Why You Need a New Kitchen Towel

July 19, 2010

The next time you replace your kitchen towel, you really should consider a stripe.   You will be honoring a centuries’ old tradition of using striped textiles in your home.  And they’re just plain pretty!

The seaside town of St. Jean de Luz, on the Spanish border, has dozens of small streets, many lined with linen shops.   Stripes are  everywhere!  On tablecloths, dishes, trays, baskets, even sheets.   And each one is more beautiful than the next.

The tradition of these textiles began in the Middle Ages when Basque farmers wove large striped cloths to protect their cattle  from flies and the sun.   These colorful linens have become an inherent part of regional history, and as far back as 1010 AD, local abbeys recorded these textiles as part of their assets.

Originally, the width and color of the stripe gave information about the wealth and social standing of the owner.  But today, people like Jean-Vier have “kicked it up a notch”.    They produce  modern patterns with seven stripes, which represent each of the seven Basque regions (four in Spain and three in France).

These contemporary designers have turned the humble stripe into a work of art. (As you can see, I am rather fond of the pattern called marmalade.)    And although I am in no way affiliated with them, they now have boutiques in the US, so you can order online.  So go ahead, follow tradition and add some stripes to your kitchen!

Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t end with kitchen towels.  I’m so hooked, I’m now recovering the furniture in stripes.

Good grief, what’s next?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Francois July 19, 2010 at 8:12 am

Love the srtipes. Is Jan-Vier the same company as Jan-de-Luz in Carmel, CA?

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Ana July 19, 2010 at 8:20 am

Similar things, though not the same company. Jan de Luz in Carmel, CA also has antiques and old stone chimneys. Great combination, basque linens plus French antiques! Thanks for the comment.

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Isabel July 19, 2010 at 10:37 am

Por supuesto, como no podía ser de otra manera, mis cocinas (Pozuelo y Moraira) tienen paños de rayas de colores. Me encantan las cosas de rayas. Y, adivina quién ha tenido un jersey de rayitas??? Sí…, Gosito.
En fin, que seguimos siendo primelas.
¿Sabes algo de hacer pulseritas de colores con cuero o hilos? Es que se me ha ocurrido que me apetecería hacerlo y quizá tu ya sepas….

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Ana July 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Por supuesto! Por que seria de otra manera? De pequena hacia pulseritas con mis amigas, te encontre esto Suerte!

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Kerry July 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

Were you directing that post at me? Guilty conscience, I guess. :-) By the way–your picture of M. Louis could stand to be a bit smaller. No need for a 6 mega-pixel image for such a small dog!

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Ana July 20, 2010 at 8:51 am

I know that basque linens will become your favorite soon. And thanks for the tip on the photo. (I figure he’s worth at least 6 megas!)

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phnompenhparis August 24, 2010 at 1:50 am

all stripped down…

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