I love an afternoon of junking with nothing in mind but to find fabulous. That afternoon doesn't happen all that often, but it's great therapy when it does.
I was lucky with linens this time, and got a small bundle, one piece at a time, here and there. This creamy chenille spread is in almost perfect condition and is quite old. The little puffs on it are smaller and more numerous than the later "popcorn" bedspreads.
I'm often asked to post about my method for whitening linens. Rule number one is to buy in good condition in the first place. I then do a normal gentle wash with a little whitener like Clorox 2 or Oxyclean. That's often all that is needed. When I launder this piece it will lose its lovely creamy patina.
One of my exciting finds was a pair of tatted pillowcases. Tatting is a different method from crochet. It's done with a shuttle rather than a hook, and is rarer to find. Lace is often referred to as "tatting" as a general term, as I found in the newest Fleamarket Style magazine.
But tatting has it's own consistent look which is less varied than knitting or crochet. Here is a close-up of the inset.
And another close-up of the hem. It's delicacy is most suited for baby clothes and handkerchiefs. Fewer women mastered the technique.
I'm not beyond picking up single pillowslips in white if I find an unusual feature at a bargain price because I also love a mix of linens on a bed. This one was a fun find with an unusual crocheted pattern trim.
But I often find less than perfect pieces that merit an investment in repairs and treatment. Either the problems are minor, or the lace can be salvaged.
All the flaws in this pure linen runner are found on the same corner and may be easy to resolve.
The small stains will likely need a long soak with a whitener to remove. Twenty four hours or more if needed.
A couple of stiches are all that's needed for the trim.
My little bundles accumulate until I have enough time and stock to clean and iron them in batches. I find them cheery to have around just as they are.
Another imperfect sample worthy of investment is this short, quite old curtain panel. Its stains may never be completely removed, but at two dollars it's worth the risk. Even in poor condition it makes a pleasing display peeking out of a drawer or bunched in a basket. Hanging, it's imperfections may be hidden in folds.
A little Holly Sugar sack with a faded motif.
It's always wonderful to find things shop or gift ready, as these snowy hand towels. And in pairs!
My favorite find was this pair of pristine towels with green worked details. Maybe you can spot their individual differences at a glance.
This one is the prototype.
It's mate has details in a lighter thread.
The worker had to switch threads even for the body of the design on the left. Coming up short of the planned material was merely a signal to move on with what was at hand, with a beautiful result. A good lesson for life.
And hem work is different.
To me this little pair of towels embodies everything I love about old textiles. Art, quality, innovation, economy, skill, practicality, uniqueness, and beauty. Collecting linen is one of the joys of my life.
Thanks for sitting through the lesson!
Ciao! for now!
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for White Wednesday!
And A Beach Cottage
for Good Life Wednesday