Sunday, 26 December 2010

Xmas is over for another year!

 We have had snow on the ground now for around 4 weeks - to begin with it is it is just very tiresome!

The freezing temperatures also caused problems and some of the auctions were cancelled during December which means that some of my stocks of linens and textiles are running low.

So we did have a sort of White Xmas even though it didn't actually snow on Xmas day!

I found this vintage box in the bottom of a sewing box bought at auction - wouldn't this have been a great find in your Xmas stocking in the early 1900's!  The packaging was so much nicer then! (It didn't have any chocolate in it when I found it - just skeins of embroidery thread!)

So I have used the time being snowbound in the house to make these cheeky cushions - Scottie Dogs in cream wool on a tartan background and the opposite colourway. One of my daughters is into knitting hence the basket of wool to the side.

And I have kept the antique 19th century hand stitched patchwork quilt below for some time with the intention of replacing the worn patches but have decided that I may never get round to it so someone else should have it, use it and love it. It is currently for sale on eBay.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Antique Christening Dresses & more

This week most of my auction purchases seem to be all about baby clothes - Christening dresses, night dresses and aprons (for keeping the clothes underneath clean!). One dress in particular has the most beautiful very fine Ayrshire whitework embroidery. Here's a close up................

 And another showing the skirt panel.........................

                                                                Real heirloom pieces.

In reality, it seems that few people do buy them to use as a Christening dress and to pass down the family. Mostly now they are bought by doll collectors to dress up their favourite doll and to display. At least that way the exquisite workmanship is shown off and not put away in a drawer.

The other baby clothing item that was in my purchases is several baby and toddler size aprons ........

          And I couldn't resist showing these two baby's in all their finery - just look at their faces!

Friday, 12 November 2010

The Last of the Summer & Xmas is coming!

It is soooo windy today but the sky is clear and the sun is shining - about a minute after this photo was taken the cloths had wrapped themselves around the clothes line and after about 10 minutes they were dry enough to iron!

It feels like winter now however and after the climbing rose was blown off the house wall by the gales I have had to cut it all back - the last rose of the year is going to end it's days in my kitchen.

So definitely time to start the Xmas sales. Every year I stockpile linens for the festive season - napkins, damask tablecloths being best sellers at this time of year. I have what seems like hundreds of Irish linen damask napkins and whilst they are not all the same design, batching them up into bundles of six gives people an opportunity to buy good quality Irish linen at a reasonable price.

Six large napkins for £5.99!

I also have piles of damask tablecloths - ranging from the enormous 16ft cloth that I have for sale to smaller 6ft cloths. The designs vary too - it seems that the number of designs produced in damask over the years must be in the hundreds. This cloth with the Royal Coat of Arms of Scotland is quite special...

It's also time to look out all those small linen gift ideas. Items that maybe cost only £5 - £10 for a friend or neighbour but as they are antique or vintage linen & lace will show a bit of thought about the gift that you have bought. Boudoir sachets, lace edge hankies, a monogrammed towel or tray cloth - all original designs that no-one else will have.

 Monogram - E - for an Emma. Emily, Eve or Eleanor

Mongram W - for a Wendy, Whitney, Wallis and Willow

Friday, 22 October 2010

Seaside, applique quilts & monograms

I have been away for a few days break down to the North Yorks coast. We stayed at Gisborough Hall - dating to the 1850's.

It was a warm contrast to the beautiful but bracing weather in Whitby

It was sunny but the wind was straight from the North Pole!
And Saltburn beach was even more windswept - but it didn't seem to bother the jet skier and canoeists that were out there in the thundering waves!

I  found some more delights to sell on eBay now that I have returned - these textiles are from Yorkshire too. This is a very sweet applique hand stitched quilt with tulips on a lilac background.


