Story of Two Victorian Beauties!

                       

Earlier in the spring of this year, I received notification of a pending delivery from Canada to my studio. Usually I am in touch with any prospective restoration customers, but since there was no contact information with said mysterious notification and the shipping was delayed several times in Canadian customs, it was many weeks of suspenseful anticipation before the large package arrived at my front door. It had obviously been opened by some (thankfully) careful customs agent and the contents rearranged but complete.

The first thing I saw was a beautiful, large box with metal handles on each side. The image of a very fashionable lady from long ago smiled at me from the top of the box, and after carefully lifting the lid, the smell of roses escaped from the contents. There was tissue paper and a letter with my name on it! The mystery was about to be revealed.

In part the letter read: “I give you these lovely pieces of crochet work which I purchased from Deanna Youhanna Antiques in Los Angeles in 1995. This establishment had a written and photo piece featured in the very popular Victoria Magazine, which has been in existence for over 30 years. It was through the magazine that I was able to contact Deanna Youhanna Antiques to purchase these 2 featured items.”

My benefactor continues: “Your website caught my eye and I believe that your talent with the intricate art of needlework gives me relief that these crochet treasures will be safely restored in your hands. Over time some areas have become worn, but I am confident that you can repair any problem areas, so the pieces can used and passed on to another worthy person or cause.”

She finishes her letter with some personal information: “I am elderly and now my health is deteriorating, so I am moving on……………”

It was very emotional to read such a lovely letter, handwritten in beautiful penmanship. She also included the invoices from Deanna Youhanna Antiques, documenting her purchases. I carefully removed the first spread from the box and found the source of the lovely smell, two bars of British Rose-scented soap.

The excitement mounted as I unfolded both spreads and inspected them on my light table.  I dropped my current design project and started right into the restoration of the 2 Canadian beauties.

To my delight, the first spread was in very good condition and only needed a couple of minor stabilizing stitches. This Queen size beauty was made around the turn of the last century. It is created of popcorn diamonds, which are connected with a rose and leaves design. The pointed diamond border of this spread is only worked on the sides, since this spread was designed to be used with a foot board. The spread can also be used as a throw. As mentioned in my benefactor’s letter, it was featured, along with another crochet piece by the same artist, in Victoria Magazine in the mid-nineties and consequently purchased in 1995 from Deanna Youhanna Estate Antiques in Los Angeles for $600.00 The spread was displayed at a family estate in BC, Canada until last year, professionally cleaned and I returned it back to excellent condition.

The second spread, a very unusual pattern with a lovely corkscrew fringe, needed a little more attention on the corkscrews. This one-of-a kind Queen size spread was custom crochet around the turn of the last century. Although variations of popcorn squares with rose centers were popular at that time, the unusual shell and diamonds edge with corkscrew fringe make this spread an unusual stand-out. It was featured, along with another piece created by the same artist, in Victoria Magazine in the mid-nineties and consequently purchased in 1995 from Deanna Youhanna Estate Antiques in Los Angeles for $600. The spread was displayed at a family estate in BC, Canada until last year, then professionally cleaned and I return it back to original perfection.

This restoration gave me lots of pleasure because I felt the joy that my benefactor received from owning and displaying these lovely Canadian beauties. The antique box of French origin they arrived in is once again home to both pieces. But only temporarily, because they are ready once again to be shown off and appreciated for many more years and by future generations.

If you would like to inquire about purchasing one or both of these beautiful bedspreads, please email me at Ritadeheirloomtreasures@gmail.com.

Rita de Maintenon and Crochet Fiber Art

Fiber Artist Rita de Maintenon shown with one of her works at the Ashevill NC Folk Art Center.