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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Vintage Linens

 

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I have A Thing for vintage linens, and when I find a good source of vintage or antique linens (i.e. someone who is meticulous and careful in the care and presentation of them) that offers reasonable prices, I always bookmark the source so I can come back to it now and then and check up on inventory.

Lately, I purchased some antique and vintage linens that I’d like to show to you. Some, I bought as gifts. One, I bought because it is pretty interesting – it’s pretty, but a bit rough and not your typical “fine linen.” But more on that last one later! Today, some doilies – three gorgeous examples of the combination of linen and crocheted lace.

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

This piece is comprised of about an 8″ circle of very nice linen, surrounded by a 4″ edge of crocheted hairpin lace. The piece – about 100 years old (1900-1930) is in perfect condition – nary a flaw to be seen!

Note: Many readers have pointed out (see the comments below) that the description on the lace was incorrect, and that this is more likely a technique in Irish crochet called Solomon’s knot. This makes more sense, especially considering the densely crocheted points on the lace. Thanks for the input of you expert crocheters out there!

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

Hairpin lace is a crocheted lace, made with a crochet hook and a hairpin loom. The hairpin loom looks pretty much like its namesake: it’s a u-shaped tool with two parallel “bars” around which the thread is wrapped as it’s crocheted, to keep even and consistent spacing on the long spider middle threads of the pattern.

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

Today, it’s more common to see hairpin lace in “fluffier” crochet. I’ve never seen hairpin lace this fine or well executed. (Probably because, as noted above, it isn’t hairpin lace after all!!!!)

So that is one linen doily I picked up lately. It’s an anniversary gift – it was supposed to be delivered already, but I can’t seem to make myself package it up and give it away!

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

The other two doilies are a matching set, and they’re significantly smaller, made around about a 5″ circle of linen. Again, they’re surrounded by crocheted lace, but this time, it’s regular crocheted lace. They’re dated as well around 1900 – 1930.

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

The crochet is actually worked into the linen, and crocheted in rounds, as you’d work a pineapple type pattern for a full crocheted doily.

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

The thread is quite fine – finer than the #20 that’s common today for this type of crochet – and the pattern is lacy, light, and lovely.

Antique Linen Doily with Crocheted Lace

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with these two pieces. I tend to stockpile vintage linens, thinking I’ll give them as gifts throughout the year, and these will definitely make a good bridal gift or Christmas present or birthday present at some point in 2012. The trick is parting with them!

I picked up these pieces from The Alley Rose, where you will find some gorgeous linens, meticulously cleaned and cared for and beautifully presented. The greedy, hoarding half of me was loathe to share the link, especially because there’s this One Piece on there that I am longing for with Great Longing, and I fear if I tell too many people about the place, someone else out there is bound to fall in love with it, too, and snatch it up! But then I thought, what the heck? That’s life – and how could I not share a good thing with the rest of you?

So, if you love antique linens, check out The Alley Rose. And while you’re there, pop in and take a look at this Battenburg Needlelace centerpiece, which is stunning, stunning, stunning.

*Sigh*

Stunning.

So what about it? Do you like vintage and antique linens, or am I a nut to get swept away by these things? If you, like me, tend to pick up a vintage piece here and there, what do you do with yours? Do you use them? Give them as gifts? Keep them for special occasions? Have you really made a Really Good Find that you couldn’t pass up? I’d love to know! Feel free to leave a comment below!

Tomorrow, I’ll announce the winner of the Home Sweet Home give-away, so if you haven’t signed up for it, don’t forget!

 
 

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(83) Comments

  1. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to buy a box of linen that contained a lovely battenberg lace table cover. It needed some repair and cleaning, and after I repaired it and cleaned it I put it on an antique table and admire it every day. I find I can’t part with the really nice pieces I find.

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  2. I love, love, love Antique Linens, and have hoarded quite a few myself. But no one I know really loves them as much as I do so I don’t give them away. I trot them out for baby/wedding showers and other “girlie” parties. Alley Rose is such a lovely site, and the Battenburg lace centerpiece is absolutely magnificent. Thanks for showing us this lovely bit of eye candy.

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  3. I am a sucker for crocheted doilies. They call to me in second-hand stores, and even shabby, damaged, stained ones can often find a new home with me. I use them in crazy quilting. Once I portioned out a good sized doily (that looked like it had gotten caught in some machine gears) into 10 different small CQ projects. New life for old art!

