Friday, May 8, 2015

Gingham Goodness!

Gingham and I have a history ... we go back generations!  There are reasons why I love authentic gingham in every size and color!
Recently, I had the "urge to purge" the linen closet.  This task may have been prompted by the fact that every time I went to pull a necessary item out ... bushels of stuff fell out onto the floor!  I had finally had enough and removed everything!  In the process I came across these gingham treasures.  They had gotten lost behind everything else!
This picture was taken on our family farm ... in 1935 ... they are my grandfather, grandmother, father (age 5) and uncle.  My grandmother grew up a 100% Swedish farm girl and she married a 100% Norwegian farmer.
Once when my mother came to visit me, she brought with her three of Grandma's tablecloths.  Grandma had a large kitchen table.
For everyday purposes, the table was protected with an "oil cloth" tablecloth.
In the center would be a small tablecloth like this one.  It always held paper napkins, salt & pepper shakers, sugar cubes in a sugar bowl, and a pitcher of fresh cream.  Always!
This one says "Give us this day our daily bread" in Swedish.  Blue pearle cotton on blue gingham.
I remember Grandma teaching me how to pronounce the Swedish words.  Wonderful memories.
Here is one she did in English.  Black pearle cotton on orange gingham.
Mitered corners ... hemmed using the selvage on opposite sides and turned under on the remaining two.
I remember this technique being referred to as "chicken scratch" embroidery ... and it appears to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence in popularity.  That just makes my heart sing.
I also remember Grandma making and wearing gingham aprons with similar stitching on them!  As you can see, the small tablecloths are stained ... these busy women would put so much beautiful workmanship into items that they knew would see heavy use ... adding charm to their daily tasks.
My grandmother taught me so much about faith and the importance of gratitude.  How she lived her life is such an inspiration.
My mother served as the "Sewing Leader" for our local 4-H Club the Alida Rancheros!  This is a gingham tablecloth I made in sixth grade!  Gingham was used a lot in beginning sewing lessons for obvious reasons ... easy to tell if you were ever "off"!
The embroidery motifs I choose reflected our 4-H Club's name!
The colors I used with the motifs really do reflect my 12 year old thinking!
I remember being relieved when Mom said I could stitch around the cut edge and fringe it!  Whew, no mitered corner!  I remember the concentration it took to stitch slowly using the sewing machine ... staying on that gingham line!
Our home town fabric store was called "The Yardstick".  It was one of my favorite places.  I remember selecting this green gingham from a long row of bolts ... they were arranged by size and color ... a rainbow of gingham!  Heavenly!
It is fun to look at the work of my young hands.  I received a blue ribbon on the tablecloth at our county fair.  The judges made a comment on the smallness and consistency of my embroidery stitches.  Truth is ... today my stitches are larger and less consistent!  Too fun!

Gingham truly was a part of our everyday lives on the farm ... and of course Lori Holt has a block in her Farm Girl Vintage book!  She made a table runner using the block in multiple colors.
I couldn't resist, I had to make one.  She used a dark and medium print with white in her block to achieve the look of gingham!  My first block was with these violet prints.
I had such fun ... and could not stop until I had made eight blocks.
Flicka had strong opinions on how they should be arranged!  Love my little fur ball and her catitude!
Eventually the blocks were pieced together ... I am sew happy with the results!  When quilted and bound it will look great on the island in my kitchen.  Gingham evokes so many wonderful memories of my childhood and the women I loved.  It has been fun to wrap myself in "gingham goodness" this past week!

Do what you love.  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally


  1. What great treasures you found!
    I remember Mom always had gingham aprons, I guess because they washed so nice.
    I remember Chicken Scratch came back in the 80's too.
    The new runner is pretty.

  2. My mom and her sisters had several chicken scratch aprons and I remember there being tablecloths too. Thanks for the trip down the memory lane.