Friday, July 10, 2009

Old Stitches, New Ideas

When Kay goes to her lakefront cabin in MN every summer, I miss her (a lot), but she's always good to send me long, rambling handwritten letters.

Kay is a prolific pen pal and I know I'm not the only one getting fat envelopes in the mail.

One thing that Kay does, wherever she goes, is visit yard sales, estate sales, and flea markets.

Yesterday's envelope was larger and fatter than usual and when I zipped it open, I was astounded and delighted to find this goodie bag.

She said she left the price on it so I could see that, when it came to a surprise for me, price was no object!

This is a priceless treasure indeed. The book, "Healy Hardanger Samplers - old stitches new ideas" is undated, but was put out by D. J. Healy, Detroit, Michigan.

I wish I had a reader that could give me more information about this store. Since the back cover gives its address as 222, 224, 226 Woodward Avenue, I'm guessing it was a very large department store in downtown Detroit; and one that had a well-stocked needlework department.

A quick internet search shows that it was started by D. J. Healy, born in 1862 in Ireland, came to Detroit in 1880, and started his career as a dealer in ostrich feathers before founding a dry goods business in 1887; the first Detroit retailer to make European buying trips. [2 photos here]

There was one lovely, and very well done, Hardanger square in the package and inside the booklet was one page torn from The Modern Pricilla dated July 1905 with directions for a Centerpiece in Hardanger Embroidery. What a find!

The two lengths of net darning are in pristine condition and look as though they were just recently completed. I have the one on the right upside down in the photo. There was also one page torn from "Needlecraft" Journal of Net Darning and it appears the piece on the left was worked using illustration no. 17 but with a different border.

There is no name inside the booklet and no notations. Who was the needleworker? Did she have a project in mind for these insertions or did she work them just for the pleasure and her own education? I don't know, but I have an idea we would have gotten along just fine.


Mary said...

What a wonderful and special treasure!

minipurl said...

You have the most interesting blog. ( It's tied with Mary's.) :)
I've had a lovely hours just reading about your lovely hat patterns and the Owl hat will be on my list very soon.
Your Hardanger book sounds great. What a thoughtful friend.