Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Roller Towels

Dear Ann,
The Commenter Consensus on Belinda’s Large Linen Loop is that it’s a roller towel. Not the kind that one used to find in gas station restrooms, because that kind of towel was not seamed into a loop; it was a very long length of toweling with each end wrapped around a separate roller, inside a metal box. As the towel was used, it was taken up by one roller, and a fresh section was meted out (very economically, as I recall) by the other roller. Given this basic understanding of gas-station roller towels, most people seemed to think the mystery textile was a classic home-style roller towel: a loop of fabric that hangs over a dowel or towel bar.
But here’s the thing. Not that I am some kind of roller towel authority figure or anything, but I’ve never seen one this big.
labour&waitcarrie.jpg
It’s 18 3/4 inches wide and more than 8 feet in total length. For comparison, Carrie recently was certified to be 4 feet 9 1/2″ tall (without her hat) (which yes, she wears indoors; it’s a means of self-expression, and you don’t leave your self-expression at the door).
labour&waitcarriedoor.jpg
Here we see Carrie, or her hat, and an actual door. See how high it would have to be hung for it not to touch the ground, thus defeating the hygienic purpose that is the essence of towelishness?
So, I don’t know what it is, but I think it might not be a roller towel. Sling chair seat? Some kind of industrial conveyor belt thingie (a la Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory)? A mangle-related item? (Go ahead and Google-image search “sling chair” and “mangle” if you don’t know what I’m talking about).
This afternoon, I could take the suspense no longer. I sent Belinda back to London with a mission to go to Labour and Wait and ask them what it is. She wanted to stay a little longer, and maybe see the New York Botanical Garden, but I said, no, you must go investigate right now, ta-ta, buh-bye and safe trip. So stay tuned.
I Have Not Been Knitting A Lot
browndishrag.jpg
Since completion of Giant Miter Number 2 almost a week ago, my sole knitting output has been half a dishrag. I think I might be coming down with something. I blame Belinda, with her ceaseless shopping and sightseeing and fun-having.
Department of Pictures Found On My Camera That Were Not Taken By Me
hamsterdining.jpg
hamsterdining2.jpg
Yeah, the plate is from the People Dishes. Kinda wish I didn’t know about this.
Love,
Kay

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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. Luckily I wasn’t drinking anything when I saw the guinea pig picture. Snorting happened. That is totally something that would happen at our house. Glad I’m not the only one with mysterious pictures on my camera.

  2. Oh, good, ’cause I was afraid to ask.
    Carrie’s look in that hat is the Absolute Best.

  3. ! ! ! ! !
    And a well-photoshopped hamster that is, to boot.
    I think Carrie looks like a supermodel.

  4. I didn’t guess before; but seeing Carrie hold it makes me wonder if it was supposed to be some kind of Roman shade that is missing the drawing up parts?
    Or you could attach it to wheels for the Guinea Pig to run on, but it would probably get chewed up.

  5. Hey that dish is Poppies on Blue. I know this because I have Blue Brush stoke a.k.a. the same plate without the Poppies LOL! If we had a guinea pig I would totally find this photo on my camera. So far the two fishes are still in their homes.

  6. Guinea pigs do so deserve the good stuff. At least they eat their vegetables.
    As for that linen: well, I’m a beginning weaver and, apparently, less-beginning weavers, when they have finished weaving a length of cloth and are about to throw it in the washing machine to finish it, often baste the ends together. That way, the fabric allegedly does not twist into those rope-like objects we all know as our damp sheets. I bet newly woven linen would crease like the dickens, quite pissibly permanently, in such a situation if not basted.
    Of course, one way to find out for sure would be for you to take up weaving, weave two lengths of linen, baste the ends together on one length, leave the other unsewn, and throw both in the washer. Great blog fodder.
    Whaddaya mean, trying to lure you into weaving? Me? Pure, innocent me? Nonsense.
    Although one does tend to need even more yarn around the house if you’re a weaver. Especially cottons and linen. Cotlin, even. Just in case you were wondering…

  7. seeing the folds makes me think of a Roman shade, but wouldn’t there be a little more to it? Some wood or string or such?
    ooh – Nouveau ballband! Love it!

