Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vintage hankies inspire me

A friend who used to attend the quilt group we helped to organize at Shaler Library gave me some vintage handkerchiefs from her collection. She was in the process of making a quilt as you go method handkerchief quilt when she moved away.  She had the sweetest story about her collection of hankies -- she and a close friend had exchanged hankies for birthdays and Christmases for many many years.  
In the box that she gave me, were about 5-6 hankies that had initials, and 4 that had the name "Betty" embroidered and/or appliqued on them.  This friend's name wasn't Betty so I'm not sure of the origin or these particular ones.
Of the two with the initial "M," i used one to make a little decorative pillow for a friend who is ill.  I thought of it as just a little pillow, but a friend told me it would be called a "boudoir" pillow - sounds kind of charming, doesn't it? Or many kind of racy? 

I used two that had an "R" monogram to make my sister-in-law a hankie scarf.  I'd never made one and didn't find any tutorials on line - nor many on Pinterest.  But Maria Wulf, a woman who write a blog that I read makes them, and I felt inspired by hers. I say inspired because I had trepidation about the various differences in fabrics, sizes and styles of hankies.  From looking at hers, it looks as though she just goes for a "boho" look -- and I decided to not stress over those differences. The hankies are vintage, and fragile to some extent, and perfection in meeting corners or exacting sizes almost seemed insulting to this pretty little pieces of happiness and sadness - oh the history those hankies must have!  Held in women's hands, absorbing tears of joy and mourning (or simply drying the drips from a bad cold!) - each one as different as the women who owned them.
I liked having this scarf draped over a hanger on my bedroom door for a couple days - and decided that if my sister-in-law doesn't want to wear it - it would make a sweet decoration to hang on a wall or door.  
I had to futz with it a bit to get it to hang in a way that both "R"s show - but I did try it around my own neck as well as on the hanger - and it does work, with just a little tucking and pulling.

I plan to use the 4 that have the name Betty to make a throw quilt for my college roommate - guess what her name is?

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