Tis to be hoped that no one expects a fashion article from the above title, for I confess at the start that the most know-nothing clerk at the linen counter in any of our large dry goods stores knows more of “the fashion ” in towels than I do. Besides, to be in fashion — the latest fashion — a towel must be new ; and I find that I have very little affection
for my towels until they are old. It is my simple intention to say about common towels a few things that I have gleaned from my experience in a household where all sorts are used ; and as most homes are no more elegant than my own, these words may be of service to some one :
First of all, have plenty of towels. Comfort and cleanliness depend upon it. You can better afford to go without any ornaments whatever, than you can afford to have a scanty
supply of towels. I have visited where there were not enough, and been most uncomfortable. After one or two lessons, I learned to carry two or three towels in my trunk, although it is pleasant to add that I seldom have to use them.
Have them of a good size. They are more satisfactory and wear enough longer to pay for the difference in original cost. Somehow, one feels dryer if she has had enough of a
linen surface to dry upon. A friend of mine begs me not to forget to mention the misery and discomfort produced by the “summer resort” towel, about one-third as large as it should be, coarse, sleazy and mean, wetting through with the mere taking of it in the hands and before one has wiped at all. Most of us know. this towel, and love it not.
Shall the towels be fringed or not ? This is a matter of taste. Some one told me, the other day, that fringe was out of fashion and a hemstitched hem had taken its place. Indeed, I really heard this same statement long ago, but turned a deaf ear to it, as all my dear old towels had fringe, and I must give my allegiance and affection to them for a while to come. But a hem is really pleasanter than a fringe, and has the advantage of looking well to the very end, as fringe does not. Shall our towels be huck-a-back or damask ? That, too, is a matter of taste, but it is also a matter of complexion. The skin needs vigorous rubbing with a somewhat rough surface to keep the pores open ; and whatever false notions some girls and older persons may have, cleanliness and open pores are the first requisites of a good complexion. Huck-a-back seems best for general use, then ; but a few damask towels are a nice possession.
To get the ” new” out of towels it is a good plan to hang them out of doors wet and let them freeze. Does this imply buying them in the winter? Well, it is in the winter that most
of our large stores have their annual “linen sales.” O ye economical housekeeper! another bit of advice bearing upon nicety is : Iron your towels on both sides. It takes but little more time and makes them pleasanter to use. Just a word about bathing towels: Have Turkish towels if you can, for they are proper and a comfort.
There are few housekeepers who do not know the advantage of roller-towels at one or more places in their houses where frequent washing is done. There should at least be one in the kitchen and bath-room, or wherever else the family “flock ” to wash. In the “children’s room ” it presents great advantages. It is hung up, and not on the floor; it is always “there,” and does not have to be hunted for while wet hands are dripping, perhaps ; it rolls along from wet spots to dry, in a way very accommodating to a hurried boy or girl ; and it is not easy to use it for a wash-cloth. And here let me say in connection with all towels, that they are not wash-cloths, not even the corners of them, as many people seem to suppose.
The best thing of which to make roller-towels, is Russian crash. I am told it is woven by hand by Russian peasants. At any rate the best and medium qualities are more satisfactory for roller-towels than any other crash I know, and are least objectionable when new. Just here comes in a word 1 as to when to begin using new towels. Let it be in the summer time, when skins are not chapped or sensitive, and when laundry work is so much easier that the conscience feels less compunction at putting slightly soiled towels into the wash for frequent laundering. One who has ever supplied towels for i a group of growing boys and girls, will know that new towels in winter make sorry work. Nor is this at variance with ‘ the advice to buy in the winter. Buy and freeze, and then ‘ wait for summer to continue the necessary softening process.
One thing more : All know how very disagreeable new dish-towels are. Well, don’t have ’em! Go to the supply of roller-towels, select some of the oldest, best-softened ones, cut them in two, and hem at both ends. The dish-towels are thus never new, and the ample replenishing of roller-towels will make it all right. Does some one suggest that this is not a clean way to do? Then use more soap, water and boiling when you wash your roller-towels, and it will be.
Is there any use for other towels that have developed very thin “middles” and lost most of their fringe? If one has time to devote to such saving work, or if there are little girls in the family who need employment, my advice is to cut the towels down the center, lengthwise, and “over and over” the edges together. This gives a firm ” middle ” good enough to cut square wash-cloths from, for those who like such, or to use for any other purpose for which soft, old linen can be used.
Always have towels of linen. Do not be tempted into trying the cheaper cotton, which is very costly to temper and strength, as it leaves a disagreeable lint behind .it, in gentle protest. Once I was beguiled into it, and the experience now serves to put greater warmth into my advice.
One word about ” company ” towels, and I am done. Have them better than the family towels, if you please ; but be sure to have the family take the ” new ” off. This may be hard on the family, but the wiping guest will love you more, and leave behind a blessing instead of a reproach.