Natalie and Charlie lived in what had been the Lutheran Teacherage -- where the (unmarried) women teachers at the Lutheran school had boarded. The house originally had three rooms down and three rooms up, 16x16x16. There was a wide hall with a very steep staircase. The wall up the stairs was lined with framed redwork pillow shams.
I was smitten. I had discovered needlework (mostly needlepoint but also other embroidery). I loved antiques. I was earning a living and setting up housekeeping, defining my tastes and starting collections -- and redwork was among them.
Redwork has been extensively documented and described (here is just one example). Technically I purchased "outline embroidery" because they weren't all red floss-on-white. My collection remained modest because as much as I admired redwork it didn't fit my decor (and was not to my husband's taste). The redwork stayed in a box in the Deep Stash.
It occurred to me that redwork would be an ideal complement to the decor at Bonnie Hunter's
Quiltville Inn . I wrote to offer my collection to her and she said yes! I took pictures before I put the pieces in the shipping box -- but I didn't iron them because then I'd have had second and third thoughts.
These shams are unhemmed. I always thought the child's eyes (on the right) were scary.
Some of the pieces are beautifully finished. The fabric was fine percale.
Oops -- someone's floss was not colorfast.
Peacocks were a popular motif.
The German piece is embroidered on ribcord fabric. The top piece folds over, like a reverse pillow-tuck. The housecleaning scene makes me think that this was for a daybed off a kitchen, maybe. (The ribcord is too heavy to be a curtain.)
The pieces on the right are Swedish.
This is a 100+-year-old UFO.
And some pieces I'm keeping . . . for the time being, at any rate.
When I had a guest room these were over the twin beds.
I don't always remember when/where I buy specific pieces, but I do recall this: an antiques store in Naples, Maine, circa 1993. The fabric is a heavy-ish twill and it must've been hard to poke the needle through.
Ring out the old
Ring in the new
Ring out the false
Ring in the true
(In Memoriam by Tennyson)
.....certainly a good thought for the new year!