Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hanky Panky

An edged handkerchief is elegant, especially when a bride holds it in her delicate hand. A friend at work is getting married this month, and I promised to give her something special for her wedding.

I had a hard time finding an off-white hanky to match her gown, so I took a plain white one and rinsed it in strong tea. It gave the hanky a vintage look.

I didn't want it very dark, or ecru, but a soft white. Hanky blanks are usually bright white, either cotton or linen. This one came from JoAnn's online. The key word when looking for handkerchiefs is "hemstitched." That means that the hanky has a row of tiny holes stitched along the edge, making it easy to crochet a border.

The thread is Coats Opera #20 in Ivory. Most of the edging patterns I have call for finer thread, but the openness of this crochet pattern allowed me to use #20 without it being too dense or heavy. I used a German #5 steel crochet hook, which I think equates with an American #12.

This was fast and fun to do. Now, I want to do a set of sheets! I have a lovely set that was hand-edged by my grandmother for her wedding in 1917. She crocheted the edging and embroidered her initial on them. She also made her wedding veil, still preserved in a trunk at my parents' house. My grandfather was a tailor and made his wedding suit.

Weddings always make me nostalgic!

To press the hanky, I will lay it on a pillowcase, spraying it lightly with Niagara spray starch. I prefer not to press it directly, so I will lay another pillowcase or cloth on top, and lightly steam press it. Then I will fold it into quarters and lightly steam the fold lines. This will make a nice presentation.

For storing, it should be laundered and pressed, but not starched. Starch can yellow with age. And we want this hanky to be passed on to the next bride, don't we?


Debby said...

Your handkerchief is beautiful, really an heirloom! The bride is going to love it.

I didn't realize that the stitching on the cloth left room for the crochet hook. I've always wondered about that.

I'm in the process of making some lace edging (from the Lace from the Attic book) for my sheets and pillowcases. The pillowcase trims are done, and I'm about half way on the queen size sheet trim. I was going to have my mom, who sews, attach this to the hems for me. If you have any advice or suggestions, I'd be most grateful. My email is adamsdebra AT sbcglobal DOT net. Thank you!

KnitNana said...

How lovely! And I have a set of sheets and pillowcases from my great-grandmother's wedding (I believe she made them for herself), beautifully edged in crocheted lace...
that would have been from the late 1800s I think - as my mom was born in 1915...and it was HER grandmother.
They're such special things to pass down...