Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Patch in Time

Oooh, perfect timing:
The amazing stitcher Jude at Spirit Cloth will be offering a free online workshop on patchwork in October.

Just yesterday I'd lugged home on my bike from the Thrift Store a bulky bag of old embroidered household odds and ends;
some of them actual ends: someone had cut off and saved the hand-embroidered ends of worn-out pillows. 

Many were unfinished pieces, some with the threaded needle still tucked into the fabric. 
That pings my heart, like an old photo of someone in a group (say, at a picnic) who just happened to glance at the camera as the shutter snapped.

I googled how to wash them, and read that Oxy-clean gets out the yellow. So I got some at the nearby K-Mart, soaked the linens, and then hand-washed them.

They did brighten up a lot, but the chemical smell is nasty. Also, the chemical removed the lingering traces of the printed embroidery pattern. Boo.
(Anyone have any old-linens laundering tips?)

I didn't know what to do with these things---they're not "art" or really saleable at the store, tattered and worn, still stained, or half-done as they mostly are. 

They're just workaday dime-store patterns––like the photo here–– common to a generation now gone, and not even particularly well-sewn. 
 I just hated to put them in the store's cloth recycling bin. 

But now I will patchwork them! in Jude's workshop.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
––J. R. R. Tolkein, Gandalf in Fellowship of the Ring (via)


Zhoen said...

You've done free form embroidery before, could you elaborate on them a bit? As well as use them as patches, of course. Would hydrogen peroxide brighten them more? Or intentionally darken them, with a tea or coffee wash?

Ping on the heart indeed, I'm imagining an elderly woman with fading eyesight putting aside these projects sadly, or maybe with relief.

Zhoen said...

Can you still buy bluing?

Zhoen said...

Yes, you can.

(shutting up now)

Fresca said...

Yeah, thans, that's a great idea--- the addition of straight stitches, which I love to sew, could really add interest to the rather mundane flowery patterns.

As for dyes and the like, the problem is I don't want to risk changing the colors of the embroidery thread too.

Bluing might work though...
I use it on my gray hair, to color-right the yellow tint. Costs all of $3.99 in the laundry section of the grocery store.

Fresca said...

P.S. Our comments crossed---yep, that's the stuff I have---Mrs. Stewarts.

Please never feel you have to "shut up" here!

poodletail said...

Holy, holy crap. You have yourself a bonafide treasure here, fresca! I'm green with envy but can't wait to see what you create.

Fresca said...

POODLE: Thanks! If you have any use for such stuff, I could send you some.

Kat Gilmore said...

Those bits and pieces may be cherished and given new life in another stitched project. Interesting to note the hand-embroidered bits were the ones tossed aside! All that work. I do think of our ancestors toiling into the night to make something beautiful for the home, for family, or for a neighbor or good friend.

Frex said...

Frex = Fresca

Hi, Kat, thanks for dropping by.
That's exactly what I think---people in the past, our people, putting so much love and work into making beautiful things.
Worth saving!