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  4. Oh you’re not a nut, unless I am too. Well, perhaps that’s a different subject 🙂 I love and collect vintage linens as well. While I do love the spotless, beautiful ones, I also pick up the stained, with holes in them that have been unloved. I cut around the stains and holes, and use the good parts for pincushions, parts and pieces in children’s clothes. Or for facings when I’m making clothes, just to give each piece I make a little history, even tho it’s brand new. Many times I’ll pick up beautiful sets of damask napkins, and those I have to live with for awhile before I can cut them, and sometimes I don’t, but I don’t use them as napkins either! I just enjoy their presence and wonder what stories they have to tell.

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  5. Mary, these are exquisite! I find antique and vintage linens at all different places. Garage sales,estate sales, and flea markets I have never shopped online for them. I like to pick them up and unfolding them to inspect. I will check out this website just for the fun of it. Btw, I have trouble giving them away, it is always to someone that I know will appreciate them.

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  6. I have quite a few vintage linens. I love the high quality of the natural fibers, and unless they are too delicate, I actually use them. While most of mine were never so fine as the ones you show here, I do have a couple of treasures that are special occasion display only. I also have some boxes of goodies that I hope to get around to framing someday. In the meantime, one particularly fine and sturdy 19th? century plain linen towel is the ‘go to’ sampler I have been working on since 1988. I am now rather particular about its configuration, and I tend to look on it as my ‘life work’ – not to be finished until I am – and left for my heirs frame up.

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  7. I have been collecting vintage linens, quilts, coverlets, weavings, sheets, embroidery, on and on……The problem for me is what to do with them. I can’t collect anymore unless I find a way to ‘use’ them. I have several old linen table cloths which I was going to make PJ’s from but haven’t done it yet. I’d like ideas on how to use them. I don’t know anyone who will use doilies, including me. Help!!

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  8. Thanks for sharing the site Abby Rose. I so enjoyed looking around and reading the little historical pieces. We agree on the Battenbery centerpiece. Stunning! Thanks again.

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  9. I have always liked vintage linens. I often look in thrift store for vintage and not so vintage pieces….I think that now I will be looking for pieces to work on…

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  10. I love vintage linens, laces, and garments! For me, much of the pleasure is in examining how the item was made, especially with clothing.

    Thanks for the link!

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  11. Lucky me: I am doing an inventory of a linen closet for a locally famous and large family…anonymous for this reading. I have found extraordinary pieces with hand crocheted lace, battenburg tape initials, raised sain stitches and eyelets.. It’s a pleasure just to see some of them … and a shame to see the staining on many – probably because they were starched when put away. My problem is properly identifying the embroidery I am seeing. Thanks for your description above: now I can add hairpin lace to my list. THANKS!

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  12. mary, these are just gorgeous pieces. the hairpin lace given the time period was probably done on an actual hairpin. that was how it was invented, and made for some time, but it took so long that hairpin lace looms themselves were invented so that it could be made larger and thus go much faster. i make hairpin lace but do it th old fashioned way with a hairpin as i want the small delicate look. the thread of the second doilies is probably size 70 or 80 it could have just been sold as just tatting thread, but a lot of crocheters used it. in pattern books from that era it was used extensively for doilies and handkerchiefs to achieve the same lightness as tatting. crocheting does not take nearly the time though. i tat but i cannot crochet. i find both of them beautiful. there are a lot of patterns you can do in crochet that you can’t do in tatting an vice versa. i wish i could do both.

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  13. I love antique linens and have a large collection of them. Mostly I just enjoy them (I still use dresser scarves, table cloths and scarves and doilies on top of my furniture). I’ve taken two same-sized round doilies and laced them together around the edging crochet with a ribbon and filled them with lavender or wool for a pincushion–years later I’ve taken them back apart with no damage. I’ve also used small round doilies–some are almost coaster size–and stitched a smaller circle of felt across the diameter, folded them along the seam line and added a ribbon tie to the opposite edge for a charming needlebook. Oh, and I’ve also used them for doll clothing–a nice round doily is often perfect for a skirt.

