Last week I was helping my parents with sorting and packing ready for moving as they have collected a large amount over the years. This includes everyday items, a vast book collection, my dad’s rock collection collected over 70+ years, useful items and might be useful items as well as photos and items passed down through the generations.
One drawer held treasures linked to my passion for textiles. Tucked away in this drawer was my mother’s collection of table linen, passed down by her mother. They include tablecloths, centre pieces, napkins and mats, both large and small. There are some matching sets and other individual pieces in linen and cotton, some sets, still unused are tacked together as they would have been when they were sold.
I think a lot of this linen is 1930s or earlier. Many of these beautiful pieces are very decorative with fine hand embroidery, cutwork and crochet, and some too elaborate or delicate for general day to day use. However, it’s sad to think that they have been languishing unseen for decades, except for the odd occasion when my mother has taken them out of the drawer to look at or show me.
We have just brought home with us an old oak kitchen table that was in my parent’s previous house. Once it’s had a fresh coat of polish it will be our dining table. As my mother has kindly passed on the table linen to me, one of the big square cutwork tablecloths will look fabulous on it.
Using and Repurposing
I can very much understand why my mother kept hold of these beautiful table linens for all these years. But now she has passed them to me, as much as I marvel at the handiwork involved, I will not use all of it on my table. So my brother’s partner has selected a few items which will work well in their Victorian house. I now want to find homes for the rest of this fine table linen, whether this will be to use as originally designed or to be repurposed.
If you have any suggestions as to how to repurpose I’d love to hear them.