In our August box this year we were happy to include an antique French tea cloth, with its traditional red stripe, or red grid pattern.
While hunting for the teacloths over the past months, we were amazed and the many different qualities of fabric. Some pure linen, some pure cotton and some a cotton linen mix, or even a rough textured hemp.
As a consequence nearly every box that we despatched, contains a different version of the teacloth. Some with monograms, others not, some with tags for hanging from a hook, some hand hemmed …. the list of variations is very long.
One of the reasons for the very individual nature of what appears to be a very mundane household item, is that many of the bigger houses would spin and weave their own linen. The monogrammed initials, if they are present, were not just for decoration but also for laundry days when all the maids in the village would be washing the linens at the village wash house and it was easy to mistake which textiles to take home.
Happily today, the era of hand washing is behind us, and the teacloths can quite safely be washed in a machine. Many of the cloths we despatched were over 100 years old, but they are incredibly robust, and can be washed at a hot temperature, and will only become more supple and soft with each wash.
We hope that you enjoy using your antique French tea cloth, and seeing it in your kitchen. And every time you use it, try to imagine the household that it was originally made for, and how our kitchens have evolved through the years.