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  14. Each piece is more gorgeous than the previous! I, too, like old lace and have a few pieces of my grandmothers. Thank you for a site I will visit when the work day starts to wear on me.
    Bonnee

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  15. Mary,
    I have been taking an online class where we use vintage linens. I have purchased linens that are stained. What is the best way to remove the stains? Or is it safe to even try removing them?
    Deb

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  16. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news… but the first doily is not hairpin lace! It is a crochet stitch pattern called Solomon’s Knot. I recently saw it in a friend’s doily photo online and had to find out what it was because it IS so PRETTY!!! I love it, too. I’m sure I’m not the first one here to be telling you that. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your vintage pieces, they are gorgeous! I rarely buy anything like that because I’d rather try making them myself. 🙂

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  17. Oh yeah! If I have money or a credit card, I can’t pass them by. I too WANT to give them away, but somehow I just CAN’T! Ha. JaneS

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  18. Hi Mary, they’re beautiful … but are you sure the first one is hairpin lace crochet? I’m no expert – only learnt to crochet about two years ago, but I am in the middle of Solomon’s knot shawl and this looks like Irish crochet with Solomon’s knots around the central piece of fabric to me.

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    1. Hi, Anne – and Everyone! Thank you for your comments!!

      THANK YOU for the info on the crochet – yes, I can see now (with the information provided from some of your comments) that it isn’t hairpin lace. I’m afraid I just took the description for granted when I saw it. I’m not very learned when it comes to crochet (obviously!). It’s one of those things I’d love to learn more about, but haven’t had the time or opportunity to really concentrate on. I bout the piece for the looks rather than the technique – and actually, I’m glad to know it’s a kind of Irish crochet. It makes it a bit more intriguing to me! 🙂

      Thank you very much for the input! I think I’ll adjust the post a bit and point folks to the comments!

      Concerning dating the pieces, I generally rely on the experts for that, though there are some techniques that are obviously from one era or another.

      Concerning the question of linen vs cotton, that’s something I’d like to discuss in a full article. But generally, it’s evident by weight, weave, feel, and time period, I think. That’s generally what I go on. After living with linen for a bit and working on it all the time, you get a feel for it. But there’s also the question of weave and weight and “hand” – the feel of the surface – the presence of slubs, and so forth…. More on that subject later! It’s a big one!

      ~MC

  19. So very, very lovely. I have a rather large collection of all kinds of vintage lace linens from my grandmothers and great-grandmothers from both sides of the family. When my sisters and I cleared out my old family home we found a large box of them, most in very good condition. I have used some pieces for some special occasions and have cut up some of the stained or damaged pieces and then made some very elegant pillows. Thank you for sharing these sites. Marianne from Santa Fe

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  20. Hi Mary, This is a lovely site. One suggestion I would make (learned from the stellar ladies at the altar guild) is to roll linens around big paper cores, or small ones from wrapping paper, protected first by cotton sheeting, so there are no creases. I believe the feeling was that over long stretches of time, creases could weaken the fabric, causing degradation. I have some old linens from my husband’s family and wonder if my daughters will even want to hold on to them. I also have a great-great aunt’s brown silk wedding dress from around 1880 (before white became popular) and wonder if anyone else has these sorts of things. Guess I will try to give it to a local museum.

    As well the V&A Orb Spider cope was simply stunning. We were privileged to live in East Africa and have seen the webs they make. These spiders are so prolific that their webs can easily be over 6 or 8 feet. It’s wonderful that they harvested the silk and then returned them to the forest. As well, the embroidery design and the skill of the women was good to see. Craft art is alive well in Africa!

    Gail

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  21. I’m so happy someone else is as carried away as I am by vintage finery. I took as many doilies, linen napkins, damask tablecloths, and vintage hankies as I could when my mother-in-law downsized. They live very quietly in dresser drawers awaiting the time when I have the nerve to “use” them in some way–gifts, as you say, or in crazy quilts, or simply as doilies. Sigh. Sometimes I take them out and look at them, iron them, refold them. And dream.

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  22. Maybe you have covered this before, but how do you date the crocheted piece? Offer textiles provide clues with patterns and quality. I only know the time period of mine because I know who made them.

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  23. I do enjoy them, admire all the hard work that went into making them. Somehow seeing the newer crocheted items on the market just doesn’t work for me. The quality of work is so poor, barely mimics the real deal.

