Nine. Linen, An Ode.

Dish towels and bath towels on a linen duvet cover

We’re talking about linen, here.  As in, the fabric made from the fibers of the flax plant. But we’re also talking about linens here, because I happen to like my linens to be linen.

My love of linen grew from my early adolescence and came from my mother.  Her love of linen, I believe, started (or was cemented, perhaps) when my grandmother (my mother’s, mother-in-law) passed away, and we were cleaning out her house.  Low and behold, we discovered a treasure trove of linen linens in the form of a chest of unused linen dishtowels that my grandmother had received for her wedding.

Naturally, we promptly set about using them.  (There were so many, and they last for so long, that when Chris and I moved in together 20-some-odd years later, I got some towels that still were unused.)


It turns out that linen dishtowels are amazing.  Seriously.  They dry dishes like nobody’s business.  In fact, in addition to being lightweight and cool to wear, linen is known for being incredibly absorbent, and, while it is normally a durable fiber anyway, it’s even stronger when it’s wet.

I’m not kidding.  If you have cotton dishtowels, get thee to a store (or open a new internet browser) and invest in one, just one, linen dishtowel. (I’ve got a couple of these that I really like.)  Trust me.  Linen is more expensive than cotton, but the towel should last you a really, really long time.  Over time and washing, it will become softer, but it will still dry like a boss. It will last you longer, too, if you avoid bleaching and avoid drying it in the dryer (as will all of your textiles, but that’s another post for another day).  Also, if cost is a factor and you have even an inkling of craftiness, you can sew your own pretty easily and at a fraction of the cost.  (An even lower cost would be a linen/cotton blend, but I say go all in with 100% linen and never look back.)

Linen dish towels from Snowe, from Italy, from my mother’s sewing machine, and from my grandmother’s stash.

Also, yes, linen wrinkles easily, but, frankly, I don’t mind the rumply look one bit.  I never iron my linen kitchen towels, bath towels, duvet covers, pants, or shirts (and yes, I have all of these).  I don’t iron in part because I’m lazy a busy mom but also because it’s not really good for the fabric, as “constant creasing in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads.”

So there it is, my ode to linen.  I’m itching to get my mitts on some linen sheets like these – swoon! – but I haven’t clicked the buy button yet.  You know, king-sized bed and all….

Mother-made linen bath towels

(Also, did you ever decide that a word sounded funny?  About three sentences into this post, I decided that linen is a funny word. Linen linen linen…)


4 thoughts on “Nine. Linen, An Ode.

    1. I don’t think anyplace special! The brown towel fabric was on-sale at Joann’s. I found a decent cotton-linen blend on once that’s still waiting to be made into towels (Chris doesn’t like the feel of 100% linen 😕)


  1. I’m with Chris. 100% linen is too itchy for me. Not sure if you remember those J Crew linen pants I had in grad school I never wore b/c of how they felt. I AM interested in trying the fabric for dish towels though…


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