Friday, 13 August 2010

SWEET COLOURS are in good taste

Hempolin tea towels

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black/white pillow case
sweetie stripes on a grain sack

It was time to re-stock my reserve of rustic hemp, so went off to my supplier, and I had a lovely time rooting through a huge new stock that had just arrived from the furthest parts of Eastern Europe by lorry. I had no idea that the attractive grain sacks in handwoven hemp came in such a vast variation of colour and design. The stripes of colour woven into them were a sort of bar-code for identifying the actual village that the grain came from, so that the empty sacks could be returned to their owners. Most people have seen the common bright red and strong blue stripes, sometimes combined with large cross-stitched initials, known as Hungarian sacks. I have used them for years to cover French easy chairs. Now I was seeing (and buying) a wide variety of coloured stripes and very distinctive weaves, some in very close herringbone patterns, others looser and coarser, no doubt suitable for different crops and seeds that they might contain. Amongst the best were a whole lot in what I can only call toffee, butterscotch and caramel stripes, which with the creamy back ground of basic hemp, were lovely and very subtle in a muted palette. The black and white linen mix was very striking and has the latest contemporary look. I intend to re-cover my own fireside chair with toffee! Will post its portrait when done. You need to choose the closer weaves for chairs in constant use as some are fairly loose-woven and stretch and sag. I am getting very keen on hemp as an eco-friendly material with huge potential and I will keep on encouraging people to use this valuable stuff.

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