On Linens and Life: The Simplest Things

December 30, 2013

Millions of products are manufactured every year. Some are beautiful. Some are useful. Some are neither. Last year, we walked down the narrow streets of Venice and came upon a Fortuny shop that sold the most beautiful lamps that I had ever seen. Above my price range, I simply admired them and moved on. Happily, not all appealing products break the bank.

At the moment, I am very pleased with an inexpensive but clever little idea hanging from our oven handle. It's a tea towel made from a textured, tactile linen that's rather pretty, but that part is just a nice bonus. Its design is what impresses me. In busy households, people use the kitchen sink for a wide variety of wet tasks, then grab the closest fabric to dry their hands and either leave the damp cloth on the counter, or make a halfhearted attempt to put it back where they found it. It usually ends up on the floor. At the end of the day, we're left with a rather substantial assortment of cloths that may have dried hands, wiped up a spill, been walked upon or a thousand other possibilities. So, when I go to dry my own hands, I'm never really sure what I'm reaching for.

This brings me back to the towel hanging over the oven. The design that makes this towel clever is amazingly simple. Laid flat, it is a rectangular piece of absorbent linen with Velcro at each end. Once hung over the rail, the ends are joined and suddenly, the owner is blessed with a towel that nearly shouts, "For Hands Only". It doesn't fall on the floor after use, it doesn't double as a cleaning cloth. It simply stays where you've hung it until it's time to throw it in the washing machine.

Yes, I know, this little tea towel may not solve global warming but I like clever, practical things. It's also a nod to the past. My grandmother used to have one on her oven too, though in those days, it was likely made from a sewing scrap and fastened by buttons instead of Velcro. Somehow, despite its usefulness, the design went by the wayside because buttons and button holes took longer to manufacture and were dispensed with in the modern move toward economical production. That may have been good for the factory's bottom line, but in my humble opinion, not so good for the well -functioning kitchen.

So I'm left with a product that offers two things I really like - a vintage look and a promise of a better functioning space. So, check out our "endless towels". It's an idea you might just love.