Sunday, January 24, 2010

The history of these sheets.


My girlfriend gave me this pile of sheets, tablecloths and pillow cases today. They used to belong to her boyfriend's grandparents before he died and she was moved into a nursing home.

To date all the sheets, doilies and tablecloths I have sewn with, have been gifts, op shop or garage sale finds.

I can't work out how I feel about cutting into and sewing with these linens that have a history that I know about.

I have met the old owners and visited their home. I know some of their stories and parts of their history. I cried when I heard he had died.

These are not random bits of fabric but precious pieces of someone's family history.

I think they probably just need to spend a bit of time with the other linens in my stash to become fabric again. Fabric with beautiful colours and patterns but fabric that doesn't feel like I am cutting into history when I cut into it.

Do you think I am being overly sentimental?

If second hand is your thing then head on over to Her Library Adventures to check out what treasures other bloggers have been discovering.

And have a wonderful week!

34 comments:

  1. Lovely, lovely linen. I think you're allowed to feel sentimental about it if you know where it comes from. But it shouldn't stop you using it because I'm sure your friend gave it to you because she knows that you'll use it. Maybe just dream about what these things could become and make them into something special that your girls will adore - twirly skirts or dresses, or an apron for your little cooker and maybe tell them the story of the sheets (girls love a good story). That blue and brown sheet on the top is lovely!!

    (And yay about the finding of the wool!)

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  2. It's a funny feeling isn't it? Like the smell of a grandparents house or some well known, well worn carpet. Like the apron that my mum always wore or the fruit knife my grandfather used. The things we use seem to become seeped in history, memory. I'm sure the previous owners of the linen would love to think it could be getting a new life as something beautiful, something special, made by you xo

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  3. Lovely fabrics, and I love that they have a special history too.

    Most of my stash comes from my husband's granmothers. I know just how you feel. . . but when I'm sewing with these fabrics, I remember these lovely ladies. It's a nice way to keep the memory alive.

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  4. How privileged you are. I guess if you use them it will be for projects that have special meanings to you. Anyone who live through the great depression is happy to see good products used unto death and that would also include reusing. Cherrie

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  5. What beautiful pieces of fabric, with so many stories to tell. I think each piece has its own destiny and eventually each will have a new story to tell, whatever shape that may take. But that's just my theory on treasures like this. Thanks so much for playing along with such beautiful things.
    Sophie x

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  6. I think it is far better to use the linens in a meaningful way, rather than cluttering up the linen press, or just adding to an unused stash. Think of the pleasure of wearing the dress, or snuggling up with the quilt made from those memories.

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  7. I think like you - all old things have a story and a past. Use them well and they will be good to you. What a wonderful gift! Nic xx

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  8. I can understand how you must feel about these fabrics and their memories, keeping them and making them your own sounds like a way to get ready for using at a later time. And when you use them I'm sure you will smile with happy memories of who they use to belong to.:)

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  9. They were meant to find their way to you, as you'll appreciate them & they would love to know they are being put to good use & still being used, albeit, refashioned. Ace finds, yoru friends know you well. Love Posie

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  10. It's okay to feel that way..as you said..let them rest a while in your stash...you will eventually feel okay about using them...and I am sure you will create something lovely with them.
    PS book has been sent !

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  11. I think the 'old owners' would be thrilled to see the gorgeous things you will create from their old linen.
    Enjoy!!

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  12. It's definitely more difficult when you know the story behind the sheets, but I always think that I'm giving them a completely new lease of life as something useful and beautiful, rather than having them languishing in a cupboard or ending up in landfill.

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  13. how wonderful you have been given them. I know the feeling you have, I have experienced it too, but the linens I have put away for these same reasons just sit in a cupboard unappreciated. The ones I have been brave enough to cut into have been given new life that can be shared in the everyday, I think that is special..their story continues

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  14. You'll know what to do with them when the time comes....xx

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  15. No, it's good to be sentimental, but I agree with all the others. The time will come to use them and you'll feel good about it then,
    Lizzie
    XXX

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  16. Your friend must trust that you'll make something wonderful from them when the time is right. It's great to work with fabrics like these because they are imbued with so much history which only grows once they're transformed into something new.

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  17. No I love your reverence for these fabrics Kate. They have such a long history. But you know what? They have landed with you for just that reason - you will love them even if you do cut into them. Imagine where they could have ended up?

