwork on this hankie - she carefully cut one thread at a time and pulled each one out to make the design.
And tatting. It's done with a shuttle by tying and flipping tiny knots
 to make picots.
I took a six week tatting class once.
 I almost went insane.
Really! After six weeks of struggle, I had one inch of tatting.
I would like to point out that this tatting is TWO colors, which means two shuttles, or one shuttle and the ball of thread.
Below is a cutwork and embroidered pillowcase. After the embroidery is done, the tiny openings are carefully cut out.
The point is that ALL of these things are precious and should cost more than $5.00 for a box full of them.  The scary part is that there won't be any more
 because the generation who created them is almost gone.
My mom taught me to sew. My daughter is not interested in sewing, but she does make jewelry. If you or your daughters are interested in preserving these arts, I urge you to do so. The way to learn these arts is to sit with a grandmother and learn, because there aren't many classes available. Please give serious consideration to what you are able to pass down to the next generation.
 (Alas, not tatting for me.)
Love, Linda


  1. Dear Linda,
    I was laughing out loud.
    You have a great sense of humor!!!
    I too appreciate the beauty of hand tatted and vintage doilies and hankies and repurpose them into things I can enjoy each day.
    Thanks for sharing the fun!

  2. yes, we are losing these skills. My daughter isn't interested in embroidery....apart from owning what I I hope for a grand daughter who has the passion I do. And you are day there will be no vintage treasures left...such a shame