Thursday, October 8, 2009

Collection


I'm a collector (let's not say a hoarder) by nature: beads, books, buttons, yarn, china dogs, vintage bakelite dresser sets, kawaii, pressed glass, vintage textiles, comic books, postcards, cards for my stereopticon...I won't go on...

But my favorite collection is the stack of humble hand made dish cloths that sits on the shelf above my kitchen counter. Each of these was made for me by a different lady, given through swaps, as gifts, just to be sweet. I treasure their homey cottony presence in my kitchen; they are good will and sentiment, the kindness of strangers; they recall an earlier time, before dishwashers and even cellulose sponges and paper towels. Sometimes I spend a moment or two staring at them, thinking of the many hands that made them for me, and I feel a little brighter, buoyed and cheerful.


42 comments:

Karen ^..^ said...

I'm kind of a hoarder in the same way. Mine is a collection of projects I started but never finished. I can't bear to part with it all. I also have my kids' newborn outfits, and the decorations from their baby showers. Countless cross stitch projects, unfinished.

I should get on it. Finish at least one a year.

I love this post. Great photo, too.

subtorp77 said...

Leah, these are soooo colourful! And you have a stereopticon? WOW! And I'll be adding to your book collection, anon ;)

Liza said...

What a marvellous post Leah. My Mom gives me the same cloths every now and then when she hits a church bizarre. I now know sub has a comic book collection, and now I find you do too. I must know more! You should throw a pic or two of the china dogs on your blog. I really would love to see them. I love beads as well.
Thanks for sharing. Happy tt.

Brian Miller said...

woot woot...the simple things and the memories of the people behind them...nice. ok so whats in your comic collection? batman mostly here...boxes and boxes at my parents house from growing up. happy tt!

MJ said...

I'm a collector (let's not say a hoarder)

That’s what the Collyer Brothers used to tell themselves.

savannah said...

lots of different collections here, but i also give away a lot of things, too. xoxox

mirrors
boxes
shells
hankerchiefs
scarves

Pat said...

Don't tell me you don't use them.

I'm still in those bygone days:)

Leah said...

Karen: I'm slowly making my way through all my unfinished knitting projects. I'm determined to finish them during my 6 months without shopping!

I also still have all Hedgie's baby clothes. I'm planning on making a keepsake quilt of her special dresses--that is, when I learn to quilt! That's next on my agenda.

Subby: I got the stereopticon at a yard sale--what a find! It's a really nice one.

Liza: do you bead too? I make jewelry, and do bead knitting, but the truth is that sometimes I just like to look at them and sort them!

Those cotton dish cloths are definitely a church bazaar staple! I'm always on the lookout for more. I love them, the homelier the better, in a way. And they're useful.

Brian & Liza: Sarge and I collect all sorts of comics--we've got a massive bunch. I have a vast collection of Donald Duck and Unca Scrooge from childhood, Tintins (in various languages), vintage EC romance and horror comics (they did gorgeous reprints awhile back), bandes dessines (Asterix, Lucky Luke, etc.). Of course all my fave graphic novels, Watchmen, Sandman, Dark Knight Returns, etc etc etc. Sarge has a huge collection from his own childhood, in storage. I'll have to ask him what's in it (I imagine more DC and Marvel from the '60s and '70s).

MJ: I'm constantly at war with my inner Collyer brother.

Skip Simpson said...

A very nice collection, indeed! Happy TT!

Leah said...

savannah: I collect handkerchiefs too! I love those vintage ones that are still folded and tacked into their flat boxes. And I have my grandma's extraordinary wedding hankie--it has unbelievably elaborate white-on-white embroidery.

Pat: don't worry, I use them! They're very handy, for both washing and drying. I don't have a dishwasher, so I feel like I'm always at the sink!

just bob said...

That's a lotta dish cloths

Jasmine said...

A creative collection. My favourite.

Kate Hanley said...

Beautiful. As someone who doesn't collect anything, this post makes me want to, especially something like those dish towels that bring memories and smiles. Happy TT.

Wings said...

Cool. :) I have comic books, too, but didn't spotlight them today, either. :)

e said...

I love the rainbow that all those colours represent! Happy TT.

Tom said...

my wife's grandmother had hankerchiefs by the boatload...one in every greeting card or box, etc...i think all the old ladys liked to gift them. We have several now...they still smell like grandma's house.

Scarlet-Blue said...

But they're so clean and colourful! My dish cloths... well put it this way, they wouldn't make a pretty picture.
Sx

Kookaburra said...

Just popping in to say, "g'day"

California Girl said...

colorful photo, nostalgic thoughts, very sweet and original. I like this.

Roy said...

Heh, heh! I have a collection of dish cloths, too - waiting in the laundry pile to be washed. I used to work at the Dansk Factory Outlet here in Newport, and I used to buy dish cloths and napkins on clearance to use as dish cloths. I assembled quite a collection, and so far I haven't had to wash any - I'm still going through the unused ones! Judgment Day may be coming, though; I think I saw the bottom of the drawer the last time I looked in there.

Great post!

Betsy said...

Those are lovely! I would love a stack of those sweet handmade things! And...what is a kawaii? I must go google that one....

mago said...

Ah, yes, something textile I see ... pressed glass? Then you are surely an avid reader of this ?

Megan said...

Hey, I have a couple of those! How cool that your collection was made by different people, and that they are things you use and love.

Collections in storage make me sad, although I do know very well how much space comic boxes take up, so I'll give Sarge a pass on that one!

eroswings said...

