Sunday, 6 July 2014

We meet again!

Natural Flemish linen trimmed withl linen tape         
    I wrote a BLOG about some interesting, unused, natural taupe linen sleeping bag liners, ex-French army issue, some time ago(see my BLOG 'And no birds sing') and only yesterday met a charming lady from Tennessee traveling with a party to visit Bath and local friends, who had bought two of the linings from me (I had 100, now all gone all over USA), and she told me what wonderful quality stuff it is - there is great interest in hemp, hand-woven linen and rough sacking and other rustic materials both in the States and in this country,- it's interesting what a long way the fashion has gone from the silks, cotton chintzes and gauzes and frilly trimmings of the 80s and 90s. to the contemporary  simple appeal of texture and good wearing qualities, both in clothing and furnishing.  I think this is partly due to our general feeling that quality is important, waste and extravagant over-spending are not liked and as we are all so busy, that efficient and long lasting products are popular and can be such good value.  If you are eco.- and conservation-minded, hemp needs no fertilizer and very little water to grow,  linen needs more, and needs intensive labour;  but cotton is actually the worst, demanding huge amounts of water,  grown in areas where the water is very precious, and the processes used to produce the final fibres are full of  toxic chemicals.  My local, rather sporty shop, (in B.o A,) PIHA sells hemp smocks and shirts and has already sold out!  They are popular as they absorb moisture from the body and stay cool, so are very healthy - bed sheets of hemp have the same quality, and are useful in preventing bed sores and rashes for those confined to bed for a long time.   I believe I was almost the first to use the now quite common, striped, Hungarian hemp grain sacks with bright red and royal blue stripes and often with large initials in cross stitch as well,  and a photo of them on two French armchairs I had covered, featured in a magazine may have started the vogue.   They are quite attractive and extremely hard wearing - but personally I prefer the Ukraine grain sacks which are closer woven and have gentler shades of brown for their signature stripes.  I was amused, and pleased, that my clever and economical upholstery lady even used the string on the sacks for tieing them up when full of corn, to make little bows on each corner of the cushion.  Nothing wasted!  This chair and cushion took up two sacks (cost £35 each) and I covered the back of the chair with a salvaged piece of plain hemp sheet that had a hole in it and had two arm caps and head-rest made, so I could wash them when they got marked.    More economy!  I have plenty of these Ukraine sacks, all unused, for sale.   Email

Armchair  and an extra cushion covered with two Ukrainian hemp sacks                                                                                                                                                                 

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