Now what? Life in rural Ariege

Burblings about adjusting to life in the deep south west of France or "la France profonde" as they call it here and the challenges of restoring a ramshackle collection of tumbledown buildings. I mainly write about local festivals, events and celebrations and, most of all, the weekly ritual of combing vide greniers and brocantes for pre-loved vintage treasures.

8 April 2014

Pour les brodeuses, for those who love to embroider

I find many lovely examples of embroideries on my weekly hunt for stock for Histoires. From tiny cross stitched initials on old tea towels, to huge monograms on sheets, to jolly shelf trims and bold pillow covers. Some are simply marks of ownership, others celebrate marriages and family. Some are purely decorative, others are decorative but intended to conceal, what are to the French mind, ugly shelf edges and mantlepieces.

Fully worked embroidered panel with peacock design, probably intended to be a cushion cover 

Cross stitch intials embroidered onto linen damask serviettes

Large monogram initial from a hand loomed dowry sheet

Sheet with blue iris embroidery and monogram, circa 1950s.

They hark back to the days when generations of ladies would spend their evenings sewing and stitching. Before radio and television. Before the internet. I cannot look at a piece of old embroidery without thinking about the many hours it must have taken to make.

I had a very unusual find on Saturday. I acquired a number of unworked mid century embroidery patterns. They are all printed in soluble blue ink on natural linen. Simply embroider over the lines and then wash it to remove any ink showing.

This is shelf trim which has the original store label attached. It was sold by the meter and has a lovely pattern of birds perched on power lines, on branches and in flight. Ready to work in the colors of your choice

A really unusual large oval shaped pattern of Sainte Therese. This would probably have been framed once worked.

Sweet small pattern of 2 geese promenading with an umbrella or parasol. Lovely nursery decor

Yellow cotton printed with a pattern for a lingerie case. "Bonne Nuit" or good night. It has 3 folds so that it could be stitched up once embroidered to form the pouch to slip your lingerie and nightwear into.

A dresser scarf or table runner pattern with more birdies!

Another large oval shaped pattern "Sacre Coeur". Such an unusual religious theme again probably to be used as a cushion front or to be framed.

I know that there are still ladies (and men too) who love to embroider, who enjoy the hours of stitching. If this is you, why not consider one of these mid century patterns for your next project.

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