Being the lover of period piece films (Jane Austen, anyone?), you can't help but notice the frequent, chivalrous offers of a handkerchief to a weeping woman. Like the part in Sense and Sensibility when Elinor is offered Edward Ferris' carefully monogrammed handkerchief. If I remember my college Shakespeare classes well enough, I think a handkerchief played a pretty important role in Othello. I also remember in the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians that a wet handkerchief breaks the ice between the two main human characters. In any case, I only mention this because it seems as if the handkerchief, once so commonly used and sometimes socially significant in certain cases, is mostly a thing of the past. But why? Some think it's unsanitary and prefer a disposable option. I say, that's what hot water and detergent are for.
Did you know that when Kleenex started making tissues, they weren't intended for noses, but for removing make-up? Once they realized people used them for blowing their noses, then the company started marketing them as a disposable handkerchief. I think tissues have their places - in schools, churches, and other public places - but the cloth handkerchiefs work well in the home. I even pack a few in my bag when we go places.
Making homemade hankies is so easy -- I'm only categorizing it under sewing because there's fabric and a sewing tool involved in the process. I made all our hankies in about five minutes or so, in my pajamas, in my bed with my cold-stricken boy. All you need is a some fleece fabric and a pair of pinking shears. I used some old baby blankets that had become worn and faded. Just cut them into squares and you've got a good set of hankies! I cut mine out with regular scissors and then went over the edges with pinking shears. It's a good idea to use pinking shears - those scissors that cut in a zigzag - because it will keep the fabric from fraying.
I keep the clean hankies in baskets in the bathrooms, which works well for us. Seems like a fitting place for them. I'm totally converted to the hanky. It's economical, but also friendlier. I don't care what all those Kleenex commercials say or how much lotion they put in the tissues, my nose gets raw when I have to wipe it for the thousandth time. With the handkerchief, it's softer on your face and keeps your nose from getting sore. That stinging, bring-tears-to-your-eyes feeling when you have to wipe your red, raw nose just adds insult to injury when you have a cold. And then there's just something that feels extra-nuturing and a little old-fashioned when you wipe little tears away with a hanky.