Friday, June 24, 2011

Antique Linen Workshop

 I'm so fortunate to be a member of a vibrant, active guild with some of the most wonderful people you'd ever want to meet as fellow members.  There are SO MANY benefits associated with membership in the Westside Quilters Guild. (We meet on the 3rd Mon evening of the month- see link for info) One thing I love is the many workshops and classes.  I try to participate in most of the workshops.  No matter what the topic or teacher, I ALWAYS learn something.  And the icing on the cake is that I always come away from the day with a new friend, or having become better acquainted with an old friend.  Our guild program chair works hard to make sure we have a wide variety of programs for guild speakers as well as for workshops.

Recently, we had an antique linens workshop with Sue Moore.  Sue was the speaker at a guild meeting and was so well received that she was asked to do a workshop.  She takes a pile of antique linens (kitchen towels, hankies, pillowcases, lacework, etc.) and creates wall hangings, throws, and fill size quilts with them.  How special to take those linens from a hidden box or drawer and showcase them to be enjoyed.

 Aside from the obvious benefits of showcasing the pretty pieces, it was an "aha moment" when she showed us how to cut pieces from stained or torn old pieces that might otherwise be tossed.  It seems that Sue can take just about any old linen and find a spot in it that can be used to make a treasured heirloom.  Sue works with her mom as a team.  Sue dreams up the designs and her mom spends hours at the machine turning them into reality.  They joke about arguing over the process, but I think it's fantastic for a mother and daughter to work together and create like this.  They make me smile.  :-)

So, in a nutshell (there's a lot more to this), you start with a pile of old linens.

Sue and her mom have published several patterns.  Most people think you can just stick things together.  While that is true (sort of), Sue has taken a lot of the pain out of doing that.  It's harder than you think to place the linens together and not have them look like a pile of doo-doo stuck together with no rhyme or reason.  The bulk of the workshop is teaching us what to put together and what fabric to use for sashing, etc.  You don't want the fabric to overwhelm- just enhance- the antique pieces.  I joked about using batiks and she didn't laugh.  (my bad)

Sue has several templates/ grids to work with.  The black outlines here are on paper.  She then places plastic over the paper.  We took one student's linens and worked together as Sue talked us through placement and all the considerations that come into play.  She has an art background and we talked about color balance, shapes, etc.

When we finished with a layout, Sue un-pinned the plastic and gave it to the owner of those linens- then she put up another piece of plastic.  Such fun!

Here is one my friend, Julie put together.  She has some old gloves she wants to add.  Isn't this precious?  Note the spot on the right, just above the pink glove.  It's a piece of fabric with 2 hankies in the corners.  Note how the hankie design is pointed IN and just a little off center.  This is a great way to showcase the hankies and is an example of one of the tips Sue taught us.

I didn't end up with a finished piece.  Most of my linens are hankies.  I am planning a quilt at some point, and I'm really glad I took this workshop to learn how to get started.


free indeed said...

Sounds like a great class! Seems we all have some of those old handwork pieces laying around hidden in boxes and drawers. Great idea to get them showcased.

calicokat said...

I would love if you could provide contact info for Sue Olsen. I would like to suggest her for a workshop at our guild as well. Thank you!! ~kat

Needled Mom said...

How fun and what fabulous results are obtained from those old linens!

Sonia said...

That sounds like a very good class. Can't wait to see what you create with your hankies and such. :)

have a great weekend!

Hands Sew Full said...

This looks great. I have a stash of old hankies that could use a project also. Thanks.

Judith said...

I would like to get in touch with Sue, as I have several tablecloths that my mom had embroidered. I would love to make them into a small quilt.

Sue said...

Judith- I have her contact information but I have no way to contact you! Please send me a private email and I'll connect you with her.