Cleaning closets and going through storage to organize the space and get rid of unused items isn’t my favourite thing, but occasionally I rediscover items that I had such good intentions of preserving and displaying. Today, I went through some plastic storage bins full of collections of quilts, stitched pot holders, tea towels, and crocheted afghans from both my grandmother and my husband’s grandmother. I rediscovered four tea towels which my grandma carefully stitched on old flour bags. She created a set of seven tea towels, carefully labeling them for each day of the week and stitching the names of the birds above the pictures.
The stitchery alone is absolutely gorgeous. Each bird is approximately 3-4 inches tall. The stitching on the “good side” is exquisite, but the stitching on the “hidden side” is just as careful–Grandma didn’t want the back side of the tea towels to be messy, she wanted them to look just as beautiful.
What is even more amazing about this set of tea towels is that my grandmother created all the images from pictures in her mind’s eye. My mom has told me how she would look at pictures of birds, talk a bit to herself about how to stitch it, spend hours carefully picking thread colours. Then she’d stitch. Amazing.
My grandmother (who passed away when I was in elementary school) wanted to stitch a set of tea towels for myself and for my twin sister. She stitched seven birds (one set), and seven fruit/flower towels (another set). My sister and I were so fascinated as adults by the stitching that we decided we wanted parts of each set. I ended up with four birds and three of the fruits from the sets.
My sister has already preserved her tea towels by framing them carefully. That’s what I plan to do with these and the fruit tea towels I have. They are beautiful pieces of art (I’d never use them to dry dishes!), and perfect reminders of a woman I did not know well but has left a legacy of crafting that I can only hope to match.
So if you have any storage closets that you haven’t cleaned out in a while, maybe you will find buried treasure! Who needs to buy expensive artwork when you may discover something with more meaning, deep within your storage bin.
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