April 4, 2009

Week of Freebies: Kitchen Linens Book giveaway!

green-line pillowcase
frouffy free pattern from me to you - print and enjoy!

As you all probably know, I'm a huge fan of vintage embroidery transfers - if you haven't seen my vintage transfer blog, go check it out - there's tons of freebies I've scanned for you over the years.

So, ahem, I recently received a copy of The Kitchen Linens Book from author EllynAnne Geisel, and rather than just keep it all for myself (which I was very tempted to do) I thought I'd share it with one lucky Feeling Stitchy reader to top off this week of freebies!


There are so many levels to enjoy this book on: if you love vintage transfers, vintage linens, cooking, recipes, stories and nostalgia, this book scores on every point. I really enjoyed the tone of the book and EllynAnne's humor and friendliness.

Also, I'm loving how our fascination with all things vintage is helping us return to a "greener" way of life: instead of buying 3,000 rolls of boring paper towels, embroidering, buying, and using real dish towels helps us embrace a less "disposable" lifestyle. This book celebrates that, and the idea of treasuring vintage linens by using them.


Also, included in the back of the book is a sheet of vintage iron-on transfers! They feature dancing pots, plates, saucers, and cutlery. You know it took all the force of my will to part with them - but just leave a comment on this post, and if I draw your name at random this Monday morning - you win! I'll also include a new blank towel to embroider on, and 5 bright floss colors to get you started!


Do you have any stories or memories associated with vintage linens? A favorite old tea towel, hankie, or tablecloth? It can be weird, bizarre, or silly, we dig all of that here. Or, just tell us what your favorite transfer motifs are (I'm all about the animated dishware, particularly the kind that wears shoes and hats.) Chime in before Monday morning, and this book could be yours!

87 comments:

  1. I don't really remember having or using vintage tea towels! Maybe the ones I am making now will be vintage to my grandchildren someday!! I love embroidering my son's drawings (super heros) and items with a coffee or cafe theme!

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  2. so far i am addicted to curly designs rather than actual objects. i haven't worked with towels or linens, i have just been developing my skills with plain quilters cloth, with plans of framing the results for my office. i am hoping to begin working with towels soon, though!

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  3. I have never owned vintage tea towels bit would love to. I do have some vintage pot holders that I have used for nearly 10 years and let's just say it is time to retire those guys they have served me well and led a long and happy life. As for the vintage designs I like I absolutely adore dancing fruits and veggies and kitchen appliances.

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  4. I get all sorts of excited when I am at a thrift shop/antique store/flea market and find a towel with any sort of anthropomorphic fruit or vegetable on it. I love all the old transfers of the vegetables dancing together. Sigh.

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  5. My mother used to spend hours making them when i was a girl. And they were so pretty. I can even remember her ironing them. The other thing I always wondered how they got in the laundry basket when we couldn't use them. hahaha And now my husband does the stitching and I crochet the bottoms. And we never use them either. I guess something i learned from my mother. LOL

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  6. I grew up with embroidered tablecloths, towels and pillowcases. I use them still today. When I was a little girl I would imagine the dish people would talk to me while I ate breakfast and sometimes they would come and visit my paper dolls. This comes from having a best friend who lived in the mirror.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

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  7. I have memories of growing up using beautiful hand embroidered doileys for my dressing table, everything in the linen cupboard was something Nan had embroidered and a few pieces mum made while she was in high school. I now have all these and use them all the time, and so do my daughters. My sister is very minimalist so she didn't want any which was great for me! They all are still in perfect condition. The difference now being of course, I love them and appreciate them whereas as a teenager they were something I got out of the cupboard to use and just assumed everyone had the same kind of thing. I know I couldn't replicate the ultra fine detail and neatness so I don't try, my stitcheries are totally different. In the kitchen, I always loved the tomato that was walking, it is a vivid memory!!

