Monday, 14 November 2011

Where did I put that Towel?

   The French housewife of pre-war years was a very methodical worker who followed the traditions and customs of her mother and grandmother. Her wedding dowry, if her parents were rich, could consist of dozens of sheets and all the other bed and table linen required for a large family, masses of all kinds of torchons, the ubiquitous coarse cloths used for cooking, baking, butchery, dairy work, etc., and a great pile of tea towels for drying different vessels after washing up; for pots and pans, for cutlery, for china, and extra fine for glass (woven with red check pattern). Tea towels all had stripes running through them and most had neat red initials embroidered on one corner. Some (especially from the Basque region), have very glossy, elaborate weave patterns, and many of my customers have used them to make kitchen curtains, cushions and bench seating as they obviously stand up to hard wear and lots of washing. All are unused and often still tied up in their original string packs from the convents and small cloth mills where they were woven and hand-finished.  I am showing them here in my capacious Irish Regency pine housekeeper's cupboard which was designed to hold all the linen of a large household, all kept under lock and key.  The cupboard is now surplus and for sale, as I am converting the room into a spare bedroom.    It's a pretty wonderful piece of 'household' furnishing, genuine and useful in any large room.All details from me at .

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