Iris Tea Linens

Earl Grey tea and banana bread served in the potting shed

This set of  six linen napkins and placemats is so beautiful that using them, either to  pamper myself or entertain special friends, always makes me appreciative of the needleworker’s skill.  They were purchased from an estate sale and were estimated to be vintage 1940.

By virtue of my friend Suzanne Sawko’s definition  of “antique” as something that is older than she is, I declare these linens to be the real deal.  But using Suzanne’s standard has made it harder and harder for me to find genuine antiques!

The Madeira applique’ is so well executed that the iris almost appears to be painted in place.  The holes in the point de paris/pinstitch that secure the linen pieces to the foundation are so much smaller than those made by machine with a 100 or 120 wing needle!

I do love machine made pinstitch.  But studying these tiny stitches reminds me that while machine stitches may exactly duplicate the point de paris stitch sequence, the result differs greatly from the handstitched version.  Another noteworthy feature of these linens is the crisp, clean cutwork edges. Not a single whisker escapes!

napkin corner

The surface embroidery is beautifully raised and dimensional.  The orange iris stamens and the lily of the valley flowers are smooth as satin.  I especially like the French knots that give welcome texture to the irises.

placemat back

The backs are as neat and perfect as the front.

I’m looking forward to entertaining houseguests next month.  After teaching in Orlando, Terri Click will visit and a week later  Carole,  an old friend from high school, will come by.  Those occasions are special enough that we may have tea in the potting shed and use these pretty linens.

2 Responses to Iris Tea Linens

  1. I love your placemats. The applique is definitely so well done. There are 4 factors that makes me love the mats. 1. Lily of the Valley is my birth month flower, 2. Iris is the TN state flower 3. Love applique and 4. I am drawn to all things blue!

    I also enjoyed reading about your knee replacement rehab. I had one knee done 4 yrs ago and really need my right knee done, but trying to hold off as long as possible. I had home health nurses & therapy for 3 weeks. My doctor is very much against going to a facility unless you would be home alone. It took hubby several days to catch on to the fact that I needed his help for most of those days. I’m independent, but the recuperation was more than even I anticipated. (that’s why I’m not in a hurry to do it again!). Beckie

  2. Oh I can not wait to have tea in your potting shed, and I’ll try not to spill, but I think you might want to give me a paper napkin or an old rag… these are to pretty and special!!

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