Yesterday we went to the local village summer show near where my parents live. It was a bit of an institution during our childhood and I still love to go. It's like a summer fete but with entertainment, along the lines of "Scruffs" dog competition, with rosettes for things like "fastest sit" and "best dog fancy dress". Brilliant stuff. We ate ice creams and wandered around, bumping into people I'd not seen for years. I bought five plants (foxgloves and antirrhinums) from the plant stall for a fiver but sadly the local produce stall was almost empty by the time I'd got there, otherwise I'd have snapped up some rhubarb, The tea tent was doing a roaring trade and the cream teas looked excellent, but I was still eating my Mr Whippy at that point. Honestly, it was just a lovely afternoon, even the weather was nice.
I also spotted the most beautiful hand embroidered tablecloth on one of the bric-a-brac stalls, and bought it for £1. Yes, £1! It's a little stained in places, and too small for our dining table, but I couldn't just leave it there. I've got an idea in my head for re-purposing it so I've just treated some of the stains and given it a wash.
It's hard to photograph, but this gives you an idea of the pattern and colours.
I was instantly drawn to the simplicity of the flower motif and the lovely colours.
Each corner is worked in a slightly different colourway.
And the quality of the stitching is just incredible. The back of the work is so neat. You can see the back below, on the left and the front on the right. It's hard to see the difference between the two.
When I showed this to my mum, she dug out two tablecloths she'd had in a cupboard for some time which are never used, and offered them to me. The first, below, was started by my Great-Grandmother and finished by my Grandma.
Isn't it lovely? I'm not sure what the flowers are supposed to be but they feel like they should be from an English country garden.
And again, the back of the work is just flawless.
The second was made by Auntie Win (short for Winifred), who I believe was my Great-Grandmother's sister, making her my Great, Great Aunt, I think?
The purples and lilacs would never be my first choice in colours, but with the white background and green it's a beautiful combination.
Added to the scraps of embroidered linen I already have at home, below, I have a little collection going on now.
I've had a few ideas simmering away in the back of my mind for a while now around patchwork quilts, but haven't actually started anything yet. But yesterday's bargain has started a plan: I am going to turn my stash of vintage embroidered tablecloths into a patchwork quilt. Yes, I'm going to cut them up. That might horrify some people, but I don't see the point of having something beautiful tucked away in a cupboard because it's too impractical for everyday use, when it could be turned into something that could be enjoyed and looked at every day. I was inspired by this beautiful curtain and for a moment did consider making a pair for our bedroom, but practicality won and I'll keep the pair we have which help to keep the room lovely and dark and cool. The quilt pieces will be square and quite large, to capture as much of the pattern as possible and it will be white, light and summery. Very pretty, very soft - not really the sort of thing I usually go for at all - but hopefully not too granny-chic. Not that there's anything wrong with granny-chic, but I have to remember that John also lives in this house and that perhaps he isn't quite as wild about vintage embroidery as I am. So if you have any ideas, suggestions or advice I'd love to hear them, thank you.
I hope you're all enjoying your weekends? Thank you so much for your recent comments on my bag and the sweet peas. I know you are all so busy and I really do appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and say hello. The sweet peas are still going strong. I might pick a bunch now to put on the table for dinner later as my parents are coming over for a barbecue. We're having marinated herby chicken breasts, potato wedges, halloumi, stuffed peppers and lots of salad, with Eton mess for dessert. My mum is bringing prosecco. It's all good.