Just as much as I love reds and browns at Christmas (or anytime of year for that matter), there is something about the subtlety and softness of shades of white and naturals that give my home a sense of peace and serenity amidst the holiday hustle and bustle. The look above was used as a display at a show but ended up in my master bedroom. Homespun tow grainbags are among my favorites for creating this look and the socks (both wool and cotton) add a nice simple contrast in form to the linear look of the bags. The linen child's dress completes the vignette.
The lowly tow grain bag is one of my favorite utilitarian textiles. It was used in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries as a way to bring grain home from the mill. In a time when the production of cloth was an arduous task, all cloth was considered valuable. A farmer would often mark his bag with his name by stencil, or bag stamp. Some farmers would use a decorative symbol such as an eagle, or a horse, or sheep as a very distinctive identifying mark on his bag. These bags and carved wooden bag stamps are highly prized and much sought after today. The farmer would then drop the bag at the mill on his way to town and pick it up on his return, and the miller would know exactly whose bag it was he just filled.
In addition to looking great on a peg rack, they also make great bolster pillow covers. I just can't get enough of them. Like all remnants of Pennsylvania homespun culture they are becoming harder and harder to find.