Tuesday, 9 June 2015

50 ways to use a tea towel part 7 In Which We Learn Stuff

A complete and accurate history of the tea towel based on 20 minutes of internet research... true to the best of my limited knowledge! (probably totally inaccurate, do not quote this in your doctoral thesis!)
The term tea towel seems to have been coined in the 18th century... possibly around the time us Brits became tea obsessed!

A brief internet search throws up a myriad of different origins of the humble tea towel from:

Way 22 - A towel made of fine linen for drying the best china

Way 23 - A beautiful decoratively embroidered towel which was used to line a tea tray to catch drips and/or:

Way 24 - To prevent the tea service sliding about on the tray.

In the 19th century Tea Time became a very popular almost universal daily event in Britain. Tea Time developed into a very serious affair accompanied by the families finest china, crystal and linens. The British lady of the house took great pride in her tea service and display and most probably her tea towel tho it's not as nifty as mine and cannot be fashioned into:

Way 25 - A very fine turban for the small of head


Way 26 - A rather splendid shawl or scarf


but could also be :

Way 27 - Wrapped around a tea pot as a sort of cosy. (ok we did this with a coffee pot but a teapot is different right? And I still have 23 more to go so give me a break!)

Way 28 - Used as a basket warmer, laid over the top of a serving basket or bowl to keep scones of fresh muffin warm (English muffin folks, the type you toast... not the huge cakey type of muffin which you should stuff in your face without warming first!) 

Way 29 - Ladies would often embroider tea towels with their own motifs... if ours wasn't gorgeous enough for you you could always add some embellishments, a french knot or two... perhaps some sequins? Maybe not the sequins!

The material tea towels are made from also provides a workable background to be decorated with embroidery. The ladies of this period often embroidered their own personal tea towels used during tea time

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/facts_5615509_history-tea-towel.html
The material tea towels are made from also provides a workable background to be decorated with embroidery. The ladies of this period often embroidered their own personal tea towels used during tea time

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/facts_5615509_history-tea-towel.html
The material tea towels are made from also provides a workable background to be decorated with embroidery. The ladies of this period often embroidered their own personal tea towels used during tea time

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/facts_5615509_history-tea-towel.html



Way 30 - As an improvised canvas, while my lovely doodle birds tea towel is far too gorgeous to paint on if you have ran out of canvas and are at the mercy of the muse, like Van Gogh you could improvise a canvas with a tea towel. Apparently he often did this and a still life with flowers painted on a tea towel fetched £2.1 million at an auction in 2000!

Ta da! 

Thus ends our completely inaccurate history of the tea towel! My rather splendid rainbow doodle birds tea towel is available at my Kickstarter here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/feltmeupdesigns/feltmeupdesigns-rainbow-doodle-birds-printed-tea-thttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/feltmeupdesigns/feltmeupdesigns-rainbow-doodle-birds-printed-tea-t

4 comments:

Heather Leavers said...

My gran embroidered tray cloths - or in your version, way23&24. I think I even did one myself way back in the early 60s!

Lynda pinfold said...

You're doing great Mel 😊 xxx

Lynda pinfold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynda pinfold said...

Will keep an eye out for you when we're in Scarborough xx