Thursday, 15 May 2014

My latest finds - wonderful Irish Linens

When I am back in Ireland searching for linens all too often I meet people who say what a pity it was that they disposed of family linens when clearing their aunt's house or their mother's linen cupboard! It is so frequently the case that these linens are marked with use and age, and it is assumed that no-one would want them. Then off they go to the charity shop, or more often they are simply thrown away!

Just recently however I was introduced to someone who had actually kept everything and she was happy for me to come and have a look at them. I went to her home and was thrilled to see 2 very large piles of assorted linens awaiting me. What a treat! I now have 3 very large bags in my studio which have to be sorted and the contents measured, listed, assessed for damage and then the job of laundry will begin. I absolutely love the process of restoring pieces like this. Some will be more easily rescued than others I hasten to add!

Here is just one pile of Fine Irish Linen with the tiniest hemstitching and drawn thread work; beautifully worked crocheted borders, skilful embroidery and openwork. From tablecloths to doilies, table runners to tray cloths, all have been used and appreciated over the years and display workmanship that we are unlikely to see again.

There's also a selection of hand embroidery from the 1930s, vibrant colour combinations cleverly worked on smooth Irish Linen. Everything from tea cosy covers to tablecloths.

And no home in the last century was complete without luncheon sets with Madeira embroidery or tea napkins with dainty embroidery.

So, I have my work cut out for me in the coming weeks, but it will be a pleasure to bring these beautiful pieces back to their former glory.

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