Saturday, February 04, 2012

Teatime Table Runners

Some years ago, my mother gave me a bag of vintage handkerchiefs.  Some had been mine as a child, some had been hers, and I think some are even older than that.  She had kept them in a fabric bag in a dresser drawer all those years.  I just don't believe in doing that with heirlooms -- stashing them away so that no one, not even the person who stashed them there,  ever sees them or enjoys them.   I have always wanted to put these hankies to some good use, and had actually planned to make them into a quilt.  I was so determined to do this that I had found a free pattern I wanted to use and had even bought the fabric for the quilt.  I had even tried sewing several of the vintage hankies into the center of the quilt blocks.   But as much as I wanted to make the quilt, I just couldn't get enthused about the project or get off the ground with it.  I don't know if other people ever feel this way about projects, but sometimes I do.  It just wasn't looking as nice as I hoped, and, truth be told, was somewhat of a boring project.  (Hope my grandchildren never read this, as they are not allowed to use the "B" word.)

This year, I came up with the idea to use some of the hankies to make a table runner instead.  I wanted to make more of these for gifts, so I decided to use the kids' hankies that had been mine as a child in blocks for a sample table runner and see how it all worked out.  I decided to use the hankies as "doilies" or "napkins" under various tea-themed items such as teapots, teacups, etc. which I would applique out of coordinating fabric.  Well!  It took quite awhile, and some time on the part of several craft forum friends, to find enough motifs to use for the tea-themed items, but in the end, I ended up with more than enough ideas.

I made the runner for myself this summer, and it turned out quite well even using the cartoon-themed hankies and the brighter colors.  It was a fun summer project.
Half of the more colorful runner
The second half of the colorful runner

 I planned to make two more, one for each of my daughters, for Christmas.  The hankies for theirs are some of the prettier floral designs, plus others.   I managed to get one runner done in time for Christmas, and finished the second one in mid-January.  Now that it is safely in Carrie's hands, there's no more need for secrecy and I can share pictures.
Half of the pastel runner
A simple cup of tea

A cupcake

The other half of the runner

Stack of teacups

Teakettle ~ love the unusual design on this hanky

A simple teapot

Teapot with teacup ~ I got the inspiration for this design from a motif on a child's tin tea set!

Hope you have enjoyed this look at my tea-themed table runners!  I am so happy to have found a use for those vintage hankies so they can be seen and admired at last.


  1. Love it Mrs T....your daughters are very lucky ladies!

  2. What a wonderful idea! They are beautiful. I have some vintage hankies that I bought at a flea market a while back planning to do a baby quilt I had seen. You've inspired me to get moving!

  3. Great idea! I have some of those hankies from my grandmother just stuffed in a box somewhere and I was wondering how to USE them. This is wonderful! I like the tea time theme and will look over my hankies; maybe a wall hanger for each of my children to pass on some heritage.

  4. Ladies, thanks so much for stopping by to see my table runners. Thanks for the sweet & thoughtful comments. Altered Bee, I hope that your baby quilt comes out well and that you have lots of fun with the project!

  5. And Free Indeed, I didn't get your comment until later (even though it somehow showed up before my reply) ~ it is nice to see you here again and I'm glad my project could inspire some ideas for using your grandmother's hankies. It's fun and very satisfying to not only use these treasures but to pass them on to the younger generation this way.

  6. Mrs T,
    These are incredible!!! I love them so much. I have many old hankies also. I purchased a dozen or so at a yard sale years ago. Finally did use 6 of them as a valance over my kitchen windows, which i love. I simply took a thin, straight limb from a tree, stripped it of bark and sanded it, cut two "crooks" of tree and drilled/nailed them to my window frame, layed the limb across and hung three hankies, overlapping each other, across the limb. They're light and airy. I"ve seen them in a baby's room or bath and they were cute also. Yours are incredible!

  7. Why, thank you, Syds1Girl!

    I am glad that you like the project! I like your valance idea too. I have similar valances (using cloth napkins) in some of our rooms, but the tree branch is an even nicer idea and I might think about doing that with some of the remaining hankies for summer. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your idea!

  8. What a cute idea! They turned out very well and made wonderful gifts! Thanks so much for sharing at my tea party. Have a lovely day.


  9. Your runner was such a wonderful idea and turned out so beautifully! The dollies and teapots and teacups are terrific.

  10. Sandi and Carrie,

    So nice to see both of you here at my kitchen table!! Thanks for your kind words about the table runners. They were fun to make; it was really neat, once I had located some applique designs, to decide just how to arrange them on the squares. It was fun coordinating the colors from my fabric stash with the colors on the vintage hankies. I still have a bunch of those to use up and think I may make "Hankie Blankies" -- a Gooseberry Patch project.

    Come back and visit anytime!


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