Embroidered doily about 1910
Arts and crafts embroidery could be quite modern with flowers abstracted to extremes. This vintage piece has a lovely design, probably commercially produced by an American needlework company. Women bought the linen marked with a colored design and finished it with a satin stitch (Kensington stitch) outlined in a black chain stitch. They often used a raised satin stitch of two layers.
The finished piece illustrates the design confusion associated with the modern movement. The lace edge is an echo of romanticism, a mixed message of new and traditional that marks much needlework of the era.
Here's a pattern for the motif.
Click on the picture above and save it to a JPG or a Word file.
Then print it out about 6" wide and trace it onto linen.
A table runner with a hemmed edge
captures the modern look better than
a lacy finish.
It's fascinating to see how women used these embroidered designs. In keeping with William Morris's dictate that one should have nothing but beautiful objects in the home, women made embroidered linen bags to hold their stockings, their hankies...
and their laundry.
They often embroidered their dresses
Here's a 1904 idea from Ladies Home Journal magazine
They advised the amateur artist to
copy arts and crafts motifs from
And they made tea cozies.
The most common use for all that decoration was for pillows
and what my mother might have called a dresser scarf---
The doily above another example of modern/romantic.