Jan 11, 2013

Elsie's Handiwork

My mom, Elsie, did beautiful, meticulous handiwork. She used to say that the back of her embroidery needed to look as good as the front. I never understood that at the time but now as I look back I realize that much of her handwork was on things like dish towels where one can clearly see the front and back on a daily basis.

When my mom passed away 35 years ago I inherited her embroidery thread roll. I love all the memories attached to it. Mom would cut up pieces of cardboard in a bobbin shape to roll the embroidery thread around. I still have many of them. I love the rainbow colored bias tape that mark each pocket for color sorting.

rainbow colored pockets

Sady, in 1999, just after Buddi adopted us she decided to chew on this precious heirloom. Stupid little dog! It has remained in that damaged state ever since then (but I'm not sure why!)

buddi damage

I've done quite a bit of embroidery lately on my wool purse and on a wool purse for DeLoris (more to come on that). Lasterday it hit me! Why don't you repair the damage made by stupid-little-dog? (let's not get hasty!)

I think part of the reason I couldn't repair it before is that I didn't want to lose any of my mom's handiwork... not even the tiniest bit. I agonized over how to repair it so that I kept as much of it intact as possible. There was a 1 inch piece of bias tape that I removed (and it killed me! I said right out loud, "Mama I'm sorry to take out your beautiful, tiny little stitches!) Her stitches are so tiny and invisible AND strong- a talent that I didn't inherit from her.

elsie's tiny stitches

Rather than cut off any thing Mom had done I decided to just patch it. I looked in my Sterilite tub of white and off-white fabric and found a piece that nearly matched this 60-70 year old fabric. I dumped all of the thread in to a smaller box and hand washed the roll (definitely the first time I've ever washed it). And, believe it or not, a quick search in my tub of ribbon and bias tape turned up a near match for the old bias tape!

damage repaired

I decided to add a little tie to close it up. I've been using a straight pin and noticed that it was starting to wear the old fabric.

repair finished

I'm so pleased with my newly repaired heirloom.

elsie's embroidery roll

1 comment:

Breanne said...

I think your mom would be very pleased with how you've preserved and cared for her embroidry thread roll. I think it is beautiful. You've done a great job repairing it.