    I wonder, in items like yours did they use a pattern or just make it up as they went along?

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  24. maybe a dumb question but how do you tell if something is linen and not cotton or a blend? especially if you are out at a thrift store. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen real linen.

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  25. Oh, My! I’ve just spent half an hour lost in time. What beautiful linens! Thanks for sharing the link. I have 2 dresser scarves my mother embroidered for me when I was a teenager – not in the best of shape, because I WAS a teenager, but I still use them, as well as one I bought that is in much better shape. I also have a few nice hankies that I use occasionally. Now I will know to hand wash them so I can have them for a long time. Thanks, again!

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  26. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for all these hints! Specially during the 90’s I went to many flee markets (in DC area) and bought, sometimes, many “boxes” in order to get one piece. What to do with all these other pieces that I was not really interested or were damaged or stained, and repair or cleaning was out of the question? Well, I saved some laces and used those wonderful pieces of linen to create or embroider placematts (sometimes with the napkins if there were enough fabric). In many cases, those were quality linen that it is not that easy to find today unless you go to an specilized store or site. And it was right there… at my closet!

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  27. I love vintage linens–embroidered sheets, table runners, doilies, tablecloths, hand towels–all the lovely things made by industrious women to beautify their homes. I am especially envious of how well some are executed. I endeavor to match their skill, but alas, seldom do I even come close. Just look at the lovely samplers made by children as young as eight or nine years old (sometimes even younger). Thanks Mary, for remembering these women and recommending the lovely site.

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  28. I went to the Alley Cat site to see the Battenberg lace piece you mentioned. It is a bargain at the price, the piece is fabulous. I too love vintage linens. My favorite piece is an Arts and Crafts doily which I was given – free of charge – by an antique store owner, simply because I actually knew what it was!

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  29. Mary, I just adore vintage and antique textiles. I don’t aquire many, but I my most favorite piece is an antique hand-made battenburg lace wedding gown which I was married in. I was strolling through an antique showand spotted the beautiful dress hanging. The lace was exquisite. When the dealer saw me eyeing the dress he looked at me and said,”go try it on, it looks your size.” I declined and tod him that I was not looking for a wedding gown, I was just amazed at the beautiful lace.He insisted I try it on. When I cameout of the ladies room, yes, I said ladies room people were stopping to look at the dress. When I showed the dealer the dress on he told me I had to buy the dress. I loved it, but could not afford it and he told me to send him what ever I could afford each month to pay for the dress, but I was going to have the dress if I wanted it. I didn’t even start to date my husband for another year,but when I walked down that aisle, I was up to my neck in the most beautiful battenburg lace gown which I had dated back to 1900 – 1905.

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  30. I have a small collection of those silk embroideries that you once referred to as “society silk?” I think. They are all unfinished but they reveal the way the lady was working, which makes them interesting. Best of all, they came with all of her silk threads, neatly organized by being inserted into stitched channels between pieces of fabric. There is a piece with padded dimensional sweet peas on that I love.

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  31. They are lovely. I also have a question. How can anyone (short of a fiber age test) determine whether something is truly “vintage” (or antique) or not just made the day before yesterday to LOOK (and sold as) “vintage”. The latter I would call vintage STYLE but not truly vintage. It is like rules about fruit juice, you can only call it orange juice if it is actually orange juice, if it is not, it has to be labelled as “orange flavored”. It may be difficult to truly determine that in this case especially with people like us (hehe) doing copies of gorgeous vintage pieces. Again, they are lovely to look at either way.

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  32. I find antique linens a joy to own, and I use mine, very carefully. They bring to my mind a time when there was no inter-net or blogs to fill the idle moments of life. When most women occupied their spare time, and tended their creative spirit, with a bit of thread and fabric or perhaps a set of knitting needles. While most of these pieces are not marked with the maker’s name, like samplers of the 17 and 1800’s, I wonder if they will be sought after in the future like samplers of that period are today. Whatever – it is wonderful to see them appreciated today!

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  33. Hi Mary,
    Love this site! I have a bunch of linens from my grandmother (and probably her sisters). Some are simple figures embroidered on a cloth napkin, some are crocheted lace as in the pictures you showed. Don’t know if they are valuable, but they are to me because I love the look and having them around the house. I only wish I knew more about who made them and when…..that info has been lost in time.

