Monday, November 13, 2006

History in the making .....

I have just finished putting some wonderful new cushions made from homespun linen onto the website and it occured to me that, like many of our finds, you might be interested in finding out a bit more about it.

All of these linens would have been made at least 50-100 years ago all over Central Europe. They would have been woven at home by the women of the household, who would spend their evenings weaving these amazing rolls of linen. It took the average weaver 1 night to weave 60 centimeters ( 24 inches) of linen. The full story of how they were produced defies belief in this day and age, when we just go out a buy any fabrics that we need - the linen would have been grown, cut and dried. It would then be put in water (maybe a pond) and left for three months in order to soften it for spinning. It would then be taken out, thrashed, combed and finally spun into linen yarn. This would then have been woven into these rolls of linen fabric, to be used as sacks or maybe cart covers. Many of these rolls were woven to be part of a marriage dowry and would therefore have been stored away carefully. This is one of the reasons that we can find them still unused after all these years.

Most of the linen has coloured stripes down the centre - a decoration that would have been added by the women weavers - who would have had to dye the yarn themselves to achieve the lovely colours that we now see. Reds, blues and greens are found and even purples and ochres. It can be difficult to know their exact country of origin, so unless we are sure of their provenance, we will stick to "European". The cloths can also vary from a fairly smooth linen to the wonderfully rough hemp linen of these cushions.

Whatever their history, they make extremely versatile and useful cushions. We have red stripes in stock at the moment and are about to add a navy blue striped cloth. Available, of course, from!

Best wishes

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fascinating Fabrics

I thought you might be interested to hear how we find and process the wonderful fabrics that we use at Twice. The first port of call for us when we are trawling for fabrics is antique fairs and auctions. Then we also work with dealers in the UK, on the Continent and in the States who specialise in antique and vintage fabrics. The variety of fabrics available at Twice is so wide that at any one time there will be gorgeous English chintzes that you might recognise from Granny's curtains to vintage Provencal prints to turn of the century American patchwork. One of the attractions of the Twice range is that it is so eclectic, but there are many fabrics that don't quite work for us, so we have to get the right feeling from a fabric before we will accept it.

Once the fabric arrives back at Twice, it is washed and ironed in our laundry - in addition to making sure that all our fabrics are clean and fresh when they get to you, this also means that we know that these old fabrics can withstand washing. If it struggles at this stage, then it won't make it any further. It is worth pointing out, however, that these are old fabrics which have already been used for another purpose before they are made up by Twice - it is likely that some signs of their previous life will remain after washing, but they will only be small and are part of the fabric's character.

We then review the fabrics to see which of our designs would look best in a particular pattern and we consider what uses it will be suitable for - for example, if it is a more fragile fabric, we will use it for products that will not need regular washing or take hard wear and tear. Every effort is made to ensure that fabrics are up to the job.

The fabric is then made up locally into the chosen design and finally makes its way to you from our headquarters here in Perth.

We've just added a few new designs to the range - drop into and look at the Covered Baskets and Sugar Bowl Candles - both vintage Twice!

Best wishes