Tuesday, April 7, 2009
"The Kitchen Linens Book" by EllynAnne Geisel
Textiles collector EllynAnne Geisel, author of "The Apron Book," has a wonderful new book out, "The Kitchen Linens Book," that was just a joy to read. I know many of us are fans of vintage linens, and I have to say this lovely book is everything I'd hoped it would be and more. (I'll tell you about the "and more" shortly.) The cover alone was a good indicator that I would like what's inside.
Geisel says a lot of her towels from the thirties and forties (like the ones in this great tea-themed spread) are towels she uses for drying dishes, with the towels made of linen or a linen and cotton blend. "Drying towels like this were once called 'tea towels,' not because they were used for tea, but because the mistress of the house used them to dry her fine bone china tea service," she says. You'll also find great tips like this one: "If you must use fabric softener on your bath towels, leave your kitchen towels out of that load. Linen fibers coated with softener will wind up leaving smears on your glassware." She also writes about enjoying afternoon tea and tells how to brew a proper pot, accompanied by a photo of a teapot I've never seen before, a yellow one with the word "BREW" and three cups embossed on it. Guess what I'll be looking for now?
With kitchen linens so often relegated to the junk heap in antique malls and thrift stores, it's gratifying to see Geisel giving these vintage treasures the respect they deserve. And if you finish this book itching for more kitchen linens of your own, never fear. Geisel concludes with a gift for her readers tucked right inside the back cover, a reproduction of a 1945 Butterick transfer pattern featuring teacups and teapots!