So many hankies

25 Apr

On 23 August 2021 I wrote

You were just wondering what 62 freshly laundered hankies would look like, hanging to dry on a whirligig weren’t you?

Well here you are.

This is the ‘mostly white’ collection and it includes some beautifully embroidered hankies, probably first owned by my great grandmother. They are the softest, finest cotton although many are past their prime and will be repurposed – I have a plan!

My plan, involving lavender and embroidery swirled about in my brain for months (and months) as a thing I might be able to do. I was hesitant though. I had forgotten how delicate old hankies can be, the cloth is soft and oh so thin, reminding me of how fragile Mum’s skin had become, how easily it broke if she knocked herself at all.

But, when you have so many hankies, what’s the worst that can happen? You end up with one in the bin because you messed it up? That would hardly be a disaster.

So, in time, I embroidered on a number of hankies, and created bespoke lavender pillows out of them.

On the first, I embroidered the foxgloves that Mum had painted in Summer 2020 as part of the 100 Days Project; and on the reverse I embroidered a beautiful Mary Oliver quote for my friend Juliet. After that first ultra delicate hankie, I chose a more robust one, and stitched simpler designs – for Mum (Alix), for her sister (Jen) and for Fenella’s mother (Brenda).

Mum loved to hold the lavender pillow to her nose, to breathe in the sweet scent of those lavender flowers. Latterly she couldn’t remember what the smell was, but she knew she liked it. I do wish that I had made the wee outer covers more like a pillow case so they could be thrown in the laundry and washed as they do get a bit icky with bits of food dropped on them! But hey ho, we live and learn.

These lavender pillow hankies were a labour of absolute love and delight – quick wee projects that gave a second life to some old well-loved hankies. There’s another hankie project that you’ll read about in the future, filled with even more love.. but you’ll have to wait for that one.


I started writing this series of posts here, with Taking Smock of the Situation, an embroidery project I started after I realised Mum might have dementia. There I was, embroidering her old fisherman’s smock with symbols relating to her life; while her memories were slipping away, like me at a party I don’t want to be at.

Before that I blogged about whatever I was cooking and you can find my recipes here.

3 Responses to “So many hankies”

  1. Neil April 26, 2023 at 9:32 pm #

    You really are very clever.



  1. Taking Smock of the Situation | Shewolfinthevalley - April 25, 2023

    […] So many hankies […]


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