                And my favourite - lots of monogrammed linens - sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths.  This is a sheet but there are also matching pillowcases with an alternative mongram

 I wonder if the needlewoman was trying out different styles of monogram as the rest of the embroidery decoration is the same. From a different house came the more angular style monogram below

                                 This is also the same house and initials but in a different style again.
 A useful site to look at the differing styles and designs of monograms can be found at 

Friday, 15 October 2010

Patchwork and Queen Victoria!

This week I have been down to Yorkshire and back to the North East buying lots of lovely linens and textiles - Irish linen sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths are always in the lots that I look for but this week I have also come across some more unusual, even quirky, items.  The photo above shows a hand stitched patchwork quilt top that I found in the bottom of a box. 


Queen Victoria at the time of her Jubilee - 1887 - so presumably this fabric was made around that time to comemmorate the event.

Then these fabrics have Chinamen on donkeys and dogs and hens and roosters.

I also came across a great example of 1950's - 60's kitsch.
A collection of soft dusters with a dishcloth folded to look like the body of a cat and the motto underneath

And finally, for today at least, some tapestry work - some completed but never used and some obviously used but treasured and put away to "do something with later" ( I have boxes and boxes of textiles waiting for "later" too!)

All the items featured are going onto eBay this weekend.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Antique Durham Quilts

The Antique Linen Cupboard has  a number of Durham quilts for sale at the moment. These two both use red as the prominent colour and would give real country cottage charm to any bedroom. The one above has red and white patchwork and the other is a traditional North Country "strippy" quilt. As I have had a number of people contacting me through this blog to ask about purchasing items I have included "The Antique Linen Cupboard Shop" in a separate page (see the link on the right) There you will find more details about these items featured in the blog that are available for sale and the prices.
These two quilts came from different house clearances but both from the same area. When they were made the houses were in County Durham so genuine Durham quilts too! (The county boundaries were changed in 1974 and much of County Durham was taken to create the Metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear.) If you want to make a purchase contact me through the blog. 
N.B.Both of these quilts are now sold!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Hand embroidery linens at the Linen Cupboard

I've been to a local auction today and came across a box of lovely hand embroidered linens. This tablecloth with Madeira embroidery of Calla Lilies is superb - very long and with matching napkins. Ideal special occasion cloth - this would look fabulous on a wedding table!

This photo shows the cloth on a bed - I haven't got a table long enough to show it off well!
The same box had several other large cloths - all beautifully embroidered.
I think again that this is really a tablecloth but doesn't it look good on the bed?
And this one really is a bedspread - white lace with figural motifs.
The motifs are all of hunters
When I find linens like these I wonder about the household that they came from and how many celebration meals and family get-togethers that they have seen. They are all on sale on my eBay site from tonight - maybe they could preside over your next family occasion!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Hand stitched cushions & quilts

Last week I bought a number of lovely hand worked tapestry cushions from auction along with a number of hand stitched Durham and patchwork quilts. The work involved in both types of textiles is amazing...reflecting a time when we had no T.V., internet or other distractions to take up our time!

This cushion cover has the addition of lots of tiny beads in the black and white sections of the design.

This is a Tree of Life design cushion - this popular style of design is one that I always find attractive and I have several in my house - as embroidered pictures on the wall.,  as a fire screen and as cushion covers and yet each one is different!

Another needlework skill is that of the quilter. I have bought a number of quilts recently.

This is a very typical Durham quilt. Called a "Strippy" as it is made up of contrasting stripes of pink and white cotton. The quilting patterns follow the stripes and are the identifying feature of a Durham quilt.

This quilt combines patchwork and elaborate quilting designs.  The flower baskets are very striking and the colours are stunning....again think of the work involved - all that hand stitching of the patchwork pieces and then the quilting!

Finally, an antique patchwork quilt.

This one shows the use of several fabrics - maybe all the fabrics from the remnants of dressmaking for a family. Fabrics would not have been bought specially to make a quilt as they are today... they were the "left-overs" from the everyday dressmaking that women did in times gone by