Which of course gets me thinking of Provence and that I would like to go there. I imagine the scent as one approaches Grasse (which is really more the Riviera but who cares…), surely if I have gone to seed I can go to Grasse too?! No?

Some of my stash…

OK, enough of this whimsy. I’m really talking about where does the linen come from? This is a salient point because – think about it – should linens which are intended for the celebration of Mass be made from linen of, ahem, questionable provenance?
For a little bit more about this, check out my page on linens.

Frankly, I have too much linen. From a variety of countries. They differ in quality and in price although they are all of a quality that I’m happy to work with (some don’t make the cut – ha!) AND I ask the suppliers questions about where the linen is manufactured, how it is manufactured? According to good standards? How are the workers treated, paid fairly according to their local economy? Pollution, nasty chemicals…? If I’m not comfortable, I don’t buy the stuff, end of story.
I’m making altar cloths right now and its on my mind so let’s look at the process…

Fresh off the bolt.

Here’s some nice new linen, full of size, which is why it looks stiff.

Terrifying fluff…

Linen shrinks. It’s way easier to cut and sew when its right off the bolt, full of size, so nice and stiff. However… if you don’t wash it first you are in for a nasty surprise when you wash that altar cloth.
It will no longer fit. Oh dear, how embarrassing!
When you wrestle all that linen through the laundry on the hottest cycles (twice), out of the dryer comes all this lint. Wow!
(But just imagine the old days, doing it by hand!!!)

Time to weep…

And of course to do the layout and cutting with any degree of accuracy, it all has to be pressed. This is five yards of freshly crumpled linen ready to be pressed. Self inflicted penance. Definitely time off purgatory, I’m quite sure of that!

DO NOT ask how long that took me…

Anyway, I’ll show you the rest of the transformation process another time since this is really about source, not construction methods. But whether making an altar cloth or small linens, the initial process is the same.
Start with new, good linen…

But waste not, want not! Right…? WRONG.

But a crafty voice speaks, what’s wrong with reusing good bits of old linen? For example, this old linen towel which I have used for drying myself until it’s worn to bits. I show you the holey bit but let me assure you there are sections which are really very nice. Surely it would be fine for me to take those bits and make some purificators…
Or what about that old tablecloth which you found in a thrift store and its in perfectly good condition, you can get three corporals out of it – go on!!!
One word. No.
Spiritual warfare is real. Don’t do it.

By all means, reuse that linen. Go for it because we should use things up and recycle, but make something else.
At all times be sure about the provenance of the linens you use for the altar.

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