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  • I expect your napkins were done by the bride to be, possibly even before a groom was in view. Even in my mother’s generation women had linens and towels and so on with their (maiden) initals. So if your napkins were not used, it is possible no groom ever was found. Especially for the war time girls in first and second WW it was not uncommon to end up with your chest full but no household of your own.

    • Such a gentle and warm telling of what may have been a sad outcome. Thank you for adding that background.

    • I did not think of this possibility at all, but of course it must have happened that way sometimes.

  • All these things are gorgeous….but that CB monogram is jaw dropping. Happy that it worked out that it came to live with you for Carrie!

  • I am so glad you told KonMari to hush up. These are beautiful treasures.

  • Best part of the post is the last line! I have been guilty of doing that in the past, but in recent years I’ve been using “the good stuff.” Yes, a glass or two broke, but that’s a small price to pay for the enjoyment beautiful dishes, quilts, and blankets bring. Your new linens are gorgeous!

  • Amy must be channeling my thoughts today! Could not agree more.

  • Exquisite. I can totally see why you were drawn to CB. Imagine having the time to complete this embroidery. Treasures for sure.

  • I think a smart coverlet of sorts for sleeping on summer porches would be a fabulous use of the stunningly stitched sheets … do kiss Olive on the nose … you did not find her monogram?!!!

    • Great idea!

  • Beautiful!

  • Gasping aloud here! SO GLAD to read “not saving them for special.” That’s the spirit I wish to embody!

    • It’s somehow easier that they aren’t my own family heirlooms. I hope laundering them is not too problematic!

      • Wonderful mementos and gifts for your kids, just beautiful. Oddball here who loves to handwash and iron – le $500 iron makes me so happy. If you wash gently using powdered non-chlorine bleach, line dry, I bet your trusted cleaners would gladly press them in their mangle.

  • When my grandmother moved into a nursing home, my parents cleaned out parts of her home (my grandfather was still living there) and found many of the beautiful things she had received as gifts over her lifetime–the things that were too pretty to use. There was Irish linen in many forms–table cloths, napkins, and handkerchiefs, if I remember correctly. Knit things my mother had made, cloths my mother had sewn. In a way it was sad b/c I knew how much care had gone into choosing (and sometimes making) the gifts, but it was also kind of sweet that my grandmother thought so highly of them that they were sequestered in that way.

  • KonMari would be thrilled to see you using ‘the good stuff’. I feel a sudden urge to visit France now.

  • Knowing you have these has made me inordinately happy.

    • Aw. Thank you. I’m going to enjoy the heck out of them.

  • My breath caught at their magnificence. I had no idea embroidery could look that amazing.

  • I am so jealous! What treasures!

  • If Joseph doesn’t want the sheet, I just happen to have the same initials. Wouldn’t want the sheet to go to waste!

    Jane

  • You are inspiring me to pull out the good tablecloth I inherited. Grandma told me to save it for special occasions. I think dinner w my family is a special occasion.

  • Treasures all – what a find – thanks for sharing

    • (My applause emoji may have not shown up. I was speechless. My feelings could be expressed only as tiny pictures.)

  • So incredibly lovely. I have never seen such perfect satin stitch before, and my mother and aunt were top-notch embroiderers. Do you think it was done over a cord or somesuch to create the elegant, consistent profile?

    • My mother started appliqueing quilt block when she was expecting me–roses with satin stitched rolled petals–and finished just before my 19th birthday. Her satin stitch was just like that, even and perfect, and her applique stitches were virtually invisible. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit that skill, only her smart-ass-ery.

    • It’s very sculptural –on both sides– and I am trying to work out how it was done!

      • Kay–I seem to remember my mom discussing embroidery with me when I was a little girl. I think she said something about padding, or padded embroidery that her mom used to do. If that is true, then there must be a technique for it.–Diane

  • I want to go to Paris. To go to that shop

  • Gorgeous! And CB works for my (married) name as well.

  • Spread to the edge! 🙂

    • SPREAD
      TO
      THE
      GD
      EDGE

  • I see a small window shade or table runner in it’s future? Too pretty to hide on a bed:)

  • This is out of context but your header is Linen and Things… I saw this on the Lion Brand post and looked it up. A UK animal shelter has a “Knitting with Kittens” workshops! https://www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/events/knitting-kittens-club

    • That’s a great idea for a knitting group and workshops – thanks for sharing the link 🙂

  • Be still my beating heart. I’ll be in France next week, in Paris and the south (more to the west of where you were) and I’m inspired to look for some linens!