  8. Pets are People too. They deserve the good dishes.
    (I say that knowing full well that my stomach might have turned just hair faced with the same critter-friendly evidence)
    I love the photo of Carrie in front of the door. She has such expressive peepers!

  9. Carrie is very good to stand there modeling a hunk of linen.
    At least the critter was not on the people table.

  10. I also vote roller shade. I think the guinea pig is a very glamorous variety–perhaps your children have been reading those books about Olga the Guinea Pig? She was quite the diva if I recall.

  11. Critter looks like it could use some help from Tiny Project Runway. Or some gel and a good blow-dry. Unlike Carrie, who looks totally stylish!

  12. I made my guess and I’m sticking with it.
    Until Belinda proves me wrong.

  13. I love finding pictures my girls have taken. Like when I found a Barbie pictorial storyboard of “the Princess and the Pea”. Apparently the Barbies even had to try out for the roles. Snow White was the maid, and Harrison Ford (a.k.a. Hans Solo) was the King. What a hoot.

  14. ok I can’t get the voice of the Guinea pigs from Dr. Doolittle out of my mind now hehehe

  15. Are you next going to take on Top Chef for Pets? That guinea pig is eating some mighty pretty dessert. Padma would lurve it!
    Have no idea about the Loop o’Linen, but sheesh, it needs to go on Antiques Roadshow. Get thee to the Zeno Brothers!
    OK, clearly I watch too much arty TV.

  16. how mature of carrie! usually high school is all about “self-expression hats!”

  17. I totally agree with Rachel – that plating would get full marks on Iron Chef.

  18. My comment on the awfulness that was the roller towel dangling from its wooden roller in the school cloakrooms and public loos of my childhood got swallowed so if this appears twice I apologise.

  19. The large linen loop (LLL) certainly becomes Carrie–or is it her hat? Anyway, she’s a beauty, God bless her.
    Maybe the ‘antique linen’ will be saved to make Carrie’s graduation dress someday…
    LoveDiane

  20. I’m in tears over the hamster. I showed it to my husband and couldn’t even really explain it to him because I was laughing so hard.
    Maybe the linen strip is a roller towel for cars? Yet another crazy college kids’ game from the fifties – how many people can be wrapped in the freaky towel at once? The world’s largest tubular burpcloth?

  21. Oh gosh, I’m still laughing over those hamster pictures. What’s the story behind that one…was it his hamster birthday? Hamster’s Day Off? I especially love the utinsils he will not be using. The plating is absolutely perfect, get that kid a cooking show!

  22. I am so relieved to hear I am not the only person who thought, “Hey, isn’t that too wide for a roller towel?” I’m in the chair-sling camp, until I think up something better.

  23. Clue to the source of the mystery photos – the table is set backwards. Ask all suspects to set a table and the culprit will emerge!

  24. Clue to the source of the mystery photos – the table is set backwards. Ask all suspects to set a table and the culprit will emerge!

  25. Look, the lack of knitting is Not My Fault! And I am sticking to that, I’m not picking up the blame for this one. I am convinced the Linen Object is NOT a roller towel of any kind, I think it was just seamed that way for finishing, but glad to have provided so much amusement. I will report back on the Labour and Wait answer by Monday.
    And as for Buster – speaking as one who regularly has pets stealing food from plates, stop fussing woman! The plate got washed, didn’t it? (Or did it?).

  26. If it makes you feel better, when we were in high school, my brother brought home a fetal pig (formaldehyde and all) and put it on the dining room table on a plate. I think my mother threw the plate out!

  27. I think it’s for commercial baking. Google “dough sheeter” and see what I mean, some of the conveyor-belt-style ones have linen belts that are pretty long.

  28. The loop of towel IS indeed a roller towel. My dear departed MIL had one in her scullery by the sink, it would be used to dry hands after using the kitchen sink. One could buy the towelling from homeware stores and seam the end up oneself so that the towel would hang at the right length for the family to use. Her towel holder was fixed to the wall but many would be fixed to the back of the door. I still have the fittings and 3 used and 3 brand new roller towels.

