We’ve just received a shipment of vintage Handwoven Hemp-Cotton Towel Irregulars that have minor stains, shadings and marks. The fabric is unused but acquired blemishes due to its age. Nearly all the irregulars are stains and discolorations. The fabric is perfect for overdyeing, stitching, eco printing, bundle dyeing and surface design. Please refer to the images in the product gallery to get a sense of the discolorations and marks. Note that we are unable to select among the fabrics to include or exclude specific marks or stains. The long lengthwise stripe down the center of some of the towels is because the fabric was folded in half lengthwise and rolled like a hemp cinnamon roll. In some cases, one side of the towel is a lighter bleached shade and the back side is a little darker from age. These towels are handwoven in rural Romanian villages from locally grown, processed and spun hemp. The fabric is vintage and no longer being produced.
The towels are a blend of hemp and cotton, with the cotton typically used as the weft. There are also a few towels that appear to either contain bleached hemp or are mostly cotton. The edges are machine hemmed and these towels do not have a hanging loop, which makes them perfect as generous napkins, too. They soften beautifully with wear.
The towel sizes range from 14 to 18 inches wide and 20-24 inches (35.5 to 56 cm wide and 46 to 61 cm) long. We aren’t able to choose specific sizes or include or avoid certain types of marks. The towels are sold individually.
Hemp is the ancient “new” wonder fiber, and rightly so with production now legal in the United States. This is a huge win to create a more sustainable fiber source. It is considered among the first agricultural crops as traces of the fiber have been found and dated to 8000 BCE in China and Taiwan. The plant uses minimal water, is pest-resistant, and fast-growing. It is a nitrogen-fixing plant with a deep tap root that helps enrich and condition the soil. At harvest time, the stalks are cut, bundled and dried. The tough outer cortex is removed through a natural process called retting to break down the outside of the stalk. The fine inner fibers are collected, scoured, washed and sun bleached, and then spun into yarn.
Hemp possesses great strength, softness and durability, so it is the perfect fiber for a beautiful, long-wearing towel. Its weight and drape are similar to linen and the fabric softens and drapes with age and use. We use ours in the kitchen but they can also serve as a hand towel in the bath.