Miss Gioia

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Family Treasures

In all of the excitement of last week, I forgot to post pictures of the wonderful embroidery piece that I discovered over the holiday. I spent lots of time during my travels digging through both my mom's and my mother-in-law's attics. This beauty was hiding amongst boxes and books in Chris' family's house. After consultation with his Oma, we discovered that it was made by Chris' father's step-Grandmother when he was born in Holland in the 40s.

As you can see, this is a sort of a Dutch "Punch and Judy" scene, full of children and activity. I looked up "Jan Klaasen en Katrijn" on google, but only found references to some sort of pupper theater on several Dutch websites. Today, I wish I understood Dutch. Alas.

The piece is quite large - maybe two by three feet - and is cotton embroidery thread worked in a needlepoint stitch on a fabric normally used for cross stitch. It was a bit stained with age, and was stretched in a (not very flattering) frame with carboard backing. We rescued it from the frame and took it home with us for the baby's nursery.

I was quite worried about cleaning it, but Chris' Oma reassured me that she had handwashed it many times before. So I plunged ahead, and most of the brown age spots came out. Now it is drying on our dining room table and getting ready to be hung over the crib - bright enough to add color and interest, but soft enough to not damage baby G's head should she yank it down enthusiastically.

Three generations. My. Isn't it wonderful?


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Silk Ribbon Embroidery

Remember this knitted pinafore from a while ago? I finally got around to finishing the embroidery on the dark stripe today.

Now this dress will have to be handwashed, but it is a small price to pay because the embroidery makes it really special.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Little Smocked Dresses

I have a real soft spot for smocked dresses on little girls. Perhaps it comes from growing up in the Southern United States, where nice clothing is expected every now and then. Or maybe it is because I spent six weeks in Ecuador one college summer observing women working in a smocking factory. Either way, the delicate embroidery on children's clothes makes me feel that all is right with the world.

I can smock, but I have not had much time lately. The last project I did was the flower girl dresses for my brother's wedding. That was in 2005, and my plans to get out the pleater since then have not yet worked out. So when I saw these incredible smocked dresses for sale in Vietnam, I snatched up eight of them. Yes, eight. But they were very reasonable! The cheapest dresses were US$7.50 and the most expensive (made of a fine cotton batiste) was $30.
Who could have resisted?

I also picked up some appliqued t-shirts for US$6 each. Isn't this one wonderful?

So now Miss G has pretty little dresses waiting in her closet. We'll have to go back, though, so that we can restock once she outgrows these. No, I am not kidding.

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Monday, April 23, 2007


I am over a year late to the party. Every one else has been on the Stitchettes bandwagon for some time. Truth be told, I was a little wary. The very thought of embroidery brought horrific flashbacks of all of the *shudder* cross stitch that I did as a teenager.

But I have visions of a crib quilt for Miss G with these girls featured in several embroidered blocks. Something like these. So, fears aside, I stitched one up. And she is indeed cute.

Ms. Lang's Stitchette patterns are available here.