Embroidered pieces as art

The idea of using embroidery as art in your home isn’t new. But, what if that pieces you have weren’t meant to be hung on the wall?

I have a small collection of things bought and inherited that are either meant to be used as tablecloths, handkerchiefs, or runners on a dresser or vanity. I don’t use my table as a place to dine (and would never risk adding more stains to the stitched tablecloths I have) and I never could figure out how to use the runners in a way that worked with my decor and the things I keep on my dresser, so everything has been hiding in my closet.

Vintage stitched pieces

As part of my recent obsession with re-arranging and prettifying my apartment, I decided to pull all my pieces out and actually do something with them. How could I not?

Vintage embroidered pieces

I haven’t tackled re-arranging my living room yet (I’ve been “working on it” for about a month), but one of the things I want to do is take down my quilt wall, which I only use as a vertical junk drawer for sewing and stitching. Instead, I’m trying to figure out a better way to spread out my art and make some room for a wall of stitched inspirations, including some of the pieces pictured here. Other pieces will find other uses. For example, I’ve been thinking about using the cross stitched table cloth (bottom left corner of the top photo) as the top of a quilt for ages. I think it would be lovely as an extra quilt in my bedroom, so long as I replaced the pillows I recently made with something a little less bold. And, there’s a white baby pillow case with white embroidery that would work as a decorative pillow on my bed (though, it’s small, so I may dismantle it, add a border, and make a larger pillow).

But, of course, first I need to figure out what I’m doing with my living room and buy the blue Hemnes dresser that I have decided to be in love with and that will store all my fabrics and threads (right now, everything is in clear bins and it looks messy … I really hate it, actually). I’m really hoping to at least get my living room sorted enough to start playing with furniture placement this weekend because I’d really love to start hanging some of these pieces.

Side note: I used to have a lot more stuff from grandma and nana (mostly handkerchiefs, not all of them hand embroidered). Before I moved out west for school, I had to make a lot of difficult decisions about what I was or was not going to keep. At the time, I didn’t stitch, nor was I terribly interested in starting. I was also a poor student with barely enough money to get myself back to Alberta, much less boxes of things that I would then have to find space for and worry about moving every time I had to move (almost once a year for about a decade!). So, I kept the better pieces that I knew were hand made (though not who made them, unfortunately) or that I was particularly fond of and left the rest. A little part of me wishes that I’d kept more of them, but seeing as I didn’t even know who made the pieces I’d kept and that no one else seemed to care about them at all, I’m ok with the fact that I let them go. Sometimes even handmade treasures can be a burden and need to be given away to make room for new things (new adventures, new opportunities, or new handmade treasures).

Vintage embroidered piece - blue flowers

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