Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nostalgia - and personal indulgence

I don't have anything quilty to report. I haven't had time to stitch since Sunday. When I finish this post I plan to go upstairs to pin another quilt on the machine - it will be so nice to touch fabric again! I'm in the middle of a marathon "listening" session while I quilt - I borrowed all the Harry Potter books on CD from my kids so I could "read" them all again before the next one comes out. Just a little over a month - I can hardly wait! Is Snape really a bad guy or a good guy? Will Harry survive? Those are the burning questions we all want answered!

In the meantime my "quilty" time has consisted of browsing the Internet at work during lunch. I've been intrigued by a
new blogger I found who collects vintage embroidery transfers. I've not thought of Vogart transfers for years and years. Memories came flooding back as I read the posts and perused the pictures. Memories of spending my small allowance of 25 cents a week on embroidery floss and transfers. I think floss was two or three skeins for 5 cents, and transfers were either 10 cents or 15 cents. My mother bought flour sacks at J.J. Newberry, cut them in half and hemmed them, getting two dish towels per flour sack. Then she stamped them for me, and I stitched the designs.

When my allowance increased and I started junior I started buying my own flour sacks. I loved to embroider - my mother started me stitching when I was five or six. I can remember many summer days when she'd say "Enough Patti Jo - put down that embroidery and go outside for some fresh air and exercise!" My reply was always the same - "I don't want to go outside - I don't need fresh air and exercise!" Didn't usually work, so I had to ride my bike for awhile before I could sneak back inside to go back to my stitching.

As years passed my birthday and Christmas gifts to mom expanded from one or two towels to an entire set. I laugh now when I think of that - because my sister and I did the dinner dishes and probably used the towels way more than she did. I loved the designs with days of the week the best - even though the towels were never used on the appropriate days! I stored my thread by clipping the skeins into good lengths and braiding them. I'd hook them around someones finger if one was available - otherwise I used my big toe for braiding the thread! I still have thread from my youth that I keep and use this way, though I started storing new thread differently when I became addicted to counted cross stitch.

Fast forward to last Monday. Floresita talked about buying vintage transfers on Ebay, so I took a look. What a wealth I found - including many of the very same transfers I'd stitched as a child. That's when I knew I had to have a few of them. The towels I made as a child turned to rags long ago - I never did make a set for my hope chest as I'd change my mind and give them to my mother for yet another gift. Now I will make them again - stitching to my memories of wonderful times. I will hang them in my kitchen to be pretty - not used - and will be reminded of happy times whenever I see them. I bought this set on Ebay on Monday evening, paying more than I probably should have but worth every penny for the memories. I won another set Tuesday - kittens in the kitchen - which should arrive soon. Just thinking about stitching these designs again fills me with happiness.

1. A glass of ice cold milk
2. Treasures brought by the mail carrier
3. The colors of my world
4. Another pound lost!


Susan said...

What a great post! I never thought of braiding the thread, I just twist it and wrap one end inside the other. We didn't use Vogart, we used the ones that came in yellow envelope wrappers, and here in Lemmon, you can still get those at the Ben Franklin! Including days of the week. =)

Carol said...

What wonderful, wonderful memories you brought back this morning. Thank you so much Patti. Another pound down...YIPPEE!

cher said...

oh, I loved those transfers too-Aunt Martha's are the ones I used when I was doing that way back....what a wonderful time that will be for you-embroidering again.

floresita said...

I absolutely loved reading this post! When I started buying these transfers it was always with a curiosity of "who was stitching these and what were they thinking while they worked on them..." I loved hearing your story about how special embroidery was to you!

By the way, in addition to collecting WAY too many transfers, I'm an admin for the Flickr Embroidery Group. We'd love to have you join and post any pictures of embroidery you do!!!

Libby said...

I started a new stitchery project just last night - I really felt the need to connect with what started it all and brought me to quilting. Gotta dangle that thread around my neck *s*

swooze said...

What sweet memories. Happy Stitching!

Finn said...

Hi Patti, what a sweet, sweet post...I can feel your joy and contentment drifting from my computer screen as I read. I'm delighted you got some transfers. I got back into embroidery a couple of years ago, but never thought to blog about it. It's so very, very satifying to sit in the quiet evening light and stitch. I've done some dish towels, and several of the sampler type charts in a stamped cross stitch. I don't do well with counted due to needing to see the shape in the little squares...LOL
I think it's just wonderful that you will stitch your wonderful memories into a set of towels for you. Why not add an apron also?? I look forward to seeing your progress..*VBS* Send hugs and love, Finn
P.S. So glad you will be playing with orphans as time allows..*VBS*

JoAnn said...

Did you know that you can still order lots of the old iron-on transfers from the same company that has been making them for years - and for about 1.50 a packet instead of the higher prices they are charging on ebay?
I have quite a collection myself, some I've gotten at yard sales - some I've ordered from the company. (Linda Ferguson gave me your blog site when I was looking for interesting quilt blogs)
Thanks for the fun blog - Jo

KCQuilter said...

Welcome to another addiction, right? Or, in your case, welcome back!!! I have been so into hand embroidery lately too and have been making little squares to include in doll quilts. Such fun!!!

Vicky said...

Aunt Martha's was my brand also, although I never did towels. However, my mother probably had enough embroidered pillowcases to use a different one every day of the year!

At the quilt show in Jan. I purchased a set to embroidery kitchen towels. I need to transfer the design to the towel, and I'm not sure how to do that. LOL

happy Zombie said...

I love your Vogart bee score! I've been addicted to Aunt Martha's since I was a little kid. I can remember taking the bus downtown to Woolworth's to get my fix with my baby sitting money.

Must check out eBay... thanks for the tip Patti!

Holly said...

Patti, I had a set of those Bee dishtowels and now only have a few of them left as they become threadbare after years of use. I love embroidered dish towels. I've had many different sets over the years, even used them as cloth diapers in a pinch! I have a pattern now of chickens for each day of the week. Hmmmm... maybe I should dig that out and play along with you. What a great post!