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  8. I think the fact that I *don't* have any kind of vintage linens, or have inherited anything like them is why I find myself so interested in creating these things now. And, by the by, I just bought some embroidery things for the first time since I was maybe ten? And did those pre-printed cross stitch towels at a summer camp. And I can honestly say it's because of your enthusiasm and I've been following you for a bit in my reader feeds. :D Thanks for rekindling my interest in stitching!

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  9. i love vintage embroidered linens. specially the ones that have been passed on to me from my grandmother. i do use them sometimes and every time i do i think of her. i also love the animated dishware and vegetables. i have some pretty silly ones here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/claudiamarchan/sets/72157606082053187/

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  10. I have a lot of vintage tea towels that I have rescued over the years. They are like popcorn! I love them so much that I make them for my kids. This book looks like something I NEED, lol! Thank you, Elaine
    I could provide a loving home for it!

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  11. Every time I visit an antique/thrift store, i always check out the linens and dish towels first. It's amazing what you can find! I love anything kitchy and colorful. :) I have a really hard time using them (theyre so pretty!), but maybe I should start. They were made for a purpose after all.

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  12. My only comment is that I've loved linens for a long time - tablecloths, tea towels, etc and up on further investigation, there is the http://www.vintagetableclothsclub.com/ - it's a great site and a wonderful resource!

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  13. I love that you are talking about this. I got behind in my linen laundry & had to use paper towels for about a day till I caught up & I hated every minute of it!
    As for memories, I remember this embroidered table runner my grandmother used to have, done in variegated orange yarn, back when orange was not popular at all. It's now one of my cherished objects in my home.

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  14. I love vintage. I'm very lucky to have needlework of one sort another all the way back to my maternal great-great grandmother. My goal is to produce enough handwork myself that some will survive for my descendants.

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  15. My grandmother has a vintage-in-progress linen table cloth. There are names embroidered all over it for all the members of the family. Any time someone gets married or has a new baby the name is added by that person with a pencil so as to reflect their handwriting, and then Grammy embroiders over the pencil marks. Its wonderful to sit at the table after a big holiday dinner and look at all the names... remembering adding them one by one over years.

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  16. After years of turning up my nose at "tacky" souvenir tea towels, I have this morning asked my Mum to look through her linen cupboard for those memories of holidays past. I love thinking about who went on those trips and what adventures they had on the way. I have been inspired by seeing patterns for aprons, skirts and bagholders that use these old treasures. I also love the hand embroidered type that my Grandma used to make for her glory box and my Mum has still got some of those unfinished items that hopefully she will give to me. I think that Grandma's teatowels and other linen were more the embroidered flower variety so I would really love some transfers in the spirit of this book to make some with dancing pots for something new and different. I don't know how you can bear to part with this book, so thanks for the opportunity to win it.

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  17. Oh, I'd love to be entered in this drawing!

    No vintage tea towels or the like in my family; however, there are a few not-yet-quilted scrappy quilt tops that my great grandmother hand-pieced. I had them for a number of years, then gave them back to my mom and she's since turned one into a crib-size quilt and I'm not sure about the other. I want to ask my aunt, my dad's sister, if she has any aprons from their mom -- I would love to have at least one, for memory's sake. None of my grandmas embroidered or did needlework, so that's a tradition I'm starting my own self.

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  18. I have a long standing love affair with vintage linen. I own pieces embroidered by my mother, her mother and my great grandmother. my mother recently gave me a vintage tea towel taht she had found in a cupboard and had embroidered for my new kitchen where it takes pride of place. I love to repurpose vintage pieces into childrens and babies clothing.Its a lve affair that shows no sign of fading

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  19. I'm all about the cute, and especially anthropomorphic cute. Smiling toasters, forks and spoons just make me smile.

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  20. I never had the opportunity to get to know her, but my mother's mother was an incredible seamstress, and she embroidered many sheets, pillowcases, linen runners and tea towels while my mother was growing up. My own mother has many of these, and I have brought them to my own home, and I love to use them, both literally and for inspiration! One of my favorites is a tablecloth that my mom's fellow Girl Scouts wrote their names on, and then my grandma went over and embroidered them on--with satin stitch! And there are quite a few names!

