Holiday Weaving 2019

Family dinner at our house during my son’s high school years became a point of contention. Apparently, according to my son, “Nobody else had to eat dinner with their family every night.” I started to feel like one of the last holdouts—what with making dinner, setting the table with placemats and napkins (some of them handwoven), and requiring cellphones to be either put away or, if held (surreptitiously) under the table, turned off. In the end, I think it was worth it: Today, that same son, now a grown man, wants to eat dinner with us, knows how to set a table, and sometimes even makes dinner for us all.

When it comes to china, too, I feel like I’m one of the last holdouts. No, I don’t serve dinner on china every night(!), but I was the lucky recipient of my husband’s family’s china. Not that anyone else in the family wanted it—my sisters-in-law weren’t interested in dishes that couldn’t go into the dishwasher. The pattern “Queen’s Garden” isn’t one that I would have chosen, but I love it. To be honest, some of it did go into the attic, because I just didn’t see myself serving consommé or using demitasse cups in the near future. We use the rest of the set for holidays and special occasions, and sometimes I just use it for fun—it can make a regular dinner party feel special.

holiday weaving

John Aynsley Queen’s Garden China

What I haven’t been able to figure out is which napkins and table runner to weave that match the china. As you can see from the photograph, it’s a very light blue with dark-gray designs and little splashes of primary colors. I have commercial napkins that are robin-egg blue and another set that are dark gray, and I guess they are fine, but, as a weaver, I feel like I should be able to weave something really spectacular. I’m leaning toward a classic set of linen napkins with, maybe, a little lace border. It’s September, and we’re playing host to Thanksgiving, so I’m going to say now that those napkins won’t be done in time, although I might be able to get them done by Christmas. For the runner, I think a small overshot pattern using the same linen and maybe that robin-egg blue or another pastel color just might be the answer.


Barbara Miller’s Buttons & Bows Runner, Handwoven Nov/Dec 2017. Photo credit: George Boe

Weaving for the holidays is tricky. It’s not like making cookies or a pie, which you might start two days before, at the earliest. Weaving takes time and requires planning, and when the holidays are upon you, it’s too late. If you want to weave for your own holiday table, I suggest you start now, and you might give yourself a break and plan for your project to be finished for the 2019 holiday season. Now, as I think about it, that’s what I’m going to do. Those linen napkins will be for the 2019 holiday season, although that runner could be done in time for the holidays.

Join me as one of the last holdouts. It’s either that or succumbing to cell phones at the dinner table.

Weave well!

Featured Image: Lyn Lucas’s Sparkling Snowflake Runner from Handwoven November/December 2012 Credit: Joe Coca

Want to weave for the 2018 or 2019 holidays? Try some of these resources.



  1. Anonymous at 7:39 am September 21, 2018

    I grew up with a set table and linens from my grandmothers. And I have multiple sets of china from them both including French Haviland that is pink (not my favorite). On family gatherings I dress up the table, too, and I have the same table that is in the picture! It opens out to seat many and the leaves push in and don’t have to be stored.

  2. Anonymous at 4:43 pm September 21, 2018

    We always had the evening meal as a family and often our daughter’s friends ‘ just happened to be on hand’ at meal time. They liked sitting at the table and talking. She moved away for college and brought friends home on vacations and again they enjoyed the family meals. It saddened me when one friend said her family never ate breakfast or supper together at the table. Now in her 30’s, she and her friends come often for Sunday Supper and their birthdays have to have the china, candles, etc. I’m glad we didn’t give in to the high school groans and moans not to sit at the table and think it helped us remain close.

  3. Gloria O at 7:00 pm September 23, 2018

    What is the pattern in the photo with the heavy glass candlesticks?

    • Tamara Schmiege at 9:14 am September 24, 2018

      Lyn Lucas’s Sparkling Snowflake Runner from Handwoven November/December 2012

  4. Gloria O at 7:00 pm September 23, 2018

    What is the pattern in the photo with the heavy glass candlesticks?

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