Category Archives: vintage linens

Stitching, thread and pine needles…

Came across this lovely linen, hand towel, circa 1940s/1950s, hand-embroidered to be a keepsake from Norfolk Island. (The picture frame is circa 1920s that I already had and happened to be a lucky fit!)

As some may know from my books, collecting hand-sewn, vintage linens began for me with pieces I inherited from my Australian and Italian grandmothers. Continuing to collect such pieces crept up on me and took hold after I found myself sorting through a trestle table of vintage linens at a market stall in L’Aquila.

Good sellers of vintage linens will always have them in neat, clean condition, usually ironed and often starched too. I love to wonder about who may have taken the time and effort to have made that item many decades before. Perhaps this one was sewn by someone snug inside on a windy, wintry day on Norfolk Island!

{Linen is from Geordie Lane, Maleny.}

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from Italia to Australia…

glory-box-calabriaAnother piece from my Italian great-grandmother’s glory box… {Bisnonna Francesca (Cesca in my books)}. This hand-embroidered pillow sham from 1920s Calabria travelled in the hull of a ship across the world to a new life in Australia and remained tucked away for many decades… a keepsake of another place and life that might have been.

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with needle and thread…

Another piece from the chest of drawers containing linens sewn by my grandmothers…  since it was last a picture of my Italian great-grandmother’s initialled linen pillow cover (or pillow sham) from 1920s Calabria, it seemed fitting this time to take out this doily with embroidery hand-stitched by my Australian grandmother, circa 1950s in Brisbane – mezza italiana/mezza australiana….
I currently have it on top of a duchess, as in furniture (now there’s a term that possibly makes me sound Iike I’m about a hundred years old!)

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From the glory box of my bisnonna…

Francesca Carrozza initials

The initials of my great-grandmother, bisnonna Francesca Carrozza, hand-stitched onto this linen pillow cover in 1920s Calabria for her glory box that was to end up in 1930s Australia. I didn’t fully appreciate these linens when I was young but they have since become precious to me.

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