  • That CB is amazing.
    I recently Konmari’d my eldest kid’s bronzed baby shoes, but I’d make room for crystal, china, and linens. I did save his monogrammed sterling baby cups from Tiffany, though. Not that he wants those, either.

  • I know that in time, Carrie will incorporate this treasure into a piece of her very own making…..

  • That story itself was worth the price of the trip. A shop like that is a journey in its own right! Someday, that will be a story Carrie and Joseph will tell their families. It also inspires the maker in me to try and leave behind something both useful and beautiful although satin stitch is unlikely to be part of the process.

  • By the time my in-laws died, their house in Sweden was filled to the rafters with similar treasures inherited over the years; both were only children. They lived in the same house for about 50 years and long-standing Swedish neutrality kept the families from losing things from war or being refugees. None of their children seemed all that interested in the stuff, but to me, it were precious. My MIL was always pushing me to take more home (to the US), but I always felt like I was absconding with national treasures. One reason things might have endured in such good condition: better care and no machine washing!

  • Wow. I think I must be hormonal or something because I have tears in my eyes. I just feel very touched. By all of it. I can imagine the totality of history in that shop in France. All that you conjured up while running your hand over the embroidery. The regret you felt when you thought you couldn’t have the CB. The joy of finding out you could have the CB. CB arriving! Enjoy.

  • Oh my goodness, what beautiful treasures. I’m so pleased for you! 🙂

  • I would gladly change my last name to have that beautiful C B linen.

  • This embroidery took my breath away…elegant, exquisite, and destined to be cherished and used by you every day! I would love to have a few days in that unbelievable shop…one walk through would never be enough to unearth all the treasures hidden in there…and if those pieces of linen could only speak – what stories they would share! Kon Mari changed my life…but she would love these acquisitions since they do sparkle and bring great joy! Enjoy!!!

  • You’re right. They are exquisite. Can I come next time?

  • What a lovely post. I have two sets of embroidered top sheets my great-grandmother made. One is cotton and one is linen. I surmise the cotton one was “practice” and the linen one was for – maybe – the wedding night? But then packed away as they were in perfect condition until I decided to use them! I just love them!

  • I love the last line also. Whenever I see beautiful things I wonder what the hell I’ll do with them. More often now I’ll say–just use ’em!

  • So beautiful! And most definitely sparking joy! I’m so happy you’re using them. I have one last set of my Grandma’s pillowcases, embroidered with a crocheted edging, and although I don’t use them constantly, I do use them a few times a year. And I know Grandma would be happy about that, because she certainly used her embroidered pillow cases!

  • Before I was a knitter, I was an embroideress. In particular I was fascinated by embroidered letters –monograms, short phrases (usually snarky) that I made as gifts for friends and family (genius at work, sleeping beauty, carrel sweet carrel).

    DMC made beautiful threads for embroidery of all types — perle cottons, the ubiquitous 6-strand cotton embroider floss, tapestry wool, and fine wool — so of course they published patterns. I purchased several in a series of books back in the 70s and 80s, titled Marking Stitch, with historic designs for monograms, vignettes, and borders. Some of the alphabets were ornate script, some were wonderful Art Deco style letters, some were simple block letters, some were designed to be intertwined (one initial tall and narrow, and one initial short and wide, so both would be legible when combined). Dover Publications also reprinted a few books like my DMC series. Most were French, but at least one of them came from Germany or Austria.

    I also had several books, all published by Van Nostrand, that published the work of Swedish embroidery designers, doing mid-century modern embroidery and monograms, all with traditional techniques, like padded satin stitch. Wonderful inspiration.

  • You are the best Curator of Found Handmade Objects. I cherish these examples of the continued presence of things made by hand in this technological world. Thank you!

  • Thank you for sharing your treasures with us… Joy, indeed!

  • There is quite an art to embroidery on linen. Tiny threads, tiny needles, a practiced and precise hand are used to stitch layers of cotton, perhaps over a string or cord. The linens are exquisite and it is wonderful to hear they will be used by someone who loves and appreciates that they were made to be part of life.

Travel Alert:

Join us for a festive dinner at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago featuring Clara Parkes and us! Friday, March 9. Details here.