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  34. Irish crochet is la creme dela creme in my book! 🙂 This is quite a simple set of stitches if I’m ‘reading’ it right, but no less beautiful for that! An excellent find!

    I only took up crochet to make a felted bowl to embroider on for a City and Guilds project, and I got ‘hooked’ and now do it for its own sake.

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  35. Hello Mary,
    I love vintage linens too. Last summer at a yard sale I found a stack of embroidered and crocheted linens that were looking sad but only needed some love. The wonderful lady selling them had rescued these orphans from the dump! There was even a damask table cloth that was still in the box. Needless to say some of them found their way home with me and are being used as they were originally meant or put into sewing projects (one day, soon, I’m sure, after all the other projects are finished?).
    Love your Webpage and many thanks for sharing the Vintage Linens page.

    Pauline

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  36. More great links, Mary. I inheritated some lovely crocheted items, hand-sewn quilts,etc from both sides of my family. No one else wanted them! Can you imagine? I re-use the unrepairable – making a “huswif” for my sewing supples &/or jewelry roll as family gifts. I found ways to reuse the lace and handmade dresser linens as envelopes for vintage items for my daughters. My aunt was very surprised when I presented her with a lovely envelope made from a handkerchief that had been my grandmother’s.

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  37. I know all about these sicknesses. I have one called textile-aholic. I buy fabric and old linens from many places including dirty bargain stores. I have found some great pieces at thrift stores such as 8 pristine linen damask napkins that I notice are close to 100.00 for 12 on that website! I often wonder what I will do with all these textiles since most young girls today don’t appreciate these types of items. My most treasured pieces are my mother’s exquisite hand embroidered linen tablecloths and napkins from Japan / 1955, when I was born. I’m glad to know of others with these sicknesses! Is there a cure?!

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  38. Hi Mary,
    We are having a snow day here Newfoundland today. So it was the perfect time to get your e-mail with the link to The Alley Rose. I made myself a nice cup of cream of earl tea and went through all the product linens on their site. Thank you for the wounderful afternoon.

    I am blessed to have my mother who have made many crocheted doilies and tea cloths over the years for me. She also at the age of 80 just made a hand crocheted apron for me. I also have a beautiful tea cloth from my grandmother,her mom. I treasure all of these works of love. I love to use them in my home daily a reminder of the loving and talented family to which I belong.
    I am so bless.
    Thanks Mary for sharing with us, God bless.

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  39. I’M AN OLE GAL & I COLLECT ANTIQUES & SOME LINENS THAT I CAN’T RESIST. YES I USE SOME OF THEM. ALSO I USE THEM IN FRAMING PICTURES AND ON LAMPSHADES. I AM NOT KNOWLEDGABLE LIKE YOURSELF. I DO KNOW THAT SOME OF THE PIECES ARE VALUABLE. I HAVE SOME FRENCH LACE THAT I BOUGHT AND WILL PROBABLY SELL IT TO A PLACE THAT MAKES & SELLS WEDDING DRESSES. THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES THEIR ARE GOERGOUS PIECES. MAYBE I CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THAT FOR YOU ALSO…SOME OF MY PRETTIEST PIECES ARE ROUGH AND ARE EMBROIDERED ON.

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  40. Hi Mary,
    I think the linens are incredible, but must admit that they would not fit into my lifestyle. Far to white and perfect. Have you ever seen this type of work done in colours? That would be beautiful (if unconventional).
    Greta

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  41. Alas, my collecting is augmented..fed..subsidized by frequent ventures to numerous vendors at the monthly Rose Bowl Flea market. Which, unlike your brick and mortar suggestion, is always changing inventory. Have also found a exhilerating store in Burbank on Magnolia, Best of Times.

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  42. I too love vintage linens and occassionally buy them. I use some of them in my home but others I just buy because they are offered for such low prices and are so beautiful and seemingly unappreciated. I have a hand appliqued linen luncheon-size table cloth that is quite intricate that I bought for $8.00. I think it probably dates from the 40’s

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  43. In our family we have a christening dress that came from Scotland in the mid 1800’s. It has been used and worn by many generations of our family. My 4 grand daughters were the last to use it and tehn it was retired to a shadow frame out of sunlight. It is Ayershire and beautiful. It was getting so fragile that it couldn not be used again.