I'm a pack rat. There. Admitting is the first step towards recovery. Every 3 months, I have to go through my stuff and sort and clear things out. I keep the weirdest, most useless things, sometimes. I still have a word processor with the green screen that reads floppy disks--I still have floppy disks! But I can't seem to throw it away.

I like the dish clothes. They're very colorful and soft to the touch. Very nice collection.

Baino said...

I've honestly never heard of knitted dish cloths. I have another Aussie blogger that makes them out of fabric but knitting? Don't they get a bit festy? Or am I misunderstanding, are they for getting wet and wiping or for drying? I'm right into recycling, re-using etc. but can't see them surviving the bleachblast!

kylie said...

baino, i have a couple of knitted ones leah sent me. i wouldnt bleach them but they do just fine in the washing machine

am i the only person ever that didnt read comic books?

nick said...

Goodness, and I thought we had a big collection. They're not as beautiful as yours either, though they're fun to look at because we buy dishcloths all over the world. Books are my biggest collection by far.

Candie Bracci said...

Leah you are the best!This is so nice,unfortunately,I cannot do this kind of thing,first I don't have the patience!But I admire it!And love to touch,it is so soft!

Leah said...

Skip: thanks! The tower threatens to topple, however...

Bob: it is, indeed. See above comment...

Jasmine: It's always fun to see how people interpret "dish cloth" when they knit! I've gotten some wonderful ones, in shapes and all colors.

Kate: These really are fun to collect, and quite fun to use. Very environmentally sound!

Wings: there are so many of us collecting comic books! I'd love for us all to do a post and show our stuff!

e: The colors are my favorite part of the collection--everything from garish to pastel and inbetween.

Tom: it's amazing how those hankies, even the new and still in box ones, hold smells. Nice smells! Lavender and sachet and powder. One of my fave features of the vintage hankie. Those scents will last into the next world.

Leah said...

Scarlet: I also have my everyday piles of dish towels, less appealing...It depends on my mood, whether I dip into the festive pile, or into the humdrum (nay, ripped and stained) pile.

Mark: G'day to you too my dear!

California Girl: I am pretty nostalgic about these dishtowels, isn't that funny? Even though they're new.

Roy: I loved the Dansk factory outlet!! Unfortunately, it closed, but I used to go all the time to the one in the Adirondacks near our cabin, and always, always bought piles of those dish towels! I've got tons too. I bet we have some of the very same ones. How funny!

Betsy: Kawaii is Japanese for "cute" and in this case refers to all those little geegaws and Hello Kitty sorts of things like erasers and pencil cases etc. I have a crazy collection of that stuff, and, like a kid, I love to take it out and sort it and look at it!

mago: thanks for that link! I love pressed glass, and how it looks like crystal from a distance, but up close you can see the joining seams. Sort of like fancy for the masses.

Megan: we have more than one collection in storage, but we often rotate our collections in and out of our storage space; yeh, we just don't have the room for all of it. Not even our books! But recently several phases of our comics collections have made a reappearance for Hedgehog, who loves comics too. In that sense, they're only in temporary storage. Like museum archives, LOL!

Leah said...

eroswings: You know what's funny? Just the other day I was trying to explain to my 8-year-old about floppy disks (I mean the actual floppy floppy disks, before the more compact hard floppy disks)! I got one out to show her--we kept ours too, and even have a floppy disk drive somewhere. I often wonder about what's on those disks--I'm too lazy to find out--but I suspect it's all my eighth grade creative writing and essays. Ah, floppy disks.

Baino--those dish cloths are practically indestructable, I've found them much lest festy than my sponges, because I fling them in hot water wash and dry after just a couple of uses. They're really cool, you've gotta try one.

Kylie: that's true, I wouldn't use bleach, but otherwise they're fine getting tumbled around. You're not the only person who never read comic books! ... or are you? There are so many good ones, not just the superhero comics (although I love those too...)

nick: books are our biggest collection too. But my interest is piqued in your round-the-world dish cloths, what a good idea!

Candie: those dishcloths are even softer after a whole bunch of washes and dries!

Brandy Rose said...

Its the simplest things in life that make it grand :)

Megan said...

LOVE the idea of archives!

Jimmy Bastard said...

You're a collector of people by nature Leah, and I'd like to add myself to the collection.

Leah said...

Brandy Rose: I'm inclined to agree, lately.

Megan: it's a good way to make ourselves feel better about our scary storage space!

Leah said...

Jimmy!!!!!!!!: consider yourself collected.

xo

Maria said...

My sister knits and keeps me well supplied with dish cloths. We have so many that Bing has started to get a wee bit cranky about them. Not me. I love them.

Leah said...

Ha! Sarge is cranky about mine.

Eleanor said...

I'm trying very hard to break my collecting/hoarding habit, but it's tough. I come from a long line of collectors, so it must be in the DNA. The house is becoming too cluttered with "stuff", though, so strength of character is in order. Books and music fill many, many spaces around here, and I have a horrible weakness for any kind of stationery item. If it can be written on or written with, it's irresistable! I also love linens of any kind, and the homemade or embellished by hand variety are treasures indeed.

I didn't comment on the subject when you wrote about it, but I must tell you how impressed I am with your plan to do little to no buying of non-necessities for six months. That's something that I'd really love to do myself.

Dot-Com said...

What a wonderful collection. Bet many hours have gone into the creation, making it an even better collection to have.

Ellie said...

I've been trying to discipline myself to make these but just keep giving up/losing interest halfway through...ridiculous really!

Suzanne said...

Are my damn hats in that pile?