Antique Hankies–objects of beauty and great function

Hankies, just gotta love ‘em.


            Time to take a trip down memory lane.  Do you remember the days when everyone carried a cloth hankie?  I spent many an hour ironing my father’s handkerchiefs when I was a child, but I do not recall my mother using them.

            When my grandmother-in-law passed away and we were going through her things, her daughter, my mother-in-law brought a large handful of grandma’s handkerchiefs to me.  Her thought was, “they’re pretty and they are fabric.  You must be able to use them somehow.”  I wasn’t so sure, but I took them home with me to remind me of Grandma.

            It wasn’t till I began crazy quilting that I learned just how to use a tiny work of art like a woman’s hankie.  I met a teacher named Cindy Brick who wrote a wonderful book called, “Hankie Pankey Crazy Quilts”.  Cindy makes the most “exquisite crazy quilts” using bits and pieces of cut-up hankies.  Check out her book on 

For more info about Cindy, here’s her website.

            Anyway, one of Grandma’s hankies looked a bit unusual; it was obviously very, very old.  It even said “turkey red” on the side of it which I believe was a very old form of red dye.

            Cindy told me it was made before the turn of the century and at auction, could bring more than thirty dollars.  I know that “finding value” in such trivial things as an “old snot rag” depends on the person looking at the object in question, but what I’m saying is, “don’t turn your nose up at a bunch of old hankies” at the next auction or estate sale you attend.  You might find something of great value.  The value of some old hankies is nothing to “sneeze at”.  The beauty of some of these tiny pieces of art for your nose might “bring you to tears”.  (okay…okay…I’m done.  GGGrin!) 


Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *