Wednesday, 12 June 2013

WIPW - Paper, but it ought to have been...

In today's Work In Progress Wednesday 'Kafferepet' report, I want to show you another important item for the coffee party, the napkin or serviette.


These are meant to look like paper napkins (although any quilter will of course know this is appliquéd fabric, ha, ha), but they ought to have been linen serviettes.

As it stains easily, in the 1960s the linen napkin began to be replaced with disposable paper serviettes. These days they can be found in a variety of colours and patterns, often reflecting the season.




For the elegant table setting the napkins should be folded. I found this book from Ica Förlaget, printed 1969.





It shows in detailed diagrams over thirty different ways of folding. For example 'The Princess' to the left and 'The Water Lily' to the right. In the latter one can place a roll or bun.
In the book is also a good illustration of a Kafferepet table, and you might recognise several of the items I have included in my quilt.
Coffee cups, spoons,  napkins, candles, a green Princess cake with the pink marzipan carnation. Instead of the china coffee pot there is a rather ugly thermos pot.

Before we leave the subject of napkins, may I tell you a bit about the Japanese custom?
At home, napkins are seldom used, even when there are guests, you simply reach for a tissue from the box. Instead you might have on hand a small (dish)cloth, wet but well wrung out,.
Guests might each be offered a nice clean one, called 'oshibori', beautifully placed on a small bamboo tray.
It is actually quite common that you are given such an 'osibori' in a restaurant, these days they might be of paper.
The serviettes offered at coffee shops is usually a scant piece of glossy tissue, good enough for wiping your mouth maybe, but how do you protect your clothes?
Well, you carry a handkerchief of course, and spread it on your lap. Anyone who has been to a Japanese department store will know the huge selection of handkerchiefs - and they are NOT for blowing your nose in!!!

The really elegant restaurant will give you a 'hizakake', a lap cloth, often with the name of the establishment. They are quite collectable, and can be used by the ardent quilter! This one from 'Tekkinro'.
Now back to the progress report.
On the border I have been adding small embroidered branches. I used my new cq stencils, and worked two TAST stitches. #23 Cable Chain and #27 Up and Down Buttonhole:





























For more WIPW reports, go to Pintangle.

23 comments:

  1. that was so interesting reading about the napkins, how good to learn about the culture etc of other countries. WIP is coming on and can see how you have made the most of the new stencils, my name is down for a set when Sharon gets the next delivery

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    1. Yes, isn't it interesting to compare the custom of how to keep clean during a meal in various countries?
      There are only a few more blocks on the Kafferepet quilt to report, then there is all the embroidery and quilting...
      The stencils are great fun for designing new patterns. Sharon has created a tool that must have been on many a needleworker's wishlist.

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  2. Wow, if you get too fancy with those folded napkins, no one will want to open them up to use. I do love a nice warm oshibori ... even on a warm day. And your stitchery is so very pretty. You are putting that stencil to creative use.

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    1. A hot 'oshibori' is great on a cold day to warm your hands, and equally great on a hot, humid day, to freshen up before a meal. A paper napkin would never do that job!
      The stencils are fun to use.

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  3. I love this theme, it's so original–and interesting! It would be great to see all your Kafferepet samples together, in one post too.

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    1. Please be a little more patient, I have introduced almost all the blocks. I will soon show the whole flimsy.

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  4. this is such a fun project you're doing. i would choose those napkins too :-)

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    1. I agree, it is a fun project. The modern paper napkins can be charming in themselves, but clash violently with the china pattern!

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  5. Oh I remember how I used to fold waterlilies out of linen napkins when I used to have "posh" dinners in the old days!! Now we also use paper napkins but I do think it would be more "green" to use fabric if only laundering wasn't so difficult. I liked being given a little oshibori when I was in Japan (and love the warm cloths we are given on planes, on the better airlines anyway) but have never been to a restaurant elegant enough for a hizakake in Japan. Interesting post and lovely stitches as always.

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    1. The book in the blog post is promoting the use of disposables, after all it was printed in the 60s, but there is a passage about linen napkins. They said: 'lipstick stains are hard to remove from linen so do insert a small paper napkin in the fold when using heirloom linen napkins; this is much appreciated by lady guests'. Now how do you go about this? First you wipe off your lipstick on the paper tissue, then eat your meal and dap at your lips with the shiny white linen serviette without leaving any lipstick stains, then after the meal excuse yourself and reapply your lipstick before going home?
      The few really nice linen Damask napkins I found in my parents home are unfortunately badly stained and I don't know if it would be 'green' to try to remove the spots with bleach or some harsh detergent.
      This is a very interesting topic!

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  6. Thanks for the story about the napkins. I recognized the fabric of your napkins, I have the same in pink!

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    1. I love these monotone prints, blue on blue, pink on pink. If I remember correctly it is a Jinny Beyer print, but I might be wrong.

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  7. Again you chose a perfect fabric for the napkins.

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    1. Yes, doesn't it look just like some of those paper napkins for sale?

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  8. love your use of that stencil!

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    1. These stencils are great for building patterns; here I have simply used two of the curves. I hope to make even better use of the stencils in the future.

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  9. I learn something new everyday, today about Japanese customs. Nice stitching too.

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    1. It has been great fun blogging about this quilt. Almost all the items are things used daily all over the world but in such different ways.

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  10. I love the napkin stories, the Japanese are well known for attention to detail and this is a good example, if only more people were like them. Your quilt is progressing nicely, I will look forward to its completion.

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    1. I am working on this quilt very slowly; completion is far in the future!
      The Japanese are also know for their cleanliness, and the 'oshibori' is also used to wipe up any soy sauce spills or such from the table.

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  11. I enjoyed the info, but even more I enjoyed looking at your stitching.
    Marci

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    1. Thank you. I hope to have some more stitching next Wednesday.

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  12. Oh the hours I have spent trying to teach teenagers how to fold napkins. The girls loved it the boys were all thumbs. Thanks for all the info and your piece is going to be stunning.

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