    The beach blanket from Handmade Home is a lovely idea that uses up great big chunks of fabric (= less cutting?). But otherwise yes, leave them in the stash to admire and stroke from time to time. They are very lovely indeed. x

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  18. Definitely NOT being too sentimental, just caring and respectful I think. I too would let them sit for a while and become 'fabric' again before using them, but then think how happy the previous owners would be if their lovely linens become new treasures to be loved anew.

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  19. I can't think of anything more fitting than a Mum lovingly cutting into these pieces of history to make a wearable gift for her little one :)

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  20. I don't think you're being too sentimental at all. I would be the same.
    I think some time with the other linens is a good idea, I'm sure there are stories to share amoung the other sheets.
    But I think also too when the time comes that you would also be honouring them in the best way possible to make them into one of your beautiful creations. xoxo

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  21. Are you being sentimental or grieving because people you know are ageing and having to move on and their parting with treasured belongings is just part of that. You just sound caring and respectful to me ... I'm glad some of their treasures are going to such a great home.

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  22. I know exactly what you mean, I have experienced that too with a beautiful lace nightdress that my mother in law gave me that belonged to a special lady who passed away. I ended up using the lace but I did have to battle with my emotions whilst I did it. I think it's important to accept how you feel about things like that, it makes you human, who couldn't be affected by owning linens with such history?

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  23. What a lucky person you are to be the recipient of wonderful gifts. Your friend must have known you would give her grandparents linen a new lease of life in whatever you choose to make from them. Maybe you could even make your friend a little gift out of one of them so she could always have a special memory of them too.

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  24. No I'm really beginning to think it's very normal . I recently posted about a sheet I picked up at Vinnies and it took me a year to cut it !

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  25. Not overly sentimental at all. I think sentimental pieces are the best kind to work with.

    “These are not random bits of fabric but precious pieces of someone's family history.”

    …all the more reason to create something new and beautiful with them :-)

    It continues their history. I’m sure the linen (and their previous owners) would be very happy to see you create something from them.

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  26. It all looks lovely. You are not being overly sentimental, I think it's a good idea to let it sit for a while with the other fabrics. When it is ready to be used a project will call and it will be the perfect way to bring these back to life in memory of the previous owners. xo m.

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  27. It's good to be sentimental but I'm sure you'll find something beautiful to do with them and that will be better than them sitting at the bottom of the cupboard until moths eat them. I have a bad habit of saving seed that I have bought and then it's not viable anymore!

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  28. They are gorgeous, I don't think that you are being overly sentimental, I don't like to cut them up unless they are damaged or very worn.

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  29. I don't think there is such thing as 'overly sentimental'. You'll work out what to do with them... when the project and the time is right.

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  30. Being sentimental can be painful but it makes you a nice person. Just think, the old person who owned these lovely linens would probably say, "What - those old things. Use them for goodness sake, otherwise they'll become a burden." I can just hear my Nana saying that. You could make something really nice from them and do your elderly friend proud.

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  31. This is a great story. And I felt sentimental reading it, so you have even more right to feel so. I definitely agree with what the others have said, the projects you will make with this fabric will be special too, carrying a story of their own and of the beautiful life of people you know.
    Maybe you can do a nice surprise for the old lady or their grandson...

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  32. I am at "the other end" of my life,I cannot say how much joy it would give me to see a lovely thing, as you make, out of my old sheets.
    I really would hate them to have a place in a cupboard if there was such a beautiful alternative.
    I made a babies quilt about 30 years ago and about 10 years ago, I met someone for the first time...she said "I know you, my children all used the quilt between Deb's children"
    Nothing more fantastic that things keep going on.....I also believe there is a bit of "spirit" in your friends cloth...how wonderful to give it away, after all you have it because she was your friend.
    Janette

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  33. Wow! What an amazing gift. They are beautiful and with a lovely personal history too. I'm sure you will find something wonderful to make with them...you sure have a lot of skill in that department!
    I too adore old linen...one of my first op-shop stops! I have a slightly hilarious stripey sheet & check blanket addiction. I just collect and wash and fold and store, waiting for the perfect opportunity to put them to fabulous re-use! Whilst cleaning out my partner's Mother's linen cupboard, I came across an amazing old paisley quilt...he had forgotten all about it...it is now on our bed...and I love it to bits.
    http://franklyfeisty.blogspot.com/2009/06/so-today-i-played-with-some-of-things-i.html

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  34. no not overly sentimental at all. you've bought me to tears with how thoughtful, considerate and loving you are. with a bit of time they will be able to be used to create something special for someone else special in your life. they are such beautiful fabrics and will go on to create more memories : )

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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