Sunday, August 7, 2011

Found While Looking for Something Else

A few days ago I spent some frustrating time looking for a particular fabric scrap I knew I had. It had to be somewhere in those 4 drawers full of fabric leftovers from a ton of projects past and present. I was wasting time - I knew I had to come up with a better storage system for those fabrics.  So I spent a full day cleaning out, sorting by type and color, and either rolling or bagging every last piece of fabric.  I did find the scrap I was originally looking for.  But I also found something I forgot I had.

Many years ago when we gathered to clean out my parents' house after my Dad passed away (my Mom had already passed a few years before), I headed first to my Mom's wooden box of fabric and sewing notions. (I also salvaged the iron base from her old pedal sewing machine.)  I'm the only one of five girls who learned how to sew so I knew no one else would want that stuff.  Among her fabrics were these four embroidery pieces.

My mother did a lot of sewing but I don't remember her doing embroidery.  I'm quite sure she had no time for it once she started having her nine children. I tried doing an internet search to try to fix a time frame with only minimal success. But with what little I found and the style of these pieces I believe it's likely these date back to the 1930s.  If there's any vintage experts out there I would love to know if you can add any information.

These obviously have sentimental value for me and I have been trying to decide what to do with them. My sister (the oldest daughter) thinks they may have been intended as (very small) pillows.  No two of them are the same size - the largest square is about 9" x 11".  And since these are already probably 70 years old, I'm hesitant to frame or mount them without any protection.  But I don't recall ever seeing stitchery behind glass.  Have you?  Anyone out there have any bright ideas for me? 

In the process of all the cleanup, I also discovered that I had about 8-10 embroidery hoops.  I haven't done cross-stitch or embroidery in years, and I have no idea why I ever had so many hoops.  Since hoop art has become the latest thing on Etsy and elsewhere, I'm jumping on the bandwagon to recycle/upcycle those hoops into more contemporary art for sale.  I'll post some of those tomorrow.

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  1. Beautiful embroidery - what a treasured keepsake. If you have a moment, I would be thrilled if you shared this on my Inspiration Board {link party}.
    Hope to see you there.
    carolyn | homework

  2. Thanks for the invitation, Carolyn. I'm off to check out your blog.

  3. What a beautiful find. I think putting them behind glass would look fine... xo

  4. What a beautiful find, such a treasure. You've made a lovely post:)

  5. Felicia...I was scanning Craftgawker and saw your Mother's precious embroidery. How beautiful! I was raised by my grandparents, and Gram did alot of embroidery. The lovely designs reminded me of her work. Anyhow, a few years ago I worked as a framer in the framing department of a Joann's store. We had alot of embroidery work come in...many peices of crosstitch, even some large crewel peices. What we did to preserve them, you could do yourself at a BIG, BIG savings. The whole idea is to make sure the peice is UNDER glass to protect it, but not TOUCHING the glass.
    Here's the simplest method to use. First, make sure the embroidery is as clean as you can get it and pressed. Then get a peice of alligator board and a suitable shadowbox frame. Cut the alligator board to fit into the frame. An Exacto blade does this best. Now stretch the embroidery peice over the board and staple it down. As you do, be sure the fabric grain is as stright as possible. Then mount the whole thing in the shadowbox. You will be able to get the alligator board and perhaps even the shadowbox at Walmart. Now, if the embroidery doesn't raise too far above the surface of the fabric, you may be able to place it into a basic frame, but you will meed to add a mat (maybe two) to keep the embroidery from touching the glass. If you have questions, you can email me at

  6. Felicia...I meant to add....when you staple the embroidery piece to the alligator board, pull the fabric around TO THE BACK and staple it at the back, not the front. This way, you don't have to worry about any staples showing around the edge of the piece after it's in the frame.
    The best method to use is to choose a side of the board and staple the fabric along that side, about every inch or so, being sure to get the fabric grain straight. Then do the opposite side. Tug the fabric just enough to make the fabric lay nice and stretched on the front. The tugging is okay, as long as the fabric is not friable as it would be if the peice was very vintage or antique. If tugging a bit on the fabric isn't feasible, there are other mounting methods you can use. Email me with questions! *smile* Elaine

  7. I use old embroidery hoops to frame and hang them.


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