Great-Grandma’s Stash

A few months ago my aunt moved from her rather large house into a small apartment. She has been divesting herself of various family heirlooms which, being the oldest sister, had somehow found their way into her home. I was lucky enough to receive a fabulous library table that needs to be refinished (it was once my great-grandmother’s dining room table, but was cut down), a fairly rare commode set, and a fabulous collection of embroidery patterns and other crafty papers.

Commode Set

Commode Set

My mom and I have only taken a quick look through the box, but it is the proverbial treasure trove. The patterns are delightful, and many of them have notes in my great-grandmother’s hand. Even more charming are the patterns from The Canadian Countryman, which feature articles and recipes on the back. Some even have dates going as far back as 1913.

Great-grandmother's stash of patterns

Great-grandmother’s stash of patterns

Unfortunately, I am useless when it comes to hand embroidery. I need my detailed patterns, fabric with little holes, and all of the organization and exactness that goes along with cross stitch. Hand embroidery seems so… free-form, so chaotic. But, I really want to honour my great-grandmother’s things and learn to embroidery neatly so I can make things from the same patterns she used.

canadiancountrymanI plan to share some of the discoveries from this box over the next couple of months, along with my attempts at hand embroidery. I’ve already signed up for Craftsy’s embroidery class, which I hope will give me a good foundation. I may even give some the old recipes, knitting patterns, and other tips a try.

  1. Do yourself a great favor since you are a beginner and go on over to Mary Corbett’s site of Needle and Thread. She’s here in the states. She’s a wonderful embroiderer and has great tut’s on stitches. I’ve done both cross stitch and surface embroidery (hand embroidery) for 70 yrs and still find inspiration and suggestions that are helpful. You always learn

  2. What beautiful china, it deserves a nicer name that Commode Set! How about Boudoir China?

    What a lovely idea to learn a craft to honour your great grandmother too.

  3. Aww that’s so cool! We’re the opposite my little sister got all of the heirlooms. But I did get a couple of pieces which were my favorites 🙂

  4. Awesome treasure, especially the patterns. I’d recommend Mary Corbet’s blog (if you don’t read it already) http://www.needlenthread.com – I’m a cross-stitch-girl myself, but Mary’s blog is tempting me to venture down the hand embroidery path.

  5. What wonderful treasures! I inherited a library table several years ago from my parents. My Dad refinished it when I was a kid. My sister and I used it as a homework desk growing up. The top needs to be re-done.

  6. Oh, those are the best kinds of things to be given! Have fun looking through all of those patterns. Hopefully you can make some of them come to life! :0)

  7. How wonderful to have those items. I have several family items, but my grandmothers sewing skills leaned towards darning and patching.