Cleaning Vintage Linens

Why would anyone take pictures of their soiled vintage linens soaking in water? I think I do it because I’m so amazed at how disgusting the water looks!  I get asked all the time how I clean the little treasures that follow me home from antique shops, thrift stores, etc.

Disclaimer: what you are about to read is how I do it….. Your results may vary.

*** Look your item over thoroughly! If there is ANY black and/or dark grey embroidery floss do not use this cleaning method! Stick with just Biz or OxyClean and be careful!

Step 1:  Read through each of the 6 steps before you begin!

Step 2:  Ingredients-Biz Powder, Cascade Dishwashing Powder. DO NOT USE THE CASCADE THAT CONTAINS BLEACH! -and- 1/2 to 1 gallon of WARM water. Biz Powder can be difficult to find. I have successfully substituted OxyClean Powder and had good results. Update 6/2017: Don’t be fooled by thinking Biz and Oxyclean are the same thing marketed under different names. Biz is an enzyme product and as such is much better suited to cleaning vintage linens. You can find more specific information here. Speaking of substitutions, the other day Kroger had their house brand of dishwashing powder on a ridiculously low sale so I picked up a box. It worked great so I might just start listing any brand without bleach…

Step 3:  In a plastic bin/container/glass bowl first add the 2 powders followed by the water. Stir gently to dissolve the powder. I find the powders never dissolve completely so just stir until you’re comfortable that you’ve got things mixed up.

Step 4:  Begin layering your items on top of the sudsy water. If necessary gently fold them to fit the container you’ve chosen. I usually add as many items as I can to the container, just make sure the top layer can be fully submerged. Throughout the soaking process I gently-and I do mean gently-push down on the soaking items with a long handled wooden spoon just to move the water around a bit.  If you find your items floating to the top you can always keep them submerged by placing a non-metallic dinner plate, bowl, saucer, etc. on top of them.

Step 5:  How long to soak? This is something only you can determine. It’s rare that I soak things for longer than 24 hours. If I am nervous about an item I’ll shorten the soaking time to not more than 3-4 hours.

Step 6:  Rinse and rinse and rinse like there’s no tomorrow! When you think you’re finished, rinse once more in a container of cool water with 1/2-1 cup of white vinegar in the water. The vinegar will cut any soap that the fibers might be holding on to. Very important step! Note: when dry, your linens might retain the aroma of the vinegar for a day or two but it will dissipate.

What’s next? Either put your pieces in the dryer or lay them out flat to dry.

Ok, here are the pictures, like I said, the water is gross!


Happy soaking! You and your nose and your neighbors’ nose will be very glad you took the time!

Rhonda

International Quilt Festival 2016 Houston!

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What a night! I won a ribbon, 3rd Place in the Embellished Category! The presentation was done by a very nice really really tall guy…. I’ll find out his name later… This category has Madeira  as its sponsor, thank you to this generous company! Update: this remarkably tall man is Mr. Steven Jeffery, Madeira Thread, Fenton, Mo.  Madeira

As a side note, check out the orientation of my piece on the big screen…yep, they presented it sideways. Sideways on the web site list of winners also. I got an email from IQA yesterday saying the finally fixed the picture, I’ll check it out later.

It has been such a pleasure standing with this piece and talking with everyone, such kind words from everyone. I plan to dedicate a separate post about this quilt and its step by step creation later this week.

I have 3 pieces hanging at Festival this year, here are the other 2:

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This is My Garden, an adaption of a pattern titled My Primitive Garden by Lisa Bongean, owner of and designer at Primitive Gatherings This piece is wool on cotton hand appliqué. I gathered cotton background fabrics and collectively dyed them all together in the same vat in order to create continuity of color. I shopped resale stores for 100% wool garments, felted the wool and hand dyed each to get just the right color for each piece. The entire project is hand appliquéd and hand embroidered. I quilted this piece on my Innova longarm. This quilt is on display in the Traditional Appliqué Category.

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And finally, this piece is titled Wedgewood. This is now in a private collection but the owner graciously allowed it to be hung in the Cindy Needham special Exhibit titled: For the Love of Linens. What a spectacular Special Exhibit! This piece is a late 1940’s-early 50’s vintage silk-screened tablecloth measuring approx. 51×61″. Several in attendance at Festival have made me aware that this would properly be called a Bridge Cloth. It’s nice to learn something new every day! This was quilted on my Innova longarm, Glide #10000 white thread. For more information about Cindy and her amazing talent go to: Cindy Needham

It’s been a wonderful Festival, I arrive home exhausted every evening but ready to go the next morning! Today I’m slotting an hour or two for shopping, who knows what will follow me home 🙂

Happy stitching!

