Farming, quilting, variety

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hope Chest

From Wikipedia: A hope chest, dowry chest, cedar chest, or glory box is a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linens, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life.

I don't think I ever had a hope chest as such, but I'm sure I had a few things put back, with hopes; probably embroidered feed sack dishtowels and flour sack pillowcases.  Most chests would have been made by the girl's father or grandfather, or maybe passed down from mother or grandmother.  My daddy made chests for his five granddaughters; four were made from cedar, just regular rectangular chests, but the fifth one was made as a deacon's bench with a spindled back.

I doubt that many young women keep a hope chest now; it's easier for them to register at a store and more or less tell others what they want or need.  I'm happy to say, all my daughters learned sewing skills when they were young girls.

In 2012, I posted doll quilts, and in 2013, aprons were my projects.  For 2014 I plan to put something in a "hope chest" each month (not that I have any hope, lol).  This is my first entry, a set of embroidered, day-of-the-week dishtowels.  I ordered five yards of the toweling fabric from Nancy's Notions and the transfers came from an old copy of the little craft magazine, Workbasket, I think; they've been around so long I can't remember for sure, but they did transfer perfectly.  Then I used red floss to do the embroidery to match the border on the fabric.

wash on Monday,

iron on Tuesday,

sew on Wednesday,

shop on Thursday,

clean on Friday,

bake on Saturday,

worship on Sunday.

Did you have a hope chest, or do you have one started for a daughter or granddaughter?  I hope you'll follow me on this quest to find something new to add each month.



  1. Your towels are so pretty! I just finished up some embroidered towels I did last year, I thought mine needed a little something so I added a rick rack border.
    I remember Workbasket. It was a small magazine and usually had a transfer in the center. One of my grandmothers subscribed to it and she saved them for me.
    I did not have a wood hope chest but a smaller red footlocker and I kept some pot holders and pillowcases, I don't really remember what all. I do like the idea of hope chests. I'll be thinking about your challenge.

  2. Oh! The towels are so cute! Beautiful work. But I have some with birds embroidered on them (did you do those?) and I just can't bring myself to use them! They are just too pretty to mess up!

  3. those are really pretty! no never had a hope chest - I always thought it such a nice idea though to have a hope chest full of hand made quilts!

  4. I love your Redwork. Your needlework is so neat and pretty. The towels are perfect for your first addition to the Hope Chest.
    The nostalgic magazine patterns like that are so charming (and somewhat bittersweet too, I think)
    I love the deacon bench design Hope Chest. It'd be a wonderful functional family heirloom.
    When I was teenager, I wanted a cedar Hope Chest. Oh how I dreamed of getting one, but it never came to be.
    You have such marvelous ideas for monthly postings.
    You inspire me and I may try to think of something to do monthly as well.
    Here's wishing you a wonderful rest of the week.

  5. Those towels are so nice. I love homemade things like that. At the end of the year what do you plan to do with all the things you have made for the hope chest? I will look forward to seeing your next project! Nancy

  6. P.S. No, I never had a hope chest but think it would have been wonderful! Nancy

  7. I have a hope chest. It was bought for me by my husband; years after we were first married. We got a bedroom set and the hope chest; the same set we are still using to this day. It is cedar lined. We had three son's; so no hope chest were needed for them. But, I do think it is a wonderful idea and one that I hope will continue. I love the towels you have stitched up. What a wonderful job! Look forward to what you do to add to your hope chest!

  8. I love the idea of a hope chest. I did not have one, but boy would that have been nice when I first got married, starting out with nothing. I think I'll start one for my daughter. I love your first addition. Your embroidery is meticulous.

  9. This is so exciting! I'm anxious to see you fill your "hope chest"! I had one - years ago. Still have it; it's in the garage.

  10. You know, for years and years, that deacon's bench never had a scratch, even after moving a couple of times. Add kids to the it has a few.

    I'm very glad you taught us to sew and do other handy things. I'm trying to help Lily with that, so it can go on another generation.

  11. I never had a Hope Chest. When I started working after high school at 17 I bought what I called a Cedar Chest and stored my nice sweaters and winter items in it.
    My youngest daughter has it now
    and antiqued it white.
    I love all of your handwork and it almost makes me jealous.
    With home, outside, writing and just chores daily it seems I do not sew. You have given me an idea of something simpler that I could do. As always - thank you for all you share and just being you...

  12. Hi Charlotte, your tea towels are so cute. I never had a real wooden hope chest, but I saved pretty things and put them in my bottom dresser drawer, like grandma's doilies and embroidered scarves my mother made. I also had an old cigar box that belonged to my great-grandma with all sorts of interesting trinkets in it. I always wanted to have homemade quilts too and be like Laura Ingall's on Little House on the Praire. Have a lovely evening ahead! With Love, Delisa :)

  13. My mom had a cedar chest that she had used as her hope chest. I don't know whatever happened to it. Your towels are so cute! I love the embroidery.

  14. Adorable towels!! Especially love the little lady at her sewing machine. Will watch for what other pretty things you tuck away in the hope chest. I have a little stack of Workbaket mags from the very early 1950's when I was a young mom. Now I am an old mom! Thank you for comments on my blog and in answer to your question - all my buttonhole stitching on my applique is done by machine. I love the way it looks. Happy quilting!! Carol

  15. What a great start to an interesting new project. The dish towels are your embroidery. I didn't have a hope chest but a dresser drawer in which I kept a few special things.

  16. Hey Charlotte ,
    I've decided I'm going to post a photo of a Wreath each month.
    I've dedicated my post today to you to thank you for your inspiration.
    Thanks so very much.
    I hope you'll visit and see it.
    Wishing you a lovely day of sunshine.

  17. I adore this post! Mother had a cedar chest and so did grandma. I now have one by the window covered with a blanket so the cats can look out at the birds!
    Yours is a beauty and I love the towels you are working on. I remember buying those stamping patterns at Woolworth's when I was young. I used to embroider and cross stitch quite a bit. This is a fun project for you to share with us. Mildred

  18. Lovely hand embroidered towels! In fact, I love to work on hand embroiderered projects. I learned about hope chests recently and think is a beautiful tradition. Have fun with your goal!

  19. Oh, Charlotte...I am so thankful to have found your blog! These towels are just adorable...and I do remember "workbasket"! In fact, I have many old copies that belonged to my mother. I also have my nana's hope chest...a beautiful old cedar chest. I don't have any daughters...but I do have three sons...and I have begun to fill the chest with items for my future "daughters" someday! I love your idea of making an item a month! I think I'll join you on this adventure!

    I just love your blog...I'll be back to visit again very soon!
    Sweet blessings,
    Laura (from Maine)

  20. What a great idea! I love your embroidery work. You are so talented. I love the chest you posted a picture of. It is beautiful. Before I married, I bought a Lane Cedar Chest at a yard sale. I filled it with this and that - it became my hope chest. I still have that chest. We also have a hope chest that Charley's dad gave to his mom when they got married. My son Andrew made a cedar chest for my oldest son and his bride-to-be a few years ago. He did a beautiful job. You can go here and see a post I did about it.