  29. The loop of towel IS indeed a roller towel. My dear departed MIL had one in her scullery by the sink, it would be used to dry hands after using the kitchen sink. One could buy the towelling from homeware stores and seam the end up oneself so that the towel would hang at the right length for the family to use. Her towel holder was fixed to the wall but many would be fixed to the back of the door. I still have the fittings and 3 used and 3 brand new roller towels.

  30. It is possible that the loop of linen is fabric direct from the mill unwashed,unbleached and unprocessed; just pressed. If you wash it hard it may shrink. Often Lancashire textile mills used to sell such fabric. In my youth I made heavyweight curtains from such fabric as it was cheap and they lasted and lasted but were so heavy to hang.

  31. Those pictures of the hamster are just the type of thing my hubby tries to do with our cat. Take interesting pictures and see if they can be captioned on the intarnets. Our places of choice are icanhascheezburger and Caturday on Fark.

  32. I love Carrie’s hat. Is there a pattern for that somewhere?

  33. I know what a sling chair is and a mangle. In fact, I have a mangle if anyone would like one (for free, you have to ship it from Ohio to wherever you are). Martha Stewart still uses one – she showed how on one of her shows in 2006. Love the hamster and guinea pig!

  34. I know what a sling chair is and a mangle. In fact, I have a mangle if anyone would like one (for free, you have to ship it from Ohio to wherever you are). Martha Stewart still uses one – she showed how on one of her shows in 2006. Love the hamster and guinea pig!

  35. is that a free people hat!? or did you – or someone else – knit that? is there a pattern? do tell!

  36. Hi,
    I think the linen is a mangle cloth. The one with the red border almost certainly is. Apparently they were used to protect the clothes going through the mangle from actually touching the rollers. I bought a few vintage mangle cloths on eBay a while ago and made a tablecloth and napkins out of them–the linen is nice and heavy and rustic!
    Mulaika.

  37. I agree with the couple folks up above who suggested it’s a Roman Blind. Have a look at these pictures. That’s got to be it!

  38. I remember a few roller towels that didn’t go end to end and back, as you describe, but who went through the metal box on the wall and then came back out. My memories are a LITTLE hazy, because I was pretty young, but I actually saw the seam from the loop. It makes sense there was more than one design. It’s not like every toilet paper roll holder is exactly the same……

  39. Of course the hamster didn’t eat anything. The knife and fork is back to front!!

  40. Hi Kay,
    I took a picture exactly like that with my guinea pig a few years ago. So cute.

  41. Carrie’s hat is very cute. Her self expression is way better than some I’ve seen lately. Good lord!
    Your giant loop of linen looks like a Martha-esque hammock. Good things. So easy to clean too.

  42. comment about the roller towel – it might not be a gas station one, but is it possible it might have still been in a business? I remember reading in By the Shores of Silver Lake (book whatever number of the Little House book for those of you not obsessive enough to be able to remember which book something was in…seriously I went and found The Big Winter one time to prove I’d heard of chinooks before once…but I digress) anyway – they stopped in to eat at a hotel while they were waiting for pa to come get them at the train station to go the rest of the way, and when they washed their hands there was a roller towel… So obviously to be still intact it would have to be a lot newer – but it might still be a commercial one I would think – there might still have been some places using one… but how that would make it different than one in someone’s home I have no clue, LOL

  43. I’m afraid I have no idea about the giant loop of linen. But I thought that if enough of us asked nicely about Carrie’s hat, we might find out if there is a pattern we could use to knit ones of our very own?

  44. Late on the commenting, but seriously, fancy hamster dining will occupy my near 9 year old for at least a good hour! 60 minutes without the TV or telling me she is bored!
    I am sooo issuing a challenge to create fancy dining for Hammie this weekend!

  45. Need. Hat. Pattern.
    Love it!!

  46. didn’t read through the previous 45 comments, but i do think it is a roller towel. see, she bought it in London. that’s in europe. (or at least that particular london is). european roller towels are more complicated than us roller towels. come see me in switzerland and i’ll show you. or i could just take a photo next time i see one. thing is, you wont’ see much, because these things are ingenious over here. … i just started to try and explain it, but i better take that picture first.
    twalk later

  47. oops. sorry. just ‘actually’ read the post. my bad. you’re right. total dork over here.