Recently, I was the happy recipient of a box of antique pattern transfers. The owner didn’t want them to be thrown away, and she thought I might be able to add them to my collection of old patterns and whatnot.
I love going through this kind of stuff! Early this week, we had the opportunity to sort and categorize the patterns, and I took a few photos along the way – mostly of the patterns that amused me!
You know the saying “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should“? I think that can apply to design. Take a look at these old pattern transfers! I have theories about them, and we’ll talk about those down the road when I share some other photos of already-transferred designs with you. But for today, to lead into the three-day weekend, here are some photos for your consideration.
Many vintage pattern transfers belong to the world of Nursery Rhymes. They’d be stitched for children’s quilts and the like.
She’s a bit startling, isn’t she? I think she’s supposed to be a doll, given the stiffness of her arms.
Most of the patterns in this bunch are pricked patterns that you’d use a pounce powder or liquid (ink) to transfer the pattern onto the fabric.
You can see how fine the pin pricks are in the patterns. With pricked patterns like this, you can use them numerous times, as long as the ink or the powder doesn’t leak through to the other side and dirty it up too much and as long as the paper stayed intact.
I think this piece of art would be titled “Nonchalant Boy and Startled Dog.”
I’m guessing a monkey in a clown suit with an umbrella.
It’s just a guess.
And here, the startled one-armed, tail-less kangaroo.
I don’t know what else it could be.
The back of this Moon Baby shows the pricked lines quite well. The transfer hasn’t been used, so it is in really good shape.
And then two startled owls – which I find rather endearing!
It’s funny to look at some of these and wonder what company had in mind when they produced them – I mean, beyond making a profit on selling transfers. Sometimes, that’s the only thing they had in mind. There are degrees of “good art” and “bad art” in antique embroidery design transfers, that’s for sure. But I think in most cases, the idea was to give the embroiderer a kind of foundation and to let the embroiderer’s skill do the interpreting. Not always a great idea, if the foundation is really bad.
It’s so much fun to look through these types of old transfers, though! There’s a whole range of design quality in them, and while some are quite humorous, others are really very pretty and would make lovely embroidery designs to use today. Some are timeless; others definitely reflect the styles of the day (especially in the children’s illustrations!).
We’ll revisit this topic a little later and talk a bit more about old transfers and methods, and which ones still work well today.
News and Coming Up…
I probably will not get a chance to post all the new Reticello books in my shop today. Hopefully, I can work on that slowly over the weekend.
Fact is, yesterday in the wee hours of the morning, I had a stroke in my left eye. I spent the day undergoing exams and whatnot, to see if it can be repaired. It cannot. It was not, thank God, in a central artery, so it affects only a portion of the vision in my left eye. But the situation has prompted other medical explorations, and I foresee some interruptions in the coming days while I get things sorted.
There’s also the whole matter of getting accustomed to the difference in vision. Such is life. It could have been worse!
I’ll do my best to keep up. I can’t afford to let things rest here too much (such is life!), so hopefully, things will continue more or less as normal. But if you notice an interruption, you know why!
In the meantime, I hope to slowly get those books on the website this weekend.
Next week, I will have the next installment of Cotton Quartet for you. Members of the community on Patreon already have a PDF for the next several lessons, so you should be good for a little while on the stitching of the sampler!
I hope you have a fabulous weekend!