Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I was ready to start my peacock embroidery when I read a call for submissions for the Mad Tea Towel Party.

I've had this tea towel stashed for years, and the call inspired me to clear my work table and design a new piece. My mom, who has an excellent eye for the supplies and ephemera that I love best, but who doesn't sew or craft herself, gave me this Irish linen towel. The roses inspired me at first to do another Madonna, but after looking for images on the web, I chose instead an image of St. Therese of Lisieux, who you can read about here, here, and here.

I transfered the image to a vintage hankie, which will be attached to the top of the tea towel.

I'm really happy at the way the image is overlapped by some of the flowers.

Because linen wrinkles so badly, I'm going to embroider the towel and some of the hankie separately, and then join them together.
Of course there will be embroidery and embellishments. St. Therese's mother was a lace maker, so there will also be lace.
Using a household item like a towel and a personal object like a hankie for St. Therese's icon is consistent with her view that there is grace in the simple and the everyday. I am also happy that the roses in both objects are objects associated with her designation as "the little flower."

Here is a quote from her writings that seems to fit this composition especially well:
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."


sophie said...

This project seems to be coming together beautifully. I loved reading your thoughts on it.

Vicki W said...

This is going to look great! I love the image printed on a hankie. I have to remember that one!

Debra said...

Oh Dear! This is going to be another wonderful piece with your hand in the mix! What a great towel-I would have trouble doing anything to it but you are much braver than I am with recycled items. Do keep us posted as you stitch.

Allison Ann Aller said...

Work on this is going to be a blessing, start to finish.
And printing on the hankie...that was just a brilliant idea.

JoWynn Johns said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely, in every aspect. What great ideas!

Rian said...

I hate to be redundant, but Lovely really is the best word.

The transparent effect of the flowers on the hankie is especially--shall I say it? Lovely.

Judy S. said...

Your towel is wonderfully creative, Barbara! Was it difficult to print on the hankie? Could you perhaps share how you did that? I can't wait to see your stitching on this. Thanks for sharing your process!

Magpie Sue said...

One good choice after another. This is going to be fabulous.

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

I just found your site, and I must tell you that you inspire me.
This is so beautiful and when it is complete it will be twice as beautiful.
I love the quote. If you like roses I just did a few posts on them on my site.
I love roses. And I take a lot of pictures of flowers and nature.
xoxo Nita

Deb H said...

Beautiful. Maybe someday they'll refer to you as St. Barbara of the Quilting & Embroidery :D