Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Linen Closet: Handkerchief for August 24, 2014

I cannot use the word "hanky" without automatically thinking "panky." Usually that idea stays in my head, but sometimes I have a leaky mouth valve. It doesn't help that I love work association games.

I purchased this accumulation of old and unused (underused?) handkerchiefs a few years ago thinking I would upcycle them via some brilliantly clever use that not even Martha & her minions have thought of. Never happened. And there they sat. And yet: I cannot part with them. They are too beautiful to simply donate, too delicate to use for much. Some years ago, when I lived in Kentucky, I did take to carrying a fine hanky with me to dab away the "glisten" on my brow (women in the South don't sweat, they glisten. Um, right.) Ultimately, I have no idea what to say about these beautiful, delicate, hand-wrought pieces. They are works of heart. And they make me smile. 

As I am congenitally curious, I want, nay - need to know more about the construction, the pattern, the materials. I need to understand the effort spent to create them. 

Now, this is a hanky. The workmanship is obviously skilled. I've done some tonal needlework and hardanger embroidery, but nothing ever this fine. The corner edges are not damaged; that scallop is intentional. 

Materials: cotton (I think; too soft to be linen)
Techniques: drawnwork/hardanger, tonal embroidery
Pattern: geometric and floral. Maybe Art Deco influence? The stitcher could not resist placing some delicate floral work in the corner. What a lovely offset to all the straight lines. 
Age: not known (guess early 20th century??)

I would really enjoy learning more about these. I haven't found much online. Any suggestions for resources? I'm going to keep posting these up, hoping they catch the eye of someone knowledgeable about old linens.

No comments:

Post a Comment