Monday, February 23, 2009

Old Hemp Sheets

I'm a bit obsessed with old hemp. Anyone that comes to our house for an overnight visit usually stays in our sun room and sleeps between antique hemp sheets. If they are the hardy type, like one of my brothers, they get one of the heavily textured (some might even say scratchy!) sheets. But if they are a first nighter, I start them off with the best - maybe even a soft linen sheet on the bottom and a cool, crisp nettle sheet on top. The combinations are endless and if guests are game, I like to switch it up a bit each night. Try the fil linen sheet on top and the nubby hemp/linen sheet on the bottom, or no feather filled duvet at all and just the heavy hemp/nettle sheet on the top! Usually, and not always, but usually people wake up in the morning with a good story. "I've never slept so well" or maybe "I was too hot - I need a lighter sheet" - and my favorite, "I dreamt that I was back in the womb again!"
Sheets do that - especially 200 year old sheets that were woven at home on a small loom and then stitched together down the middle with tiny little secret stitches. The fibers in these sheets have magic properties. Because of the hollow stems, these fiberous cloths - hemp, nettle and linen - keep you cool in the summer by wicking away moisture and warm in the winter. These cloths actually help to control our body heat. When we sleep, our body temperature changes quite drastically and an old sheet can keep our body at an even temperature which gives us a deeper REM sleep...have I lost you yet??
Ok - back to the pleasure of an old sheet - the hand of an old hemp sheet. Because these sheets have been around for so long, they have seen the wash basin over and over. This washed cloth, which is softer than cotton and more comfortable than silk, has an earthy texture that I have always thought compliments our skin naturally - almost as if it was a living organism. These old sheets also make great curtains, duvet covers, slipcovers and towels...and they dye up beautifully if you need more color in your life.
If you've signed up for our chateau getaway this summer, we'll go out looking for old linen, nettle and hemp sheets - and if you can carry them home (they can weigh up to 5 pounds each) you'll never be able to sleep without them! If you don't make it to France to find your old sheets, you can always find plenty of stock at French General, or check out Couleur-Chanvre - I like their tag line "Nature gets into our houses."

8 comments:

Lee W - The Way I See It said...

I've never heard of hemp sheets! They sound heavenly. I hate being cold, and hot too! I love flannel sheets because they are so soft... even in summer (OK, with the AC). I hope to be able to experience these sheet someday!

Laura said...

I adore old hemp sheets and have a few of them....two of which were passed down to me by my great grandmother (who I was named after)....the sheets have her mother's initials embroidered in red on them. I know just what you mean when you write of their virtues...the look...the feel..of hemp!

cbnovick said...

i have a few old 'homespun' heavy flax linen sheets that i use layered under red/oatmeal guest towels/splashers as tablecloths...mine are from Germany...perhaps spun in Belgium? romantic to think so at least (-; LOVE the feel of flax but hemp is nice too. I have not felt or seen nettle ones before. Love reading your blog and your store is GLORY!! I recently ordered the old pailettes/ssequins card...it's adorning my antique fabric table. Cindy of Norhern Calif.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait! ALL IN, for France! I love it too much! Touch, feel, eat, drink, touch some more, SLEEP in heavenly sheets, and do it all over again........! Yum-Bo-Lena! OX, Hol

Rabbit Hill Creations said...

How interesting, I've never heard of hemp sheets. I would like to find some, any possibility that I could be able to here in the states?

Melissa said...

If I close my eyes, I can almost feel what it is like to curl up in the chateau's bed, in delightful sheets. Speaking of bringing 5 pounds of linen back from France.... Will we have an option to ship things home instead of bringing them back on the plane? Je suis excite (I am excited!)

flaxandspindle said...

Your description of hemp and linen is exactly how I feel as well. There is something so biblical and earthy about it all.

Floss said...

I'm the happy new owner of two hemp sheets with red initials on them! (The initials are JG...) I googled them to try to find out more and it brought be straight back to you - where else? I'm thinking of using them on our sofa, but I may sleep under one now, to get the full experience. Thank you!