Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tips and Tricks Tuesdays: Three Handkerchiefs

As part of my resolve to have a better-regulated posting schedule, I've been introducing theme days. You saw the first of these last Wednesday, when I started a Workspace Wednesday/Crafting series. This week, I'd like to introduce Tips and Tricks Tuesdays, which was inspired in part by something I'd mentioned in passing last week (though I'll be covering the actual topic that inspired all of this next week).

What you can expect to find here will be a wide range of tips and curios that might not otherwise have a forum in my regular crafting or kitsuke posts. This week, I want to delve into a one of the habits I've developed for when I'm going out in kimono, a habit that would not be at all obvious unless I made mention of it.

The three handkerchiefs pictured stay with the bag so they can't be forgotten.

I'm not entirely sure how I came to the practice of carrying three handkerchiefs when I go out in kimono. I'm certainly not nearly so conscientious or fastidious when I step out in my western clothing. I suspect that it was something that Ann (my room mate, photographer and fellow kimono aficionado) pointed out to me when I started to practice kitsuke with greater frequency. I was struck by the practicality of it, and the fact that it gave me an excuse to use some of the hand-me-down lacy confections that I'd acquired over the years. These days, if I am out of the house without at least one handkerchief, I find myself feeling a bit lost.

But why should I go to the trouble of ensuring I have three? Most people, when they bother with this archaic habit, still manage to make do with one. The answer to this is really one of practicality and the fact that each handkerchief has its own particular use.

Larger handkerchief and tenugui, all suitable for sitable fabrics when out and about.

The largest handkerchief that I carry is for laying over seats before sitting down. I don't always do this (it would be rude to do so in a restaurant or in someone's home, for example) but if I am sitting on a park bench or a low ledge, then this helps to protect my kimono from the uneven surface and any dirt that might be hidden there. A tenugui can also be appropriate for this particular cloth, and you can check out some techniques for making your own here!

A selection of small, vintage handkerchiefs that can be used in the lap to protect kimono.

I like for my second handkerchief to be somewhat decorative, either with embroidery or a tidy lace edging. This is the handkerchief that will rest in my lap so that I may rest my hands on it. With yukata or more easily tended kimono, this one is not particularly vital, but with silk kimono, it leaves me assured that any oils from my hands will not mar the fabric.

Plain, white handkerchiefs ready for a bit of dirty work (though they could use an ironing).

For the final handkerchief, I prefer one that is plain, white cotton. This is the handkerchief that does the duty of wiping away crumbs or potential sources of staining from my hands. It also comes in very handy in restrooms, especially if there are no towels present.

So that I can't forget these practical accessories, I took some time to match my most-used bags and kinchaku with complimentary handkerchiefs, as in the photograph at the beginning of the post. It's proven to be very useful, especially since while I know I will want a handkerchief, I'm not always mindful enough to ensure that I have one before leaving.

I have plans for a future Crafting post where I'll talk about some of the techniques that you can use to create your own handkerchiefs and larger, furoshiki-style finished cloths that you can use for the largest of the 'handkerchiefs' I suggest here.

If you, kind readers, have any tips you'd like to share, or if there is something you're hoping I might cover in the future, please don't hesitate to say so in the comments!

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