By Kathryn Clark.
A few years ago, I came across an image of a table setting and fell hard. After I did a bit of research, I learned that these stunning linen tablecloths were sewn just a few miles north of San Francisco by Tricia Rose of Rough Linen. That’s right: we don’t need to go all the way to Europe to find good quality linen anymore!
Tricia is one of those fortunate people who truly lives a life surrounded by her passions. She sews all of her natural linens in a charming 1946 cottage that dips over the water, surrounded by a well-tended (if a bit wild) garden.
Tricia’s love of linen began with the discovery of a homespun, hand-sewn pillow slip made in 1840 by Tricia’s grandmother’s great grandmother. Proof of the quality of linen lies in the fact that it’s still in use, and still looks like new.
Tricia has a set of credos that she follows in her work and her life. (That was inspiration in itself. How many of us have credos?) And they’re good ones. The most important one? “I like real.” Sad to say, this is a rarity these days, isn’t it? Hands-on skill is highly important to her, as is paring things down to their essence. Yes. This is something we seem to have lost along the way in the past few generations.
Tricia is very particular about where she sources her material. She uses European flax. It’s a superior linen because of its ideal growing conditions and careful harvesting and processing. Tricia suspects the looms that weave the Orkney linen must be very old, as she hasn’t come across the texture anywhere else. And all of the products she makes are expertly sewn by her and her alone. She treats the material with the respect it deserves.
Tricia has a page on her website where she shares stories about her company, as well as numerous videos about linen. Here’s her story in her own words.
All images courtesy of Rough Linen.