Monogrammed Napkins “rCr”

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.Peg Bracken

Those same basic ingredients of time and love are stitched into gifts from those of us who love to sew. This gift set of 12 monogrammed linen napkins were embroidered with both time and love for my daughter.

Rebecca loves to entertain, especially if the occasion warrants use of china from her grandmother and sterling silver from her godmother. She was delighted to be hosting the family Christmas day festivities and began planning and decorating just after Thanksgiving. I knew these napkins would give the finishing touch to her holiday table.

The napkins themselves are “blanks,” ready for embroidery.   I have to mention that the scalloped edges are really very rough.  I’ve never been fond of cutwork because there are always eyelashes poking out from the button hole stitched edges. 

The edges on these napkins are machine scalloped with a zig zag stitch.   So they are more raggedy than some other techniques.  When I purchased them, I had a momentary lapse of judgement.  But the linen is good quality, the napkins do the job and still look very nice.

The letters are from the alphabet in Martha Pullen’s 2003 Internet Embroidery Club. There are multiple color stops in the design for the flowers and greenery, but for these napkins I prefer a monotone monogram.  This is the second time I’ve used it for napkins and it has become a favorite. I love the way the letters stitch out.  I love the inclusion of both upper and lower case letters.   And I love the coordinating motifs.

The use of the lower case for the first names of both husband and wife is a contemporary twist on the traditional monogram format, but I like it. However, for the finished monogram to look balanced to my eye, the letters must be of similar size, so rCr were pleasing to me.

Rebecca’s husband goes by his middle name, Harvey, but “rCh” didn’t suit me. As my 4 and 5 year old grandchildren learned in preschool, some letters go “in the basement,” like g, j, p, q, etc., some stay “on the floor,” such as a,c,e,s and others go “in the attic,” like b,d,f,h, etc. For my eye, the lower case letters on either side of the capital surname initial should be uniform, i.e. both on the same level of the imaginary house.  So by using his proper first name, Richard, I was able to monogram rCr and achieve the balance I prefer.

I am very fond of monograms and have learned a few things about my preferences in selecting fonts. When using more than one letter, I like an upright font, rather than those with a slant, as so many are. I also like letters that are easily read. Many fonts look great when looking at ABC, but J, L, S, T and some other letters can be very hard to identify.

Of course, for linens that get passed down to the next generation, that might be a great advantage! Aunt Laura’s napkins can often be used for niece Tessa and in some cases, even for Jessica.

I’m going way off topic now, so move on if you are not interested in another story about passing treasures down to the next generation.

Rebecca’s silver has an interesting history.  It was given to her by her well-chosen and much loved godmother, Aunt Karen, who was a doting neighbor rather than a relative.  Since Rebecca’s infancy, this dear friend of mine has been attentive and nurturing without fail.

The sterling silver service for 12 with a lavish variety of serving pieces, was presented in lovely mahogany chest, all  from Tiffany’s.  This had been a wedding gift to Karen’s mother in 1926  from her in-laws and is monogrammed with her bridal initials.

Upon her engagement,  young “Grandma Berls,” as my children called her, was dispatched to Tiffany’s by her future in-laws in order to select her silver pattern. This she did post haste.  When the silver was delivered to the newlyweds’ home , the bride was dismayed to discover that this was not the pattern she had chosen!

When this apparent error was  reported to her new in-laws they responded that there was no mistake at all.  They didn’t like the pattern she had chosen and had instead selected this one, which they preferred.

She accepted the gift with good grace, but she rarely ever used the silver.  Her daughter fell heir to the service and chose to pass it on to Rebecca, who shared a mutual affection for Grandma Berls.

Isn’t that a great story?  Rebecca certainly thinks so and loves using Grandma Berls’ wedding gift.  She loved Grandma Berls.  She loves her godmother Aunt Karen. And she loves the silver pattern.

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