Many patterns associated with American coverlets can actually trace their origins to linen weaving. The blocks that create these patterns could be woven in many other structures, one of the most common being spotweave. These napkins feature a design commonly called Blooming Leaf or Double Bow Knot in coverlet circles. The radiating lines of floats swell from the center and recede again, creating the illusion of curvilinear movement and volume. It's a clever trick, as brilliant as it is simple.
I prefer to make large napkins; open them full size for formal occasions, or fold them up for everyday use. Woven of natural gray singles linen yarn, their color will gently mellow with age into a buttery cream color, a testament to the many meals they've witnessed. Linen has a uniquely elegant versitility, beautiful when line dried with casual wrinkles, or ironed to bring a high gloss to the spotweave pattern. A well made linen napkin is an investment that will serve dutifully on the table for decades.
*Diaper was originally the name for a family of linen fabrics woven with an all-over geometric pattern that was popular for table and kitchen linens as well as drapery and clothing. The name entered Middle English from the Old French "diaspre," and was in use by the 15th century. When these textiles were worn out they were reused for baby clouts or napkins, (hence the British "nappy,") and in the United States eventually the fabric name stuck to that child-rearing essential. Don't be ashamed to cover your table with beautiful, absorbent linen diaper.
Napkin—Blooming Leaf Diaper
- 25" x 26"—Aproximately, actual dimensions may vary +/- 1"
- Singles linen warp, singles linen weft
- Natural gray
- Spot weave
- Hemmed on two ends, all sewing by hand
- Wash warm to cold, line dry, iron if desired