Several years ago, we owned a small, but very charming lake house here in North Carolina. The purchase of the lake house was rather spur of the moment, which is truly a little out of character for us. But, given the last minute nature of it, we found ourselves scurrying around to outfit it.
Several of our friends and family members gifted us furniture, artwork, dishes, linens and many other items that helped make our little cottage a home. One of the many items ‘gifted' by my parents was an old Candlewick bedspread. I can't remember ever seeing this bedspread in any of the homes we lived in during my childhood, so I'm not sure where it came from.
It had clearly seen better days, with several spots that looked like rust sprinkled across it. In any event, when we sold the lake house, 5 years ago, the bedspread found its way to my attic. I go through my attic periodically (not frequently-periodically though) and each time I considered the fate of the stained candlewick bedspread, I found I just couldn't dispose of it.
Fun Fact: Candlewicking became popular in towards the end of the 18th century, around the time of the invention of the cotton gin. It's an embroidery technique done on 100-percent cotton muslin, which has not been preshrunk.
The candlewicking fabric is washed after stitching as the shrinking of the muslin will not only hold the knots, but it also will cause the embroidered stitches to pop. Traditionally, the same material used as wicks of candles is what was used to do the emroidery. The fringe that finishes Candlewicking bedspreads is another characteristic of traditional candlewicking.
I'm not sure what prompted me to think to turn this bedspread into handtowels, but I'm glad of that fleeting moment of genius. I really love these in my guest bathroom and I love that I was able to upcycle this bedspread instead of disposing of it.
The fringe on the bedspread was my favorite thing about the bedspread, so I definitely wanted to use that trim as trim for my hand towels as well. However, found that the scattered rust spots made it hard to find a piece that had the trim, but without the rust. So…I did what any crafty gal would do, I removed the fringe and reattached it to pieces from the bedspread that were not stained.
Removing the fringe was the most time consuming part of this project, but one easily accomplished sitting in front of a good movie. I did find that the hand towel had more oomph to it when it was doubled, so I sewed two pieces of the candlewick together and then sewed the fringe on the bottom.
The finished hand towel is 14″ by 29″ with the fringe. I added 1/2″ to each side when I cut the material, so I cut 2 15″ by 30″ pieces of the material.
This one bedspread made quite a few hand towels, so I was more than happy to gift some of them to friends and family without really diminishing my own stash. Paired with a pretty basket, a bar of soap or pretty soap dish, these hand towels would make the perfect gift.
Here's a round-up of some great items to accompany your candlewick hand towels if you're looking to gift them. (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience and I will earn a small commission if these products are purchased. However, please know that I won’t recommend a product I don’t or wouldn’t use. Also, the price you are charged does not increase through the use of these links. Any income we earn from this affiliate revenue helps defray the costs associated with operating this blog. See here for my full disclosure policy.)
Have a favorite item that you've upcycled? I'm always looking for good ideas, so please share it.
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