Rhonda

Hexagons!

My current hexagon project (CQJP2016) the uses the Fons & Porter 4″ finished acrylic template. Here’s the first block I created start to finish. I love progression pictures and am hoping you do too!

I always begin the block with one layer of white machine embroidery cut-away stabilizer. My preference is the medium 2.5 weight. Sometimes the manufacturers/packagers do not list the weight on the packaging, makes me CRAZY!!! If they want me to buy it they should tell me exactly what I’m buying!

The next layer is 100% bleached muslin. I consider these 2 layers to now be my base upon which I begin to build and/or layer the pieces that will become my block. I usually mark a 1/4″ line around the perimeter of the block using a Frixion Pen by Pilot. It s a good guide for placement and seam allowances.

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The early stages require lots of trial and error placements. In the picture below I’ve committed to the placement of the various vintage pieces and have begun to embellish with beads, ribbon flowers, leaf ribbon trim and a few laces.

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Here are a few close-ups so you can see the details. I use mostly sizes 11 and 15 beads.

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I placed lavender silk ribbon behind the pieces of Battenburg lace:

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And finished!

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That’s a wrap for Hexagon #1, hope you enjoyed the journey!

Happy Stitching,

Rhonda

24×24 part 2

I decided that If I was going to hand bead/embellish this project that I would need some sort of hooping or framing method. I had a needlework frame but the long rods weren’t long enough. Problem solved by a quick trip to ABC Stitchery in Spring, TX. The frame ends up about 28″ in length, a little cumbersome but manageable.

I’m beading with Nymo thread, both soft white and ivory. Even on these bright colors you really have to look for the thread to know its there.

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The beading is much more difficult than I expected in that even with a slender bead needle it’s still sometimes difficult to stitch through all the thread work. I like the look so I’ll persevere.

Finally, look what my awesome daughter the Graphic Designer created for me! Business Cards!  She’s the best! A big shout out to Moo.com! They printed and shipped with alarming speed!image

Happy stitching and thanks for following,

Rhonda

24×24

I’m working on a 24″x24″ wall hanging, the original purchased pattern by Carol Morrissey titled “July” measures 42″sq. but after a quick trip to FedEx to reduce things I headed home and began cutting out flower heads. The fabrics on the left in the plastic packaging are the ones contained in the kit, the fabrics on the right are ones I chose from my stash to compliment the kit. Just ignore the blue ones, they’re from a totally different project. I bought the kit (pattern, background and flower fabrics) from The Quilted Skein in historic downtown La Grange, TX. Such a lovely quilt/yarn shop! Stop in if you’re ever in the area!

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After I decided on my fabrics my first step was to do a test sunflower. I shaded a bit with colored pencils, liked the look and charged full steam ahead.image

I used an iron on product called Heat ‘n Bond Lite, double batted with Hobbs 80/20 white and backed with 100% cotton from my stash. Here’s a collage of the arrangement:

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Once all the flowers and leaves were ironed in place I loaded the project on my longarm (Innova) and began the quilting. I changed threads throughout the entire process, always matching color top and bobbin. I chose the threads from my machine embroidery thread collection as I wanted the sheen of the rayon and poly plus I had a much wider choice of colors. This thread work was an excellent way to give the flowers dimension, continuing where the colored pencil shading left off.

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You’ll see I quilted only the flowers and leaves, nothing on the background fabric. When the embellishing is complete I’ll decide whether or not the piece needs to be loaded back on the longarm for additional quilting. After all the quilting/thread work was finished I began to add beading embellishments.

More pictures to follow soon…

Happy Stitching!

Rhonda

It’s Monday!

 

It’s Monday! A whole week ahead of me to work on embellishing my 4 1/2″ hexagons. I’ve finished 15, have 3 yet to be embellished and need to create 2 more. I’ve got lots of pictures to share, hope you enjoy them!

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I’ve created this project board to hold the hexagons, both finished and those in progress. It’s rimmed with beautiful vintage crocheted trim, a nice way of frame the vintage embroidery, laces and trims on the hexies.

Below are progression pictures of a hexagon block, start (upper right) to finish, left.

Happy stitching,

Rhonda