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  21. I was named after my great grandma's nickname, and whenever I see vintage kitchen linens, especially the animated fruit ones, I think of her. In fact the memories are so strong that I smell corn tortillas warmed up on her comal and mole.

    Thanks for bring back the sweet memories!

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  22. I grew up with lots of vintage embroidered linens, tea towels, table cloths, pillowcases, etc. My favorites were these small table cloths that someone had made and were a perfect fit for my child sized table. They were all embroidered with days of the weeks patterns (fruit) and had stitching all around the edges of the table cloth. I wish I still had those.

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  23. I would LOVE to enter your give away. I have loved and been so inspired by your blog, for some time now. But have lurked and not left you a comment to tell you how much I appreciate the sweet patterns you share :) Most of my Tea towels are family ones, so I love the memories associated with the people that made them the most. I do collect and make runners though, and like to imagine the artist behind the countless hours of work. Embroidery was a way for my Great Grandmother and I too share our time together. Being from Italy, her English was never that great, even after 50 years in this country, yet we would sit and embroider together and she taught me all of the stitches, while she told me stories of her birth land. :) I cherish those memories. I guess my favorites are anything with sweet faces. Be they dishware, animals or Nursery rhyme patterns. :) Thank you for offering such a great giveaway !! :)

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  24. For my wedding shower 25 years ago I was given a days-of-the-week set of embroidered tea towels. I used those towels for years and was sad when they finally wore out. It was that set of tea towels that inspired me to learn to embroider.

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  25. I have used some vintage linens, but only a few, I really hate wearing them out. I've been buying the vintage looking dishtowels and embroidering some, that way I don't feel bad about actually using them. The book looks great, thanks for offering it for a giveaway!

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  26. When my Grandma moved to a retirement home, we found a large bunch of handkerchiefs hand embroidered by her mother sitting in a plastic bag in her sewing room. My Mom took them home where they sat in a plastic bag in her basement for a few years before I finally convinced her to give them to me. I put the best ones on pillows so all Grandma's kids and grandkids could have one. Not sure my uncles cared, but they got one anyway.

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  27. I love vintage owl transfer patterns and got some off ebay a few weeks ago...hooray!

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  28. Ooo - I had to add this book to my amazon.com wishlist so I can buy it if I don't win it!
    I'm lucky enough to own most of my grandmother's embroidered table cloths and all of her handmade aprons. As for a favorite, her rooster tablecloth brings back wonderful memories.

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  29. oh, i have one right now that is a pansy that is painted on the dishtowel. the dishtowel is almost in rag condition. thin, a little bit of holey...but just can't cut up that pansy!

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  30. I don't really remember using vintage tea towels.However since I started embroidery a couple of years ago I have become fascinated with vintage transfers particularly the mail order companies like alice brooks.

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  31. I love the vintage tea towels with the dates of the week on them. My grandmother gave me some when I got married and I have them draped over a curtain rod (forming a valance) above my kitchen sink.

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  32. My great grandma used to use embroidered tea towels and I have several of hers in my hope chest. I also received my own set (embroidered with country bumpkins) as a wedding gift 3 years ago. Rather than let them sit in a box I've been using them and they are, by far, my favorite towels. I'll definitely keep the family tradition alive and make a set for my kids some day.

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  33. Love vintage linens and your blog. I have a big collection, and especially love this little group of brightly-colored antique linens that will become...something...they are a certain blue and yellow and are so gorgeous together.

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  34. My grandmother loved these towels, and I still have some of hers that must be at least 80 years old. I also have some that my mother made about 40 years ago, and a collection of linens I've made through my life. I love them! i like how you can so easily customize the towels for the recipient, and can be so incredibly creative! :) I'm making a set for my Dad right now with space shuttle and planet themes.

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  35. I'm still a newb embroiderer and always get pretty excited over many designs from vintage transfers.

