I’m a huge fan of linen. Not necessarily to wear (I’m pathologically lazy when it comes to ironing), but for use in the home: as bedding, curtains and towels. This is a learnt behaviour from my mother, I’m sure; she loves this natural fibre with a fervour and has been collecting it for many years.
It’s not hard to understand why: beyond its rustic, authentic beauty, linen is resilient, absorbent, and gets better and softer with age. There are a million uses for linen around the home, but here are just a few of mine.
Linen sheets are pretty much the ultimate in luxury, and on a hot summer’s night, I can’t think of anything I’d rather sleep on. My parents bought their first set while on holiday in Italy many years ago, and have been collecting ever since. While at first the sheets can be stiff and a little scratchy, pretty soon they soften and become as smooth as silk. If you can’t handle the idea of linen sheets (or the idea of ironing them, which is the only thing that keeps me in cotton), think about a linen duvet cover.
In the US area does amazing linen bedding, and I’ve recently discovered Rough Linen as well. Linen bedding is expensive, but its growing popularity means that there are deals to be found if you hunt hard enough.
Linen’s absorbency factor really comes into play in the kitchen, and the fibre has been used for tea towels and washcloths for hundreds (thousands?) of years. I like plan white tea towels, but the traditional red- or blue-striped are a classic.
Linen kitchen towels are relatively easy to find: any good kitchen shop should have some imported from Ireland, Italy or Sweden, and Google is your friend as well (the above ones are from Etsy). Some of the best (read: strongest and most absorbent) ones are actually vintage, so hit up flea markets at home and when you travel, as well. I’ve even been known to sew my own tea towels from (the outer sections of) worn-out linen sheets!
Linen is also useful in the bathroom, and makes the most luxurious bath towels. Swedish brand Växbo does amazing ones– my mother bought one of their Bubbel bath sheets a few years ago, and let me tell you this thing is amazing. Oversized, ultra-absorbant and soft as anything, not to mention hella chic hanging in the bathroom. I’d be replacing all my towels with them if it wasn’t for the outrageous price.
There you have it: all the reasons I love linen so, and where I like to use it. Are you a linen fan? Any resources to share?