Vesta's Cloth Napkins

Over the years, I have accumulated quite a collection of cloth napkins. Whether at estate sales or shopping at Target, I have found these fabric squares end up being a frequent impulse purchase.

Growing up, at home, we only ever used our cloth napkins on special occasions. That was not the case at my Grandma Vesta's house. Grandma kept a big basket, in her dining area off the kitchen, that was full of neatly fold little cloth napkins.

Grandma made those petit napkins out of leftover scraps of fabric, old table linens and old bed sheets. They were little, cocktail sized napkins, of all sorts of patterns. Some even had little bits of embroidery. I loved looking for special ones in the basket, that held dozens, as I set the table for meals.

Fast forward decades, I have amassed a collection of fabric napkins that I, perhaps oddly, cherish. Some years back, I realized I was saving those piles of fabric squares for special occasions, as my mother did. I was not getting good utility from them. It occurred to me, that I could be using them, as my grandma did, every day. So I got two baskets:

  • One basket for storing fresh laundered napkins, folded and ready for use (I do not iron them, just fold hot out of the dryer).

  • The second basket, by a dining room china cabinet for the used napkins needing to be laundered.

In action, we use these napkins as both napkins and paper towels. There is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from using these fabric treasures daily, remembering my grandma Vesta daily, while minimizing our use of one time use paper towels and napkins.

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