Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Drawn Threadwork

My grandfather served as a doctor in the trenches of World War I.
He was not a strong man and fell victim to TB or something similar.
As he spent week after week recovering in hospital, 
his fingers were obviously not idle for a second.
He learnt the needle art of drawn threadwork and 
made the most enormous linen bedspread I have ever seen.
A gift for my grandmother.
I know it's enormous because I now have this wonderful piece of family history.

His corners are a bit uneven and the spider webs are somewhat imperfect.
But how amazing it is!

I love the edge here that didn't turn out as straight as expected.

When WW II broke out he had a bomb shelter type of iron contraption built around their bed!
What a sight that must have been.
Thinking of you Grandpa!


  1. This does not surprise me. My mother had an uncle who did embroidery, taught to him whil he was recovering in hospital after WWI. He had some kind of shock and this was his 'cure'.
    I know what soothing effect handwork and creativity have on me, so I understand why this kind of therapy. I wonder if it is still used in modern psychiatry.
    Excellent job your Grandad did, by the way!

  2. I love that your grandfather did this wonderful piece. usually these types of things are handed down from the female side of the family!


  3. Talk about an heirloom!! How your grandpa must have loved your grandma because this is definitely a labour of love.

  4. Yes, Aracne, I wonder if stitching is used in therapy for men nowadays.
    Roberta and Magpie - It is so enormous, it really must have been a labour of love.

  5. A treasure cloth of memories...

  6. Lovely work and certainly a treasure to cherish! I had an uncle that was colour blind, yet did the most intricate of petit point stitchery. As children, he had us wind the floss on cards and then did all his work by the #'s of the floss. He almost died as a teenager from a sinus abcess. Again, the stitching was therapy for his long recovery. It also didn't hurt that his mother was a seamstress who also did exquisite embroideries.

  7. Penny, this is truly a treasure. I love the imperfections in it too, the hand made quality. It makes me feel that I know your grandfather.


  8. I found your post by chance - not having my little right finger under control on the iPad. This is so moving - your grandpa making drawn threads. Loved to read it!


Thank you for taking the time to comment, your thoughts are most welcome.