Right after Christmas I decided to give cloth napkins a try. I've read/heard a variety of opinions on the eco friendliness of this decision. In some circles its thought of as a wash because of the energy and resources spent on laundering. On the other hand, paper napkins come in plastic packaging and are just another waste of trees. I had some small towels left over from a craft project. They weren't really high quality so they became the fabric to create my napkins. I believe the towels were 24"x36" but I'm not certain.
I cut each towel into fourths, stiched the edges over and viola we had napkins. That was the easy part. The challenge, as I saw it, was not making the napkins but making them cost effective and eco friendlier than the ones I'd read about. The trick seemed to be in getting more than one meal out of each napkin. So how do you get a longer life out of a napkin without having the family mutiny? Clothespins!
A napkin was attached to the back of each persons chair with a clothespin. That is their napkin for the week (hopefully.) At each meal the napkin is placed on the table and after each meal it is put back on that person's chair. If the napkin gets to disgusting, I have extras. The napkins get washed with whatever laundry has room at the end of the week. So far, its worked beautifully.
I know you're curious about when I entertain and the answer is yes, I used the cloth napkins. No one even blinked, but all guests got a clean one. There are six of us, so I made 16 napkins. That's two sets for us and four spares.
This weekend is the real test, my mother in law hasn't seen them yet!