Liberating Linens!

I love fabric in all its forms, especially linen. With age and use, linen becomes soft and drapes beautifully. Linen is extremely durable, it is absorbent, strong, doesn’t abrade and is stronger when it is wet. Linen or flax has been used for clothing, bedding and other household uses for many thousands of years.

Vintage linen hand towel textiles with crocheted monogram Doris lovadina-lee found in Guelph Ontario Canada

Although linen has had a resurgence in popularity, it’s been primarily in the clothing industry. It makes me sad to see beautiful linen napkins, hand towels and tablecloths in thrift shops. Some have beautiful handwork – tatting, crochet, embroidery, cutwork. Someone has lovingly and painstakingly created these precious and useful items.

detail of crocheted edge linen towel Doris lovadina-lee

So, I recently liberated a few pieces of linen from a thrift store. The bureau scarf above has a few small holes but the crocheted monogram and the detail around the entire piece is still pristine.

Doris lovadina-lee vintage bureau scarf white linen with edging
This hand towel with the beautiful deep crochet edge is in excellent condition and just needs to be pressed.

vintage hand crochet textile edges on linen tea towel dorislovadnalee.com

The tatting on the linen hand towel below has a little damage on one end. If it can’t be repaired, I will probably dip it in indigo this spring and then use it in an art project. I could also remove the damaged end, hem the towel. It is just to beautiful to toss!

tatted edge tea towel vintage find Toronto Ontario Doris lee

The hand embroidered flower garland is made of a coarser linen. I’ve washed it a couple of times to remove some stains, but they are stubborn. I will probably cut this one up for a project I have in mind.

vintage textiles tea towel with garland flowers embroidered on edge Toronto doris lovadina-lee

The puppies are also stained but too cute! This too will be cut up into a project.

hand embroidery puppy dogs on yellow tea towel Doris loading-lee

Liberated Linens

Liberating linens is not a new endeavour for me. Whenever I find napkins, towels, table runners or any other linens, I can’t help but bring them home with me. But, I can’t keep them all! 

hand dyed vintage cocktail napkins doris lovadina-lee shop online

The cocktail napkins above are dyed a beautiful purple. The set of 6 would be a fun addition to your next tea party. They are embroidered with a small flower on the corner and hemmed with a beautiful scalloped edge.

vintage napkins hand dyed shibori green repurposed doris lovadina-lee online shop

Two shibori dyed green cocktail napkins. Best with a dry martini!

for sale Thrifted textiles cotton napkins green and blue shibori handdyed by doris lovadina-lee

This set of 2 cotton table napkins in blue and spring green are just perfect for a fun luncheon with your best friend.

doris lovadina-lee online shop blue shibori set of three vintage hand-dyed damask table napkins Toronto

Three elegant napkins are shibori dyed in blue. Enjoy take out in style!

Look for these napkins in my new online shop. If you have any ideas for my newly liberated linens, let me know.

Slow stitching – book and sample

I’ve been spending a little time doing some hand work. I was inspired to go back to a project I started 2 years ago after reading: Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art by Claire Wellesley-Smith.

Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Slow Stitch: mindful and contemplative textile art. London: Batsford, c2015.
Wellesley-Smith, Claire. Slow Stitch: mindful and contemplative textile art. London: Batsford, c2015.

This book is beautifully illustrated with projects by Claire Wellesley-Smith, a textile artist working in Yorkshire, England. She blogs about her work at: http://www.clairewellesleysmith.co.uk/blog/

Running stitch with perle cotton on wool
Running stitch with perle cotton on wool

Slow Stitch discusses how the Slow Movement, originally the Slow Food Movement started by Carlo Petrini in Italy, relates to textiles. Examples of Claire’s work and those of :

are included in this beautifully photographed book. There is a lot of inspiration and also a few ideas for starting your own slow stitching projects.

Slow stitch art quilt
Slow stitch art quilt

The piece I am working on shown above started with an embroidery I began when I was a member of the Canadian  Embroiderers’ Guild Guelph. I made a few small pieces incorporating all the fun techniques we were taught. But, the samples languished in a cupboard until my mother suggested that I incorporate them into my quilting.

This embroidered and beaded quilt really is a slow project! I see that I blogged about this project first in December 2014 and then in 2015!

Island Sands
Island Sands

The piece I am currently working is a companion piece to Island Sands which was completed a few years ago.

Island Sands detail
Island Sands detail

I especially like the texture created on the silk noile – ripples left behind in the sand when the tide goes out.

Slow stitch supplies
Slow stitch supplies

I’ve collected up the threads, fabrics, and beads I may use and placed them all together in a plastic box. Hopefully this will keep me organized and on track to finally finish this very slow but satisfying stitching.


Your Cart