Just a little Valentine

My grandfather carried a handkerchief, and I think it’s a special, sweet, old-fashioned, and useful little thing- harkening back to an age of simple and elegant manliness. You can give it to a crying woman on a bench somewhere, entertain a small child, mop your brow, smooth the neck of a guitar, pick up a handgun at a crime scene like it’s 1939, wrap up a sweet treat to go, put it up your sleeve or suit pocket, perform sleight of hand, or (obviously) blow your nose. This Valentine’s Day, I gave Sweetheart a parcel of plain white cotton handkerchiefs that I clumsily embroidered- three with hearts and three each with funny squashed A’s on them (his initial), because I think he’s all of these things- sweet, old fashioned, simple, and manly. This little project was easy and fun- I knocked out the embroidery drinking beer and watching Downton Abbey (reveling in both my emancipation and my needlepoint). If you’re a crewel mistress, you could make these pretty fancy, but you really only need a simple running stitch to keep it manly. Get 100% cotton hankies, wash them and iron them first, double the thread, and just freehand the hearts. And, hey, it’s not 1800, if they turn out a little crookedy, that’s ok.

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