Monday, June 1, 2009

Setting the Table

One thing I used to collect was vintage tablecloths. Those printed cloths that were made from the 1930s to 1960s. They were printed with florals or fruits. Some had geometric shapes. Others were whimsical with drawings of kitchen utensils. There were also cloths that pictured scenery and people.

Saying I collect them isn't quite right. I didn't buy the tablecloths and safely store them. I used them. And that's why I only have a few left. (There's several more somewhere. Probably in the laundry.)

And saying I used to collect them isn't quite right either. I still keep my eye out for these beautiful old tablecloths. There aren't as many out there anymore and the prices have gotten sky-high. So I've gotten a lot fussier about the condition of the tablecloth in order to justify the cost.

But when I use these tablecloths, I think of the other women who set their tables with them. Did they like to place the dishes just-so to best show the motifs? Did they use them to bring some color to the table? Did anybody else bring out the strawberry tablecloth on the gloomiest, coldest winter day?

Do I set my table with their memories? Is our present and future served up along with other times, other people?


stringplay said...

LOVE this post and love the picture of the beautiful cloths. Kay also has quite a few that I've gotten to admire in person.

This reminded me of an article from a needlework publication that only ran a short time, "Treasures in Needleework" (a BHG pub) so I just had to go dig out the premier issue [1992] and the article by Rosemary Drysdale. In it she wrote, "needlework doesn't belong in a drawer...It belongs in our lives now." This is equally true of anything beautiful that brings up such pleasure and JOY.

Anonymous said...

I love old colorful tablecloths too. The ones in the photo are gorgeous. I also think of the women who used them or embroidered them.

sherriknits said...

I "collect/use" these, too! My favorite one has cherries on it. I LOVE them!

Iron Needles said...

I love vintage textiles! These are beautiful.

Thank you for your good and healing thoughts.

marie said...

Thanks for the Bette Davis info, wish I could find the pattern she was working or a better photo. Ms. Davis must have been both a knitter and a crocheter, cause in "Phone Call from a Stranger" she is knitting socks in bed. If anyone has anything more on Ms. David "The Letter" crochet, please send it to me:

Thanks again! Love everything!