FRENCH TEA TOWELS … TORCHONS!

 

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“”I’ve brought you something from Paris”.

She wiped the gray dust of Paris from her valise.  Unfastened the buckles.  Out tumbled yards and yards of linen.

 

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“This is what I found the second time I went to the Sunday Flea Market.    It’s  métis – tea toweling.  It’s made to the exact width and all you have to do is cut along this woven line in the weave and voila  you have your towel.”

 

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I caressed the fabric, feeling the glazed finish that protected the fibers.

“It’s beautiful. There’s enough fabric to make  a set of four tea towels.”

The fastidious French kitchen required tea towels to be in sets of four, each with a loop for hanging.  The quartet of towels were used for separate tasks – hands, glassware, dishes and cutlery.

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The well appointed French kitchen had a towel rack with four hooks.  Each hook labeled for the corresponding towel.

Mains, verres, couteaux and vaisselle” said my well-traveled friend. “You’re clever with a needle.   Embroider your initials in red.     If you ever send them to the blanchisserie (laundry) you identify your tea towels.”

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I will cut and sew and embroider my tea towels.  I will hang them from loops in my French butler’s pantry.   I will take joy, much joy in the simple beauty of a tea towel.

 

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19 thoughts on “FRENCH TEA TOWELS … TORCHONS!

  1. Lovely! Headed to France today, although I don’t know that there are any of these beauties in my future. I still have flour sack towels and love their size and absorbability.

    janet

    • Growing up just after the great depression I am very familiar with flour sack towels. My Mother would wash and bleach them white, carefully iron them, then she would embroider a beautiful design on the fabric. I occasionally find in thrift shops and estate sales and I buy every one. Bon Voyage my friend.

  2. I so agree with Far-away-Friend Donna……this so very reminds me of my Mother and the care she would take in creating beautiful tea towels. I have these treasures tucked away in the butler’s pantry and take them out to hold them close from time to time. Your post has touched my heart, dear one…..misty eyes and melancholy.

    • I wanted to share my joy in the beautiful fabric my dear friend Dellis fetched me from Paris. I discover I have opened the flood-gates to so many memories. This humble item. This so necessary item in our kitchen. It has polished every day dishes, platters at Christmas, serving bowls for Sunday suppers, plates from a child’s birthday. We who reign in the kitchen know how important tea towels are. XXX OOO to E & A

  3. I can’t tell you how desperately I have searched through the fabric shops here for exactly this! I love these T Towels but they are impossible to find here. Oh How I envy you and your wonderful friend who knows exactly what you like!.. c

    • We drove my friend and her husband to the airport. ” Bring me back a Paris newspaper” I said as I waved good-bye. Instead the dear girl – who knows exactly what I like – gifted me with my favorite treats from Laduree AND linen tea toweling material. I was overwhelmed. I do have such thoughtful friends. XX V.

    • Beauty is indeed in the details my friend. And what a pleasure it is to pay attention to the details. I love the time I spend in our kitchen and I like my dish clothes to be white, white, white and always fresh. My tea towels are beautiful ironed and I sometimes keep a few flowers in my fridge for the sheer pleasure of seeing them each time it open it. It is called “the beautiful eye”.

  4. My mother had flour sack tea towels and feed sack tea towels but we called them dish towels in Texas. There were a few fancy ones that were embroideryed with perhaps the days of the week. Today I have more practical ones that I can bleach. I always learn some French from your posts! Your tea towels are beautiful!

    • I love that so many of us still remember flour sacks being made into tea towels, Jo Nell. Sugar sacks were not as tightly woven. Some flour sack manufacturers even bagged their flour in bags with printed designs, a marketing ploy to encourage woman to buy the more attractive flour sacks to be turned into useful items. My Mother was born in London, England, and tea towels is the British name for dish towels.

    • It is lovely that something common place and used frequently is appreciated by so many of us. When I travel I almost always bring home tea towels. Not the ones that say “souvenir of” but tea towels with beautiful designs or colours. Easy to tuck into my valise and wonderful to enjoy.

    • Resa my darling girl is am so sorry to read about your sister. This is a difficult road you are on and I understand how difficult it is for you. My heart and my love go out to you and your sister. XXX OOO Virginia

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