A box full of beautiful Irish linen, but they have years of stains on them. I need Help!

 My sister and I did a few garage sales this past weekend and when I see what looks like scrap fabric in a box I usually dig through it... to my surprise I found dozens of beautiful hand worked linens.  These linens were vintage.  Someones Grandma spent many hours doing the work and I guess after she passed on they went on the auction block only to end up in this lady's garage sale.  She knew nothing about them?

I pulled out 4 very nice pieces and asked the price... "$4.00 for the box.  I just want to get rid of them", she said!  

I didn't even look at most of the items in the box, I just took it home and was so surprised at what I found! I knew most were stained but was even more surprised at the hand work some woman put into these very beautiful pieces.  It looked very European as I don't know anyone who can do such intricate work.

Then I found the words on one piece, "Irish Manufacture"  I could see and feel how different the fabric was from American linen and it had a sheen to it.

 The needle work on these pieces were  such tiny crochet, hand embroidery and tatting and all together there are 24 different forms of table covers and tea towels. Two are long enough and narrow,  to have been used on a mantel.  That was back in the 1800's into the early 1900's when homes used such decorations.
Look at the work of this pink one, the stitches do not show on the reverse side.  "She" put the needle through each teeny thread, without showing on the back. "Who does that"?
 My mind go's back to when a women first came to America many years ago, with the skills to do such work as the Irish women did.  If it was so, it's very exciting to me!

I am now on a mission to clean these pieces.  I did put them into a water soak as soon as I got home and left them for the night.  Today I changed the water and added Oxy Clean and will go back for a look later.
Does anyone out there in "Blogland" know of a way to clean these beautiful pieces? 
What will I do with them?  Not sure but there are two that would look really nice on a few of my tables.
Please leave me a comment or an e'mail,  as I'm now desperate to rid them of the stains.  Thanks to all who can help!
Have a wonderful week!


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Those are beautiful. Try looking at this link for cleaning:

What will you do with them once they are clean?

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

What a find!! Some looks like rust??? But how?? My Mom would be able to tell you - think you're on the right track with oxy clean. If it's white- bleach?

Pondside said...

I just know someone will have the answer for you. Failing that, good old google will have lots of advice. You've made a wonderful find - such lovely workmanship.

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

These are so lovely. I agree you don't see workmanship like this anymore.
I just read an article this weekend for things like this... I think lemon juice might help with the rust stains. ...and Sun drying.

I'll try to find the link and come back and post it for you.

You got a good deal on them for sure. I also saw someone piece together a bunch of these randomly and make a beautiful curtain. Patchwork lace curtains. ...wispy! and beautiful.


Pondside said...

Hi again - I tried to email, but the address on your 'about me' page wouldn't work and I received a 'delivery failure' notification. Here's what I wrote:
Here is some info I picked up from reading another blog, and I thought it might be helpful. There's a product called Vintage Textile Soak and Vee linked to an article on washing old linens here.

I hope this helps, from one blogger to another, to another! Good luck!

Linda Bouffard said...

I don't know what to do with the "rust marks". I've tried bleach and it just doesn't work. Sorry I couldn't help. I like what you found, though. Would love to have you link to What to do Weekends party. Take care, Linda

Sherry at The Rusty Pearl said...

What a beautiful box of GOODIES !!! YOU hit the jackpot my friend.. I LOVE It and was doing the happy dance for you . Love your blog. I am your newest follower............. HUGS and have a beautiful and blessed week

daisy said...

You might try hydrogen peroxide. It gets out many stains. As does lemon juice. I'd try it on just a small area first, just in case it doesn't react well with the fabric.
The work that went into those pieces is amazing! You've reminded me that I have some similar items of my mom's that I need to sort through and frame. Thanks for the reminder. I hope you are able to get the stains out! Please update us!

Wendy said...

You could try using peroxide on the spots or vinegar and laying them out in the sun. Even stained they would make great items for use in making book pages and such. You are a very lucky girl! I would love to find a box of linens like this!

~ Liz ~ said...

I love a find like that for such a great price. It's fun to take it home and discover what you got. These are really sweet. Good luck with the stains. I wish I had some advice but I don't have a clue of how to get rid of them.
Liz @ Quirky Vistas

Marybeth said...

I might have answers for you. First do not use will set the rust stains. You can soak the items in Oxyclean or Biz - soaking for 12 - 24 hours..both have been known to do a great job. If none of these work (for me) I do Ice Dyeing. It puts wonderful color and gives new life to the linens. Just google ice dyeing or go to Dharma Trading Company and look at their tutorials (this is not a paid endorsement). You will love the look you get!! Good Luck!!

Jami said...

Beautiful linens...try searching pinterest...thought I saw something about hydrogen peroxide for stains. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your great garage sale score!!! Hope you'll stop by often!!

Jann Olson said...

The linens are precious. $4 for the box, now that was a steal! We use to always soak away any baby formula stains with BIZ. It worked wonders. Not sure if it would work here, but worth a try. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous find with Share your Cup.