The Voice of a Book’s Cover

Choosing the cover to a book is akin to naming a baby. Once all contenders have received equal consideration and votes are taken, the semi-finalists are picked apart then put back together, with everyone weighing in. My voice was for a cover that conveyed warmth and vibrance, with a kick of kitsch yet coaxing of nostalgia. 
Of the boxes of vintage fabric and household cloth I provided for consideration was flour sack toweling that my mother-in-law had embellished with embroidery.  This grouping of 3 – China, Glasses and Vegetable Polka – were the finalists, with China the hands down winner. 

Else, my mother-in-law, had apprenticed in England as a seamstress in a couture shop. Her speciality was handbound button holes. Imagine the intensity of the stitches required for a buttonhole! So, the gaiety of these transfers must have appealed to her lighter side, yet her professionalism never left her – check the backside of the towel. Over fifty years later, and the stitches are still intact and immaculate.

That’s the thing about stitchery and the women of earlier generations – the embroidery is their voice, telling us…I was here
I hope you love the cover as much as I do. It honors Else, and my PC, her only child. 
Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. How beautiful! My mother has a lot of vintage linens embroidered by family members as well. The work is immaculate! I love to look at them and imagine them sewing away! How pleased they would be to know that their work is so appreciated!

  2. Jennifer, hey! I was just getting ready to leave the computer and think about what the heck we’re having for dinner tonight, when your comment popped through. Thank you for letting me know we’re of the same ilk…enamored of fabric and stichery and the handiwork of women.


  3. I would have had a hard time picking, all three are wonderful. I think everyone has some form of linen that they cherish…I know I do and I love everyone of them.

  4. I love each of them for their quirky charm and especially the perfection of the embroidery! Kitchen linens are one of my favorites and I snap them up when I can. The sad thing is that it is usually for a dollar or two, a sad statement of the lack of appreciation for such incredible talent, time and effort.
    I’m glad you are helping to set things to rights!!

  5. What a wonderful tribute to your Mother-In-Law. You can see the love that goes into each hand-embroidered peice. My Grandma would always tell me that the back needed to look as nice as the front. Thats the way she taught me.
    Oh, I can’t say each peice is tidy,I get a little impatient to complete a project, but I still hear her in my ear,smile, and slow down. I love vintage hand-embroidered pieces of the 30’s-40’s
    I have quite a few peices from Grandma and Mom that I would never part with. I love taking items that are love worn, that others would figure time to throw away, and creating new designs with them. It’s nice when someone asks me to do a custom design using Mom or Grandma’s old hankie or towel to have as a keepsake. Keep Writing and letting people know those old textiles are more than pieces for the rag bag.

  6. I have a cabinet full of family linens that I absolutely love. Some were made especially for me but most have been handed down. Those are the ones I think I love the most just because of the history that’s in them.

    And it’s a clear choice as to why “china” made it to the cover. She has a certain amount of sassiness to her.

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