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  36. My mom never had anything vintage. I developed a love for vintage embroidered napkins after learning how to embroider. I study those things to see how each stitch was done and what the backs look like :) Its addicting

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  37. I have a stack of DOW dish towels from my Great Grandmother's house. They are angel doing the daily chores. I remember tying one around my waist as an apron whenever I helped in the kitchen. Flour sack dish towels bring back lots of good memories!

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  38. I love the animated fruit. I really regret not collecting all of the old transfers that had to be taken down. There were great ones with oranges I absolutely loved.

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  39. I like the animated dishware and fruits and veggies, too! I just like all things vintage!

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  40. What a great idea. A giveaway. The book looks wonderful.

    I have a few old talbecloths that belonged to my Grandma and Great-Grandma.

    I also have a one of my Grandma's aprons.

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  41. I remember in the 1980s (I was very small then) all my grown up cousins were going to Spain on holiday and they always seemed to bring back something embroidered for my mum. Tea towels, napkins etc with flamenco dancers on them. They were so incredibly kitsch, I really wish I still had them but unfortunately my mum had a spring clean a few years ago and got rid of them all :(

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  42. What a wonderful give-away! My favourite vintage linen bit is a hankie that my great-grandmother embroidered when she was a young woman. I've never met my great-grandmother as she died when my mother was young, but I treasure that hankie as it's a "piece" of her.

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  43. Anything to do with the kitchen is my favorite. Or ones that involve cats dressed up in people clothes!

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  44. I have many vintage tea towels from my Grandmother but need to use them more. I am just starting to teach my daughter hand embroidery using the cute puppies design from your blog. I love all the coffee tea related designs! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  45. My Grandma made stitched all cotton dishtowels all the time... I still have a few of her "sets" and one set for each of my boys when they get their own homes. She passed away 3 years ago... and I inherited her embroidery basket with a zillion embroidery threads all mixed together! And I've been stitching! I love it! Although I did have to organize all the thread!

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  46. I just finished up some skirts for myself out of vintage fabrics. My husband saw the fabric and just said bedsheets, but I saw something beautiful in them. I hope he agrees when he sees them completed and on me.

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  47. we had a lot of vintage embroidered linens in my house growing up, my great-grandmother had been quite prolific when it came to embroidery. there were a few tea towels, but we were never allowed to actually use them, my grandmother thought there were too valuable. although we did use the pillowcases, and table runners all the time.

    when i moved out my grandmother gave me one of my favorite table runners (it had large pink and purple flowers 'cross stitched'' in the middle and a purple crochet edging) and when i got married, she game me one of the little hankies with a delicate crochet edging.

    when i picked up thread crochet and embroidery grandma was thrilled, so she was one of the first people to receive an embroidered tea towel (with strict instructions that she was supposed to used it!) and a hankie with a delicate edging.

    as for my favorite motifs... cats, hands down, i collect almost every vintage cat pattern i can find, one day i plan on having several DOW towel sets with nothing but cats.

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  48. I have a really great vintage embroidered tea towel that I found at a Goodwill about 15 years ago. I love it because it made me think that I could embroider. The thing is really poorly done, but in a chunky abstract way. It's a lovely little kittycat wearing an apron. So cute!

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  49. Hi! I love the "day of the week" transfers. I am addicted to them and even made a set to be my kitchen valance. Love them!!!

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  50. I've just started using home-made hand embroidery linens for my child who will be entering montessori school in September. I just love the vintage patterns! Thanks

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  51. I have a few hankies I picked up at a church sale. There were a few with lovely embroidery work on them. Whenever I use them I wonder who used them before me and if they loved them as much as I do or if they were just hankies to them.

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  52. I have no recollection of anything hand-embroidered in any of my family member's houses growing up, which I defaintly want to change for my daughter's childhood!

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  53. Every time I see any kind of vintage embroidered linens--and especially kitchen linens--I am instantly transported to my childhood....I love them

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  54. My grandmother had a dresser full of embroidered vintage linens when I was little. I don't think she was the one who actually did them, she was a farm wife and they were not practical enough for her. But I distinctly remember being devastated when my aunt got married and took all of them. I cried, but no one could figure out why a little ten-year-old girl would want them!

