Homespun linen table cloth with a netted fringe, c. 1790-1820. Pictured in
Chase House, Strawbery Banke Museum. Bruce Alexander Photography.
This tablecloth, found at an estate sale in New Hampshire, is a good
example of homespun linen. It was made from two narrow panels seamed down
the middle, then trimmed with netting. Even to the naked eye, the thread
has the sheen common to linen, but the tassels look somewhat different.
Could they be cotton? In the period in which it was made, there was plenty
of factory-spun thead around.
An examination by Prof. Margaret Ordonez of the University of Rhode Island
leaves no doubt but what the tassels, like the rest of the cloth, were
spun from flax.