Monday, August 23, 2010

hankie house

There are some handcrafts that I quietly scoff ...crochet sugar bowl doilies and pot plant hangers, fancy tissue box covers and the like. The purely decorative aspect with seemingly little necessary function. Craft for crafts sake. The-"don't you have anything better to do?'-crafting. The dust gatherers.

Previously, I would of put a 'hankie house' in that category of hilarious, time wasting,
craft practice. But having seen this and electing to make the switch from disposable tissues to regular handkerchiefs, I am full of praises for the practically of the 'hankie house'.

However, there was initially some contention and debate over this converting...

The Mr used to buy disposables, two jumbo boxes at a time, one for work and one for home, always an arms length away and adamant they were softer on the nose and more hygienic.

But it hurt my wallet to buy them and it never sat right with me.

I had a feeling that going to cloth (like the nappy thing) was likely to make me more organized and less likely to rely on some vague notion of convenience and expedience that tissue companies promote.

It seems to me the ads are brain washing us into feeling that tissues are a real need (in stead of a perceived one) and that anything else is some how unsavoury and regressive.

Aside from the disposability of tissues and the associated expense, I beg to differ when it comes to issues of hygiene and softness.

The cost of washing hankies is negligible when they are tossed in with your regular washing.
I estimate you can get about 10 years use from your average hankie (try not to drop it okay)

And how many people actually wash their hands thoroughly, every time they wipe their (or their children's) noses anyway? there's nothing worse in time of need, than finding a half disintegrated, dead tissue, drowned from the last wash in your pocket, and trying to unfold the powdery wad to use on a child whose big snot candle is about to drip into their mouth!

From my own experience and anecdotally substantive online research it seems well documented that a cotton hankie will always be much nicer on the nose than wood chip/pulp based tissues.

It must be noted though, that polyester hankies aren't so good.
A poly cotton mix is OK but the 100% cotton ones always feel the best. Voile cottons are divine. So too are the light weight linens. Silk is heaven.

As for the over compensatory practice of coating tissues in pseudo natural products like aloe vera and eucalyptus oil etc's quite frankly more spooge I can do without. see here

My favourite hankies are the ones I've had for years, gifted by grandmas who knew good hankies when they saw them.

And here comes a confession with a stigma...

...if I'm out opp shopping and I spy a stack of talcum powder/granny smelling hankies straight from an estate nicker draw, I will scoop them up and suppress a squeal of delight to the op shop gods. The soft worn cotton feels like home (even if it is someone else's) and is good to use straight away, where as, the overly stiff, tightly woven hankies of new need a few washes to relax the weave.

Some of the much older handkerchiefs are worthy of a close examination (no, not for unwashed crusties!) but to really appreciate the handwork detailing:

...the ladylike fabrics with pretty floral motifs in the finest weave, the sentimentality of hand embroidered linens, the pretty crochet trims and delicate edging, the meticulous tatting and lace work made from minute holes.

Ebay has a surprising amount of vintage hankie-trading traffic going on.

Although this is a fairly affordable hobby (say compare to classic cars, or Victorian teddy bears) die hard hankie collectors will be willing to pay upwards of $100 US for rare and excellent examples of snot rags.

On that note, if you want to read about hankie collecting read this
But if you want to make a 'hankie house' like mine here's how:

fabric required:

front panels are both 2x 18x 20 cm
back panel is 22x 32
the handle is 30x 8 cms
zip 20-30 cm

finished size: 18x 30

Front: fold front opening hems under 1 cms twice and top stitch 1 cm on front

Back: fold the zip seam allowance under 1 cm both sides of zip. Sew in place.

Handle: fold handle in half length ways and iron and open, fold long sides into the middle, then in half again to make 30x 2 cm long handle

Sandwich front and back panels together and pin with handle ends protruding from the top (handle inside sandwich)

Sew 1 cm seam allowance around all 4 sides.

Turn right side out through the front opening and hand stitch front opening shut leaving 4 inch (10 cm) opening from which to pull your hankies out.
I used echino linen on the front and and tawny linen stripe on the back.

Ours is hung by our front door so that we can just grab one when we are on our way out (if we don't already have one in our pocket)

I generally go for the one hankie per person for one day deal.

At the end of each day they go into the wash.

So far it's working really well and no one is complaining!

So... I've taken things a step further...
...and I'm now making my own hankies!!

(I am boarder line embarrassed about this...and you may find it cringe worthy)

But...It only cost me $11.20 to make 16! (70 cents and maybe two minutes of my time each!)

They are 35 cm light weight 100% cotton squares, ironed and hemmed with a roll hem (or any basic hem you can be bothered doing)

Now all the men in my life will know what (cheap! eco! plaid!) presents they'll be getting from me for all the upcoming birthdays, christmases, fathers days etc

And to finish with a joke..

How do you make a handkerchief dance?

... Put a little boogie in it!