    I also have an ornate ayershire shawl that is ripped on one end. I keep loving it, but I don’t think it can be repaired.

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  44. I LOVE vintage linens! I collect linen fingertip towels that I have hanging on tension rods up at the ceiling of my guest bathroom. But they have to be hand embroidered. I also love old tableclothes, which I use constantly. And anything else that strikes my fancy. Hand embroidered pillowcases, doilies (have a beautiful one made with couched coronation braid and hand embroidery and trimmed with hand crocheted lace. I also like hand embroidered hankies and use them and give as gifts. My husband always laughs when we go antiquing as he knows where I head first!

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  45. Oh, Mary! Thank you so much for the chance to see such a beatiful piece of Battenburg. I’ve admired Battenburg since my teens, and have just a couple pieces. I took a class on home-sewing-machine-made B. once, using water soluble stabilizer as a foundation, and it was fun but… well. I hope the new owner takes good care of this treasure (and I do hope that new owner is you?)

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  46. I have many of then … All from my gramma …She liked to crochet, filet lace, needle … and all its parts and samples were with me …. I’m afraid to wash and ruin …If you want to see … Can upload let me know on my blog, ok?
    Walfrida

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  47. I love vintage linens, among other antiques too and have a number of pieces in my collection – including a cutwork piece that has my initials on it. Friends, who owned an antique shop, found it in a lot of other vintage pieces they had obtained. They gave it to me for my birthday.
    I use my linens, don’t believe in letting them sit unseen in a drawer somewhere, they are out and about the house. Scraps are kept to be used in my fiber art work and repair other pieces.
    Yours are lovely – keep and enjoy them!

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  48. These pieces are lovely, as are the ones featured on the website link. Here in Maine I frequently see old linens tossed in a chest in an antique store. I’m afraid of them!! First, they have never been cleaned and stored properly. Second, because of the first they tend to smell unpleasantly. As I grow in my interest in all things needlework I may be able to get past issues. But then, what would I do with them? I live among horses, goats, chickens, quail, dogs,cats…in a very small house. My needlework is done purely for my own pleasure at learning to master something. No room for doilies, although I remember the women of Grandmother’s group having lots of doilies and Madacascars probably made by themselves or their mothers.

    I’m willing to look for treasures for anyone that loves to collect.

    Doreen

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  49. I too love antique/vintage linens. I am fortunate to be descended from a long line of needlewomen. At the moment I am beginning to amass a collection of heritage pieces…all from women who came before me and have now passed on. Sadly most of my generation cannot be bothered with them. I am the lucky inheritor. I have crocheted doilies, tablecloths, runners, pillowcases and sheets, neck pieces. All of which I use. I wash them with Ivory Snow or Oxyclean and they are all still happy. Fortunately for me, my soon to be DIL and my son appreciate these things too. The last crocheted bedspread I inherited I passed on to them for their new home. I generally break out the “good stuff” for honoured guests or momentous personal occasions. Sometimes though I use it just for the pleasure of seeing them alive and well in my home. Small pieces have been retasked in sewing projects to live again.
    Thanks for the memories

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  50. I collect antique hankies. It started with one that I received from my mother, gave one to my daughter when she started nursery school and it was that one that she carried down the aisle with her flowers when she got married. I love the Alley Rose website and saw at least 10 that I would love to buy. I already have alot of hankies and love to look at them on a quiet sunday afternoon.

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  51. Those items are very pretty. I pick up a few occasionally but I make so many of them myself that there is no need to buy them unless I want the pattern. I use everything, especially table linens such as napkins and tablecloths as well as an abundance of hankies! I purchase those for family members, too, as a “green” alternative to disposable tissues. Thank you for the close-up pictures.

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  52. Hi Mary – so glad to see that the crochet on the top doily has been correctly identified – I know the stitch as pineapple stitch… but definitely made with hook and thread, not a hairpin 🙂
    Blessings
    Maxine

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  53. No wonder your favorite piece has been sold. It was gorgeous. Thank you for providing the site, good addy to have in case one needs something or wants to sell some handwork of value isntead of giving it to the thrift stores.