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  55. My mom's generation was the one that got away from embroidering, but she had a stash of things my grandmother had made in the linen closet. I always looking at them.

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  56. I was raised by my grandparents and my Nana used to have some lovely embroidered things like tablecloths, tee towels, hankies etc and I have always lobed them, they can be really pretty and elegant or fun and kitsch.
    There is something so special about embroidery and I am looking forward to really improving my skills with it.

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  57. My Nanny saved all of her beautiful hankys and teatowels and stored them inside a beautiful tin box. As a child I would look through her tin full and enjoyed touching and looking at the beautiful patterns. When she passed on at the age of 92 I inherited all of the hankys which I still enjoy "touching and looking at the patterns!"

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  58. Vintage transfers remind me of my grandma. She is the one who taught me to sew. She always made the new grandbabies a new embroidered quilt. I have her old sewing basket and the last baby blocks she was working on. Her kitchen was red and white and I am drawn to that look. I can't seem to pass up an embroidered piece. I love the days of the week towels. I can't bring myself to use them but I can't pass them up.
    Peggy

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  59. I have some vintage flour sack towels that my grandmother made. My favorites are the fruits/vegetables!

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  60. I am evil. I cut them up and use them in crazy quilting. But they get more love that way!

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  61. I was blessed to inherit all the embroidered pillow cases, tea towels, and doilies my grandmother made. Fun to decorate with and now be inspired to embroider some for others! It all works with my vintage-ish tastes.

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  62. I love animals and flowers. My grandma alway used a ton of "tee-towels". I am in the process of making enough embroideryt owels to get rid of my ugly regular kitchen towels. Thanks for the chance to win!!!

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  63. My Mother has passed away and sadly I don't have any of the linens that she embroidered and there were many! But I do have a flower of the month framed embroidery that she did and it is beautiful. I love to walk into the room where it is hanging, it always warms my heart that she took so much time to make it.

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  64. i used to stitch these transfers a lot. all the women in my family, grandmother and great aunts were great needlers, in all the senses of the world.

    My favorites are the pin up girls. It's just a thing. I scored the transfers on ETSY this week. Very excited. I also like the colonial girls and anything else that catches my fancy. I'm easy...which probably explains the pin up girls some!

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  65. I love vintage embroidered linens. My favorite are probably the pillowcases that my grandmother embroidered. But I love using old hankies and napkins in everyday life.

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  66. My great grandmother seemed to embroider everything. We have embroidered tea-towels, hankerchiefs, embroidered sheets, pillowcases - and at least one embroidered washcloth.

    I always love coming home and sleeping under the embroidered sheets with little yellow pansies on them. It helps me feel connected to a woman I never met, especially since she, my grandmother, and I have so much in common.

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  67. We used embroidered floursack dish towels when I was a kid. I have some hand embroidered napkins from an antique store that I'm thinking about using in handmade baby clothes.

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  68. I found a couple transfers in my Grandma's things. I'd like to make some as gifts. I really like the daily patterns especially the little girl style ones.

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  69. I'm so glad I found your site, from Ellen. Not only for the nice giveaway but for transfers too, thanks! Please enter me, I"d love to have this book.

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  70. I remember growing up and my gram would use her cloth calendars as tea towels. When she passed I got her collection. I still use some of them. But the older years are put away. My mom now loves stitchin'. She has done a crib blanket for my 4yo son. Pillows for friends/family.

    I love treasure hunting and have found many treasures of transfers, tea towels, aprons, and many other vintage items.

    I found a lovely framed stitched item for my dear hubby "grow old along with me the best is yet to be" And I have posted most of my goodies on my blog.

    Jo Lynn
    http://www.angelbottomsboutique.blogspot.com

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  71. I love the animated dishware myself. Or anything with birds. But animated dishware rocks!

