Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been cleaning-out the upstairs closet of my parents house.  This is sort-of an exciting endeavor as I couldn’t ever remember getting to the back of this closet in my lifetime.  It’s a really deep and big closet as the makers of this house simply closed-off the end of the hallway and put a door on it!  This house is the oldest of a trio of houses built by members of my family from the same blueprints.  Makes sense if you think about it as it’s more or less what they do in modern housing developments.  Our house is (I think) the closest one to the original layout minus a wooden front porch and with the addition of an enclosed back porch.  One of the houses has been pulled down and the other is so different from ours that I didn’t realize that it was the same floor plan as a child until someone pointed it out to me.  But it has a built-on garage and a fair number of changes from the original plan so I think I can be forgiven my oversight:-)

I decided to clean out this monster-sized closet more or less on a whim.  It was like the answer that a lot of mountain climbers give when asked, “Why did you climb that mountain?” “Because it was there.”  The stuff at the front of the closet was all pretty modern.  The further back I got, the older things were until I came to a huge box full of linens and blankets.  When I say linens, I think I mean linens from linen.  Some were so patched that it was hard to see where the original sheet had been.  There were embroidered pillowcases and old quilts.  There was one blanket that had been wool, but was now mostly a pile of moth dust (it was kinda gross to get rid of!).  All of the linens are stained and in need of a serious cleaning, which I plan on giving them when I get to a point where I could put them outside to dry without major dust issues.  One of the tricks that I learned a few months ago when I was trying to get sweat stains out of some vintage pillowcases with colored crochet work on the edges is that the sun is an effective bleaching agent.  If you keep something damp, the sun will just keep working on it to get it white.  I think I am really going to miss my conservatory for this effort!  I will share these with y’all when I get them to a point where they don’t look a mess (don’t worry, I’ll try to take before and after photos!)

I finally managed to get to the shelf up high at the back of the closet.  There were some really heavy filing boxes back there and I asked mom what was in them.  It was some teaching materials from when my mom taught home-ec in the late 60’s and early and mid 70’s.  She had been given a ton of information by a teacher that was no longer teaching which what was in these massive boxes.  Getting them down off the shelf meant that I had to remove about half of the files from each of them before I could manage the weight (they probably weighed around 70 pounds full).  I’m glad that I had to as I found a few treasures in those massive filing boxes.  One was an envelope from the Belgian Linen Association containing a bunch of glossy black and white photos showing the processing of Belgian linen, some pamphlets about Belgian linen products and a sample of both raw and dressed flax.  This will be fun to use when I am giving spinning demonstrations!

Another treasure in these boxes were samples of fabrics of the time.  They were used for demonstrations so the majority of them were stapled to cardstock along one side.  I am going to have to learn how to quilt after finding these as some of the prints are just too cute for words!

A very special treasure that I unearthed is a stack of Needlecraft magazines from the early to the mid 1930’s.  They are in perfect condition and have been sitting in a Sunkist Orange box for who knows how long.  All of them are addressed to various women in my family tree, which is a bonus in my opinion as I can imagine these ladies reading through them making the patterns just like I am.   I’m really looking forward to going through these when I have some time to do it correctly not just flip through them.

These little gems make all the cobwebs and dust worthwhile!

5 thoughts on “Buried Treasures

  1. Tammy says:

    What a treasure trove you found!

  2. tini says:

    What a treasure. I wish I could be with you and leave thru all these things! (and help with the linens of course! If you have time, take a quilting class and use the linen for backing the quilt!)

    1. hortihoney says:

      That’s kind of what I was thinking. I remember a lot of quilts at the V&A exhibit that I went to a few years ago having old sheets as backings. I think that these sheets (with their many, many patches) would be excellent for that. Now I just need to find a class for quilting:-)

      1. tini says:

        There’s a quilting store in Garner, Iowa that offers classes (according to google…)

      2. hortihoney says:

        Alas, first I need to start having some money coming in before it can start going back out again:-) But I think that once I have a job again, a class is totally in order!

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