Buying and Folding Napkins
With the rise in interest in not being wasteful (our grandparents called it being frugal; today we call it being green), cloth napkins are making a huge come back. Not that cloth napkins ever went out of style. High quality linen napkins have long been the choice whenever an elegant setting is desired.
But today, we have many more options.
Not only are there high-thread count linen napkins and casual paper napkins, but there are several choices in between; Formal and elegant.
When shopping for quality linen (or perhaps linen and cotton) napkins for formal occasions, look for napkins not just with a high thread count, but with a comfortable texture. Some 300 thread count linens feel softer than 1000 count thread count linens because of construction and yarn quality.
Therefore, before buying napkins, handle them and choose something with the right mixture of softness and crispness for your tastes and circumstances.
Damask napkins – usually made from a silk and cotton or flax blend – are also considered highly formal. Damask is a way of weaving the fabric, and not the name of a type of yarn or thread.
White napkins are still considered the best choice for formal occasions, but for slightly less formal situations, consider colored linen napkins.
Dark colored napkins (think burgundy) or patterned napkins may last longer because stains won’t be as obvious. On the other hand, if they aren’t color fast, you’ll have to replace them often, so read care labels carefully.
For everyday use, cloth napkins are still a great choice. However, you’ll probably want to select a cloth that has some synthetic fiber so you won’t have to iron the napkin before each use.
Cotton and a bit of synthetic are a nice choice – soft, absorbent, and durable.
Napkin Sizes and Types
Almost all cloth napkins are square, but there are generally three sizes to choose from.
Beverage (or cocktail) napkins, which are presented with hors d-oeuvres and drinks, about about five inches square.
Luncheon napkins are usually between 11 and 13 inches square, while dinner napkins are often around 20 inches square.
If you’re having a large formal event (like a wedding) and can’t afford linen napkins for everyone, or you simply want to step up from ordinary paper napkins, consider using one of the new linen-like napkins available today.
The best examples of this type of napkin look and feel a great deal like the real thing. They can even be personalized with a monogram.
Whether disposable linen-like napkins make sense for you economically or environmentally will depend upon your situation. On one hand, you’ll save water and money on laundry, and the napkins are biodegradable.
On the other hand, because you’ll be buying more napkins (if you use them regularly), more manufacturing energy will be used to produce the disposable napkins.
Why not add a little interest to the table by giving napkin folding a try?
There is something much more festive about a table with well-folded napkins – and, fortunately, anyone can learn the craft of napkin folding.
For best results, start with a crease-free napkin – either a good quality linen-like napkin, or a cloth napkin. The napkin should be square, and in some cases, folding might be easier if the napkin is lightly starched.
Work on a hard surface, and press each fold heavily.
Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : Buying and Folding Napkins