I’m trying to switch to more reusable stuff and there’s nothing better than a bad cold to make you think about getting rid of those paper tissues. I’d had a packet of Sublime Stitching embroiderable handkerchiefs in my stash forever, so now was the time.

All the motifs I used were also from Sublime Stitching. In the top photo, the top two handkerchiefs were embroidered with small motifs from Sublime Stitching’s new Mary Blair pattern portfolio (the whole portfolio is gorgeous and I will be definitely embroidering some of the much bigger pieces). The third handkerchief down was embroidered with Sublime Stitching’s Epic Alphabet and the fourth was embroidered with one of the motifs from Sublime Stitching’s Hanky Corners collection.

I found the handkerchiefs to be easy to stitch on and they feel so much better on your nose than a paper tissue. I’d already washed these at 90 before photographing them, I’d had the four leaf clover one in my pocket during a recent job interview, and the other three, well, I knew that the cat had plonked her bum on one of the others, mid embroidery and I couldn’t remember which one, so I washed all to be safe. I deliberately made sure that I used DMC, as it’s fairly colour safe, when embroidering these and very deliberately didn’t use red, as even with DMC, that’s often not colour safe at all. The handkerchiefs look like they washed well.

I’ve been reading about the hygiene issues around paper tissues versus handkerchiefs and the summary pretty much seems to be, it’s not so much the use, it’s what you do with them afterwards. A damp bit of tissue, if it’s left around or you keep picking it up to use again, is very unhygienic whereas if you fold the handkerchief, you’re keeping the germs enclosed and as long as you’re not using it so that it’s a damp, sodden thing, it should be okay.

The problem I’m finding with switching to reusables (I’m also trying to use cleaning cloths instead of paper kitchen towel), is storage, storing handkerchiefs or kitchen cloths is a different sort of storage than a packet of tissues or a roll of kitchen paper, and also organisation, making sure you’ve got enough washed, and with handkerchiefs, remembering to bring them with you. We’ve been pampered by all these really convenient, disposable options for years, my grandmothers would scoff at me going “OMG, I’ll have to remember to have enough clean cloths and where do I store them!?!”.

PS I couldn’t post about handkerchiefs without a teensy bit of self promotion (and I haven’t mentioned this book in years, so), if you’re interested in handkerchief patterns, I actually have a series that I designed, in Hoopla: Art of Unexpected Embroidery, which is still available on Kindle. You can all see snippets of it in Google Books, yep my first ever published in a book embroidery pattern and the spelt my surname wrong!

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