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  54. Oh wow! I love antique linens and lace, and have a modest collection I have gathered from estate sales and antique shops. Not always in perfect shape, but beautiful none the less. The Battenburg piece is stunning…and unfortunately, sold…

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  55. I went on the Alley Rose website…had such a good time looking at all the beautiful antique items…of course, I had to purchase a few things…was hard to pick which ones I could get…thank you so much for your article on antique items….I just love them…

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  56. I can’t say that I officially ‘collect’ things like this, but I have a supply of them that I inherited both from my grandmother and mother. They have resided in a drawer for years, never seeing the light of day. I suppose the true collectors out there will be horrified to know that I am cutting them up and creating a wonderful cloth (thanks to the class Karen Ruane is giving) that I WILL use and love. A lot of the pieces I have are stained or tattered so I don’t feel too badly cutting them up.

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  57. The pieces are lovely. I just hope you can get the folds ironed out without finding that the linen is thin or even split on the folds.

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  58. I do collect vintage linens. I like to incorporate them into a pices that I am working on to make is even more speical. Love the looks and feel of old linens.

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  59. I too love vintage linens. I go to antique stores and rummage through every nook and cranny and usually find some nice doilies, table runners and hankies! If they are plain and do not have embroidery, I use iron-on patterns and embroidery flowers and monograms. I’m 50/50 – I give some away and keep some!

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  60. If your a nut then so am I! We can be nuts together! Love vintage linens, love fossicking through secondhand shops, marketstalls, garage sales etc etc etc….just hoping to find that something special! I use them at home and in photography for Inspirations and give as gifts. Sometimes I have even used the slightly not perfect pieces to wrap a present with a pretty matching bow!

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  61. Thank you for the link! I adore all things vintage esp vintage embroidered handkerchiefs after inheriting a few from my grandmother. I usually keep them when I do get my hands on them, unless someone close to me expressed interest. I love them too much and want to make sure, whoever gets them, will treasure them as much as I do. I know, my bad hoarder instincts. 😉

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  62. I collect vintage linens too! Some I use and some are just for looking, others I actually repurpose into stocking cuffs or the like if the entire piece is not salvageable.

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  63. I also collect vintage linens but they are harder to find these days. Loved the Alley Rose page.

    I am pretty sure the inner border on your doily is not hairpin lace. I believe it is crochet in the lovers knot stitch. I am 73 and learned to crochet as a teen or preteen and I remember doing this stitch on hankies as an edging.

    Dolores

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  64. OMG..I go crazy for the antique and do use them on my dressers, every where. Some I try to redo the pattern, the one you have is so pretty ..thats one I’d try to re-make. Thanks for shareing those

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  65. Thank you for sharing the web site of Antique Linens. I love looking at other peoples work, especially at the stitches used. My absolute is for various stitches therefore the white on white really appeals to me.

    Many thanks

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  66. Oh Mary,
    I am just as passionate about doilies! I picked one up a couple of weeks ago at a local Cat Rescue Thrift store that is about 100 crocheted circles meticulously stitched together. I love it so much I put it on my coffee table with my little basket of tuffets. Needless to say, one of my kitties loves it as much as I do and moves the basket so she can lay on it.
    Claire in Florida

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  67. I completely understand your love of vintage linens because I have the same passion. And, I think you are perfectly justified in not giving away the treasures you find. The way I feel about it is, I know no one else will treasure these gems like I do, so I keep them and display them in my home.

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  68. Hiya
    I’m being cheeky but does anybody know what initials & number stand for on handmade lace? I have a tablecloth & a runner that have initial (both different) and numbers on each. I’ve tried everything to find out why someone may of done this but so far no replies 🙁
    I got these from a house that belonged to a Jewish guy who lived through world war 2 & came from Belgium. He was also very well travelled which included living in France for years in the 60/70s.
    Please please any help would be gratefully received
    Sally 🙂

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  69. I have acquired some old linens from a family friend, that I am interested in selling.
    I live in Maryland. Do you have any suggestions on where I might find a shop to sell them?
    many thanks
    Leigh Zimmerman

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  70. I have a very large antique battenburg lace tablecloth that is so beautiful but in dire need of repair. Is there an individual or a company that can restore my family heirloom magnificent cloth?
    Thank you,
    Eydie

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    1. Hi, Eydie – If you want to email me at mary(at)needlenthread(dot)com, I could forward your email to a contact who knows about these things – maybe she can help you or recommend someone.

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