I wrote about Vanessa Arbuthnott's success as a designer of modern furnishing fabrics, only a few Blogs back, saying that she was a friend and regular visitor to our T4T textile fairs, so it was particularly good to see her furniture covered in the pretty blonde and rustic linens on the front cover and several pages of Country Life (March 21). I always knew she would get to the top and here she is with her lovely gentle look! I show a modern 4 fold screen covered in her oakleaf design with two of my own antique French chairs covered in traditional French 'bouquet' chintzes. All have been re-covered by my super master upholsterer and are for sale, from £250 each for screen and upright chair, £450 for cosy armchair. contact email@example.com
I AM HAVING COMPUTER ISSUES, SO DO PLEASE EXCUSE A BLOGGAP, there was a serious glitch at the telephone exchange so I had no internet connection and now my computer has gone into a sulk a You would think that the engineers could somehow contact us bloggers with news of impending works and blockages. I cannot access my Blog site - I have a queue of Blogs waiting to see the light of day but have to be patient till the man who knows everything comes to my aid. Sorry ! Elizabeth. --- P.S. feeling better now so hope the spring fever is abated and things are up and running once more. I have just read that a quilting lady is having the same sort of trouble - bad case of bloggitis.
THIS IS MY NET LOAD OF SIMPLE THINGS MADE FROM ONE OF THOSE FLEMISH LINEN MATTRESS BAGS I WAS SELLING BY THE DOZEN LAST SUMMER- MOSTLY TO PEOPLE WHO WERE GOING TO INVENT AND SEW SOMETHING SPECIAL! THIS IS THE LOT I GOT OUT OF ONE DAMAGED ONE WHICH WAS LEFT OVER AND I MADE AS MANY THINGS AS I COULD THAT COULD BE USEFUL, SALEABLE AND GIVEABLE, PRETTY WELL ALL ARE SQUARES SO THERE WAS ONLY A TINY BUNDLE OF STUFF LEFT OVER.
Above are three different aprons built to last, large chef's apron, large waist apron, and one gardening apron with pockets for gardenalia, all strong and washable, sewn with fawn terrylene thread, natural linen tape, cream cotton tape, little remnants of dark contrast linen for pockets, dressmakers pins and scissors, one Lervia portable sewing machine which goes with me on holiday! It gives the security machine a bit of a hiccup going through the airport check out but always gets through o.k. but I have to remember to put my cutting -out scissors in my hold luggage or they would withdraw it immediately! I take a few extra sewing machine needles (denim jeans type) as the linen is very closely woven and was quite a test when doubled up for a big needle and strong coarse thread.
I still have to cover some wardrobe coat hangers with the last narrow strips!
Small articles above include shopping bag, travel cushion, pair fringed table mats, four needle cases with flannel leaves, one hottie cover (quilted), bundle of leftovers, pair of elbow patches for my husband's cashmere jersey. Other possible items could be picnic cutlery bags, small pockets for holiday beads and bling, and larger folding sachets for shirts and underwear which are just wonderful if you travel with many one night stops, - everything stays neat and clean and you don't need to unpack much and nothing gets left behind! Go back to Blog SO LITTLE TIME to see the original linen sleeping bag liner, which looks sack-like and very dreary.
An old friend and co-founder of Talent for Textiles, Olivia Dell is running two series of workshops - the Creative Sewing Group (Monday mornings) and Starter Needlework (Tuesday evenings) Olivia herself is a very accomplished worker in many sewing and embroidery disciplines and has worked on many prestigious projects so she will provide a helpful back-up for your own ideas and you will also enjoy her good company while learning new skills. I am sure her classes will fill up rapidly so do apply now. Tel. 01453 873 653 firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a fair well worth visiting if you are interested in, or collect, ethnic textiles from all over the world. Some of the exhibitors are the top dealers in their fields and travel widely to collect their special items. You can learn a lot and handle very interesting examples. Polly Lyster and her family will welcome you .The village is high on on the wolds above Stroud in a delightful village hall. Excellent home-made food too. E.B.
Looking through one of the glossy magazines of this month, I am rather amazed at the prices quoted for old French sheets; the first pair of sheets I ever bought were priced at 20 Francs each ( approx £2). I bought them at that bargain price from a young lady with a shop near the Loire at Gien. Her boyfriend had told her she would make much more money selling pancakesand told her to sell all the cheap brocante she had in her shop. So I bought a lot and she then said I must buy her sheets. I resisted and said I was not interested in being a 'linen lady'. She insisted I bought them 'at a price you cannot resist' and I carried them home thinking they would make good dust sheets. Later that summer my daughter's bedroon was lacking curtains to go with her new wallpaper, so I hung up the two sheets as temporary curtains. She, and all her friends, thought them so up-market (pure linen! and so cool), that I suddenly realised they were perfect for the minimalist look and every next trip to France I loaded all I could find. Then the film wardrobe people found my stores and bought every one for dressing Romans, Greeks, pirates, serfs and Elizabethan nobles as the weave was identical with the cloths that were used in ancient times. Three years ago I had over 800 in store and now I have about 30 and soon they will all be gone. I was lucky to be in at the beginning of the demand (and supply) of old rustic textiles and I am sad that it is now nearly finished -
Already, two of my readers agree that newly laundered linen sheets are a real delight and one says she starches the turnover - (good idea, mine gets very crumpled during the week). One hotel we stay in,in the Var, France, changes the linen every day and I do find that a great luxury, although almost all hotels in France now have a notice in the bathroom that, to save water, they ask you to put used towels on the floor and the rest are not automatically sent to the laundry. I once read that the Duchess of Windsor who lived in France in great style, had all her linen specially made and embroidered by Portault, the famous linen purveyors in Paris (still active) and she directed four footmen (one to each corner) to carry her sheets from the laundry to her bed each day, so that there were no creases or folds to spoil them! Some luxury!
Just to say that a local book-worm has informed me by snail mail that there is a good bargain going at Amazon if you dream of owning that wonderful book about linen called THE BOOK OF FINE LINEN by Francoise de Bonneville -Flammarion Press. It must be a re-issue because I know many found it was out of print a few years ago - and if you collect, buy, use French linen, it is a wonderful reference book as well as a very good read. She is a journalist and writes well with lots of details and wonderful pictures of almost anything you might find at antique fairs and brocantes in France and you might also identify things you have or have inherited - there is so much to learn! They had 10 new copies at about 1/2 the original price.
Virginia Woolf, in Orlando, says that human happiness is lying on fine sheets and listening to pigeons.
A very fine linen sheet with filet lace insertion
and decorated with a princess' crown (centre)
Would you agree? I have to say that here in Bradford on Avon, we have to listen to the squalls of seagulls seeking perches and nesting sites amongst our old tiled rooves - and doing a lot of damage when they pull the moss out to find food - and not the way we like to wake up at all. Bar a pop gun, there is not much to be done with these pests! but I do agree that sliding into a bed with newly laundered fine linen sheets, faintly smelling of lavender, is a real pleasure and many of my clients write to me about these pleasant and relaxing sensations. I have a client in Australia who says that in the great heat, her bed becomes very sticky and the linen is so much the best as it wicks away all the humidity - another in South Africa uses rough hemp sheets to drape over all her sofas and easy chairs for the same reason and it is a great economy compared to having loose covers dry cleaned. For babies, old people and invalids who all spend a long time in bed, linen and hemp are medically proved to be much the best and healthiest - I sound like a patent medicine advert. but I think I am telling the truth, no hocus pocus!