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  72. My mama had (and I think still has) these lovely hand-embroidered pillowcases she brought with her from Mexico: cornflower blue flowers on a scalloped edge. I always wanted them on my bed, but natch, she wasn't about to trust 'em to a 7-year old!

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  73. I didn't know that this book existed! My grandmother made soooo many tea towels waaaaaay back in the day by inserting her cross-stitched panels in between two sections of the towel. Fabulous!

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  74. My husband's grandma gave us a beautiful linen tea towel when we got married. It's white-on-white embroidery, which is my favorite, with white buttons. I've never been able to bring myself to use it, for fear of ruining it! I also have some homemade flour-sack towels with embroidered and appliqued prairie-girls on them that my great-grandma made. I love 'em.

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  75. my granny used to host card parties and made table cloths and matching cloth napkins for card tables. each had its own theme. my favorite had little dancing cards in the corners, similar to the characters from Alice in Wonderland.

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  76. I have vintage tea towels made into curtains in my kitchen, hanging on hooks, lining shleves and some in the sewing room waiting to be transformed into something new.
    I would love to have a copy of this book. Some of my linens are in it. :)

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  77. Tea towels are so fun to stitch on. I've found some at walmart that I love to stitch on. Please include me in your book drawing! thanks!
    robin pich
    klpich@aol.com

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  78. I have mad love for vintage kitchen linens! Tea towels are my favorite! I'm slightly obsessed and have purchased vintage and embroidered a fair share of them. And yes, I use mine! My favorite motifs are anthros veggies and dishware!

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  79. My great-grandmother used to always use linen hankies with beautiful embroidery on them. I would get into her hankie drawer and hold them and finger the embroidery. I used to wonder why she would blow her nose in something so pretty.
    When she passed away, she left me the hankies. I now carry one with me all the time.

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  80. When I was a tiny girlie of four or five (fifty or so years ago:), my grandma taught me to embroider by drawing circles around a glass top and giving me needle and thread to decorate her dish towels (most likely washed feed sacks; she was a frugal farm wife).

    I still come back to the surface embroidery when I want to be soothed with my fiber work. Satisfies the little girl in me, I guess. :)

    When my husband and I got married in the mid-70's, his grandmother gave us three embroidered dish towels she had made which I still love. No cutlery on them -- they have dancing vegetables on them. (grin)

    :) Linda

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  81. I love any vintage linens. I have embroidered pillowcases my grandmother made me when I got married (now over 30+ years old.) I love anything vintage that contain baskets of flowers and birds.
    Thanks for the "give away"...I'm hopeful!

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  82. Some of my favorite inheritances from my grandmother are embroidered linens. She and her mother and sister all embroidered, and I have pillowcases and dishtowels and tablecloths. They kept them wrapped in tissue and hidden in closets, so they'd probably be horrified that I actually use them. And I've purchased more on ebay. It's an addiction, what can I say?

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  83. I am a big fan of vintage linens! My mom and grandma made many. I think it's time for me to start!! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  84. Since I just moved into my first apartment after living abroad for a while, I recently inherited about a dozen of my great-grandma's vintage (40s and 50s) tablecloths along with the amazing formica and stainless steel kitchen table that they once covered. The collection is amazing and so varied, but my favorites are a red, jade, and black "fiesta stripe" pattern and a hilarious Colonial Americana pattern that reminds me of high school history class! I love using them, and they remind me of my very saucy and classy Nana whenever I see them.

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  85. I have seen & used a few vintage bedspreads from my grandma's collections, with floral designs. I havent got much of a collection of vintage linens, but have newly discovered fascination for vintage transfers, specially for animated fruits, veggies.
    Thanks for such a lovely give-away. Please do count me in.
    -Shrenika(India)

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  86. I hope I'm not too late!

    After moving a couple of weeks ago, I found some really cute vintage Vogart pre printed pillow forms while unpacking. I forgot I bought them at a Church rummage sale about 4 years ago.

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  87. I'm starting to really enjoy embroidery; it's such a nice, low-key, slow-paced activity.

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