Thursday, May 12, 2011

6 French Linen Damask Napkins Hand Emroidery Monogram Letters "EC"

The first of the French Monogrammed Napkins are Washed, Dried and Ironed!

Double Monogram "EC"
Hmmm...........Eric Clapton, Edward Cullen (For you "Twilight" Fans!)

Bundled in Ribbon and Ready for Sale!
(When I have a web site up and running that is!)

So this morning I get up energized and excited that I've actually gotten the first of over a hundred French Linens washed, dried and beautifully ironed! I'm so proud of myself. I tie them into a cute little bundle with a pretty French blue ribbon with my little Faux French Chateau tag. Wonderful, wonderful! So then I think I'll start writing descriptions of my French Finds as I get them washed, ironed and ready to photograph for the store.  Easy you might think?  Well, not so much!

Here's the thing - Do any of you know how to tell the difference between cotton, linen, or worse yet, a cotton/linen blend?  In an effort to follow a policy of "Truth in Advertising," I set out to find definitiveness on how to do this very thing.

I'd started out with the product description by writing "6 French linen damask napkins hand embroidery monogram letters "EC" or, as the French would describe them, "6 serviettes damassées pur lin monogramme brodé main "EC." Then I thought, am I absolutely sure they are linen?  Could the sweet little French woman who sold them to me under that romantic French awning have been mistaken?  Could I just go with it and label them as she had labeled them? NOPE.  I have to find out. I am who I am.

Try doing a search like this on the Internet. It will drive you crazy or the circles you'll go in will at least make you dizzy.

We all know the "dictionary" description of Linen - It is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum).  It is labor-intensive to make but when made into clothes it is valued for its coolness and freshness in hot weather. But how can you tell when linen is linen?

The first web page I found in my search started talking about the "burn test."  No, thank you, I'll continue on my search.

Then I find a site that tells me to spit on my finger and press it to the underside of the cloth.  If the moisture wicks along the fiber lines of the fabric, then it is linen. So, I think "why spit, why not just a little drop of water out of the sanitary faucet?"  So I drop a little drop of water onto the backside of the napkin and low and behold the drop follows the weave of the fiber. (On a cotton fiber cloth, the drop of water will remain whole a moment before sinking in.)

I also found this little pearl of domestic wisdom. When you wash fabrics, both linen and cotton will come out wrinkled. but when you iron the piece while it's still wet, just wrung out gently between a clean white towel, and iron it dry...linen will be crisp almost like it was starched. Cotton will not be. 

Here's another trick for those of you who care and like to play with your linens, on a light colored fabric,  place a drop of olive oil on a sample of the material, blot it in, then hold the sample over a dark background. If the spot appears translucent, the material is linen. If it is opaque, it is cotton. You may have just ruined your antique napkin, but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing its true fiber content!

So with this little mystery solved, and with the satisfaction of knowing that the little French woman was ever so honest, I then get to the details of the monogram for the product description.  I know it is a double monogram of "EC" but was it hand embroidered or machine?  Are those French knots in the design or not?  I think this is a good subject for another blog post on another day.

If any of you have any pearls of wisdom on any of this, please, please let me know!

Au revoir, Mitty

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