Speaking of Antiquing – November 2014

Traditional Holiday Dinners evoke many emotions because of the traditions we try to keep, the family members we celebrate with, the family members who are missed or missing, the friends we include, and the items we employ to create the desired effect at the dining table.

Many of us begin our table setting using a treasured tablecloth used only once or twice a year.

Tablecloths may be lace, linen, silk, cotton, or wool.

When one was in the market for a fine tablecloth, the material that immediately came to mind was linen. Linen, which was woven from the flax plant, is used to describe a specific type of fabric as well as a generic term referring to textiles from sheets and pillowcases to napkins and tablecloths.

Traditional lace tablecloths largely from Italy, France, and Ireland found their way around the world onto many American dining tables. Many lace makers used old- world methods such as needle lace, tatting, crocheting, and bobbin lace. Machine manufacturing of lace allowed lace tablecloths to be mass-produced for the world market, but did not deter from the intricacies and beauty it adds to a home. Nothing sets off the elegance of fine china, crystal, and silver better than a lovely lace tablecloth.

Damask tablecloths are recognized for their special weaving techniques, originating in Damascus, Syria, producing patterns that appear to shimmer above their background cloth. Oftentimes the backgrounds are the same color, white on white for example, creating floral or geometric designs that are striking and lovely. This type of tablecloth has gone out of favor as they require careful ironing, though the effort is well worth it. Many folks have sets of napkins to match, creating an elegant dining experience.

Colorful linen or cotton mid-century tablecloths are always a pleasure to use. Coming into style in the 1930’s to cheer-up a drab depression era home, these tablecloths were wildly accepted. Whether using china or pottery, these tablecloths add a beauty and charm that is unequaled. Many are floral or geometric in bold primary colors for complimenting your Fiesta Ware or colorful pottery such as Franciscan or Bauer.

There is no set rule as to how you use these lovely items that are handed down through the generations, but it is important that you do use them.

Be careful with cleaning your tablecloth, especially fine lace. Bleach and lemon juice are very acidic and will eat away at the fibers if not rinsed thoroughly. Detergents will fade the bold colors of your linen, so find a low acid product that professional quilters and lace restorers use called Orvus Quilt Soap or Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover and follow instructions. Using a mild solution of Dawn dishwashing soap works well on gravy, as Dawn is wonderful at removing grease.

Enjoy your linens and lace and have a very wonderful Holiday Season. At Pickety Place we have a large selection of tablecloths, both linen and lace for you to choose from.