Friday, January 15, 2010

diy: cheese cloth curtain

We are deep into January... deep into snow... deep into the rhythm of shorter days and early sunsets. I think that I've learned to handle northeastern winters quite well, but what keeps me happy is light. Keeping my house flooded with natural light lifts all of our spirits and keeps the winter blues away. Enter my latest project: wispy curtains that let the light shine in! I had bought a package of cheesecloth a couple of months back for straining yogurt. It wound up in my fabric stash instead of the kitchen. The loose weave looked too promising to sacrifice for yogurt. I knew I'd come up with some way to celebrate it as a textile, rather than just the incredible list of duties that its package boasts: steaming, straining, spice bags, basting, poaching canning, and dusting! Yesterday, during a rare play-date for ME, my good friend Kathrin came for coffee. We had lots of show and tell of things we've been making and for some reason I felt compelled to bring out my cheesecloth." What can we make with this?" I asked. As we gently unfolded the gauzy two yards we oohed and aahhed over its ethereal qualities. "Poor man's lace" were words that came to mind. Kathrin thought it would make a lovely curtain. I happen to have two windows in our dining area that have sported a rod, but no curtain for years. I got up on a chair and draped over the 2 yards of sheer unbleached cotton. Delicious! Didn't need anything more. And most importantly, look at that sunshine!

I kept it up all day, and I think we're all smitten with it. In fact, my husband's first words upon walking in the door were about how much he loved the new curtain. I stopped off at our co-op for a couple more yards today (less than $3.00 locally). They are just right in our old farm kitchen. A wisp of poetry and romance floating over the windows and letting the light stream in, softening the intensity of all of the snowy view. Each curtain looks old and full of history and echos of the weathered and aged curtains framed in abandoned farmhouse windows in these rural parts. Here's a view in early morning.

If you live in a cold climate, but have drafty, old windows this is obviously a style for you to try in a warmer season. We are quite fortunate that the former owner of our 1850's home retained the original sills/frames when he replaced the window panes with updated energy efficient ones.

I thought about making these curtains a bit more decorative or finished with a little vintage lace or ribbons, but you know how much I like simplicity in strategic spots. I think these will stay as is. My studio, however, is far from simple.

This window made a perfect spot to try out a different version. Love it, too!

Recipe for a poetic curtain:
  • Tack a piece of jute twine to the top of the window frame.
  • Drape cheese cloth and secure it with clothespins.
  • For a bit of whimsy, tie a bow of twine to cinch the center and embellish with a paper flower.

I bought my unbleached cloth locally, but if you can't get it at your health food store, find it here.

Obviously, you can really customize these with your own style of embellishing and draping. More on my favorite new paper flowers next week. I'll be back over the weekend with more of India.

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  1. very pretty Maya! i love the simplicity of this project.

  2. They are gorgeous, I have several windows with no curtains, but I just don't want to lose the light. This may be just what I need.

  3. Maya - these are so pretty and just the right touch! I also have to ask about the wonderful clothespin with the large curlicue spring - is it new or old? Commonly found?

    --Vicki K

  4. Vicki- the clothespins are vintage. My mother collects them... and I've adopted a few! Thanks for noticing them... I think they are beautiful and so deserving of a little attention.

  5. Unbleached cheese cloth is so pretty. And it looks fab in your home! I've made lots if curtains like yours, but I've always dyed it. Nothing fancy, just a dip in some (Stockmar) water color. I use a pretty stick to drape it over, I think the gauze goes so well with something organic.

  6. I really love the look of your "poor man's lace." I have bare windows right now to allow the little bit of light we have at this season to come streaming in. You're so clever.


  7. These are great. I the lack of sun in the winter is a real downer for us, so letting in as much natural light as possible keeps us all sane. This is an awesome idea!

  8. I read this post and loved it on my blogreader before I realized who had posted it. Don't you know it was maya!

    Gorgeous just the way it is, but I agree, some delicate embellishments might make it look just a bit more finished. Little snowflakes, little flowers, as if they were floating down from the heavens. :) Corny... but I bet it would look awesome.

  9. omg...I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE this!!!your home looks so warm and inviting!!!

  10. $3 a yard? Wow, that beats $5 for a little packet at the supermarket! Love what you've done with it.

  11. I LOVE these and I have absolutely positively fallen in love with your home. The style of your dining room is almost spot on to what I've been imagining for mine!!

    Is it okay if I use that photo on my blog to talk about it? Please let me know!

    -Sarah :)

  12. Wonderful! The last time I made ricotta cheese, I washed out the cheesecloth, and wondered how I could fashionably turn it into a scarf!

  13. Your curtain is so beautiful. Simple and elegant.

  14. Pretty, pretty, pretty, all so very pretty!

  15. Wow, love the curtains!! What a strange and great idea! :p
    And I really love the natural wood in your dining room. Amazing.

    Have a great weekend! :)

  16. Very creative. You have a lovely home.

  17. i am stealing this idea for my bathroom window! it has that ugly privacy texture. i never have covered it because i like the light coming in. nowi can :)
    thanks for sharing!

  18. Nalamienea-
    Sounds great, Sarah!

    RCakeWalk- the first thing I did was wrap it around my neck! As soon as wool season is over, I'm planning on adopting these as my new accessory!Let's start a trend!

  19. this makes me so happy! since i am on a budget, and a former fashion and fibers major, i googled "cheesecloth curtains" hoping that it was possible- and lo and behold, your lovely lovely blog came up! i am so excited to flip through your posts now!

  20. I just moved in to an apartment with lots of windows I do not want to buy builds or curtains until i have furniture which will probably be a year or so Will cheese cloth give a little privacy at night when lights are on? Thanks, M



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