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The Global Organic Textile Standard and You!

The Global Organic Textile Standard: what it means to you, your family, the world.

The term “organic” appears everywhere these days. It’s at the grocery store, the cosmetics counter, and Loomed NOLA too. But what does this label mean? And why is it important for textiles?

At Loomed NOLA all of our cotton is certified organic through the Global Organic Textile Standard, and it’s awesome.

What is the Global Organic Textile Standard? The Global Organic Textile Standard, or G.O.T.S., “is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.” In other words, the G.O.T.S. acts like the hall monitor for farmers and factories producing organics.

What are the “ecological criteria” mentioned in their definition?

In the farming stage, only approved organic materials and practices are used in the planting, cultivating and harvesting steps. Farmers tell bedtime stories to the cotton plants at night to soothe them to sleep (only kidding!).

In the processing stage, manufacturers can’t use scary chemicals (think toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, and the like) while turning cotton bolls into thread. Manufacturers’ physical plants, including equipment and cleaning materials, are held to the same standard. Do you want carcinogenic amine compounds in your towels? Nope, us either!

What about the “social criteria”?

This is when we really fall in love with the G.O.T.S.! They specifically prohibit practices like child labor, forced labor, excessive working hours, and discrimination. They guarantee living wages, safe living conditions, and regular employment. Happy workers fairly paid? We love it!

In short, the Global Organic Textile Standard makes sure that the clothes you wear and the towels you use don’t harm you, your environment, or the lovely people who made them.

 

Want to know more about the Global Organic Textile Standard? Visit their website here!

Re-create a Turkish Bath At Home

The Turkish Bath (at Home)

Can’t make it to Istanbul? Re-create the experience at home.

 

Perhaps you have visited a Turkish bath before, or perhaps you have always wanted to. While nothing can replace the real-deal experience, you can recreate elements of this important ritual at home.

 

A Bit of History

Turkish Baths, or Hammam, occupy a wondrous place in the imagination. Scenes of mostly nude figures lounging atop glorious marble slabs immediately jump to mind (Ingres The Turkish Bath, anyone?). For centuries, Turks have been stripping down and getting scrubbed as part of their weekly routine. Separated by gender, the hammam was one of the only places women could gather outside of the home. At the hammam, gossip was exchanged and future daughters-in-law selected (for a great read about this and more about Istanbul life check out Irfan Orga’s wonderful book, Portrait of a Turkish Family). For men, the hammam also provided an important social setting for political machinations and business dealings. I think the west missed out BIG TIME by not borrowing this tradition. We at Loomed are here to help!

 

Basic Process

  • Prep your skin:
    • When you enter a Turkish bath, you strip down to your level of comfort and spend some time lounging in a hot steamy environment; some hammam have saunas, some have hot tubs or pools, some have large steamy rooms complete with marble tubs and pedestals. All of these areas perform the same function: they help your skin get really soft and easily scrubbed.
    • At home, you can recreate this experience by hanging out in a steamy shower for at least ten minutes, although the longer the better. You can also soak in a tub for that time, but make sure that all of your skin is being exposed to the warm water. In traditional Turkish baths they have copper or aluminum bowls used to pour water over your body to make sure that all of your skin is good and soft. Don’t have an authentic hammam bowl lying around? No worries – a plastic cup works just fine.
  • Scrub:
    • Slipping your hand into your kese, your Turkish exfoliating mitt, you scrub your body in long strokes and always in the direction of your heart (good for circulation). As you scrub, you will start to see dirty spaghettis of dead skin forming. Success!
    • Periodically rinse your kese under warm water to clear off the dead skin. DO NOT USE SOAP.
    • I repeat, DO NOT USE SOAP with your mitt! The soap will fill in the tiny grooves in the fabric, and your kese mitt will not exfoliate well if this happens.
  • Wash:
    • Once you have rinsed your kese and hung it to dry (never wash your kese in the machine), lather a wash cloth or bathing sponge really well and wash away all your dead skin!
  • Dry off and apply calming lotion
    • In Turkey, hammams will apply different scents to calm and soothe. Rose and lavender are particularly common; you can use whatever you have on hand.
  • Re-hydrate: drink lots of water and relax!

 

Your skin will be grateful.

 

Caring for your Turkish Towel

Like all objects meant to last a lifetime, your Turkish towels will need a little maintenance from time to time. Here are some common Turkish towel issues that you can take care of on your own.

Help: the tassels on my Turkish towel/blanket/scarf have come undone.

This is a simple fix. Follow this step-by-step guide to repair an undone tassel on your Turkish towel, blanket, or scarf.

  1. Divide the loose threads into two roughly equal sections.
  2. Twist the two sections separately in a clockwise direction until each piece is twisted to the ends.
  3. Twist the two sections together in the opposite (counter-clockwise) direction until the two sections are twisted completely.
  4. Tie a knot at the end, and your finished!
  5. Enjoy your Turkish towel/blanket/scarf.

Like to see a visual? Check out this video to see how it’s done: Tying Tassels

Help: a loop has gotten pulled on my favorite Turkish towel/blanket/scarf.

Now this is an easy fix: simply snip the loop to be even with the rest of the loops. This also works on flat-woven Turkish towels.  Nervous you might do permanent damage? Don’t be – you can’t make a whole in a hand woven piece. Here, watch this video for proof: Snipping Loops

Help: I’ve spilled something on my Turkish towel. What can I use to treat the stain?

Use any store-bought stain treatment, but be careful to avoid bleach. A paste made with baking soda and vinegar also works wonders and is an all natural way to remove stains.

My white Turkish towels could use some whitening. Can I use bleach?

NO! Bleach weakens fibers making them less absorbent and more fragile. We recommend adding 1/4 cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar to a wash.

I want to brighten my Turkish towels. Can I use non-chlorine bleach or a powdered bleach (like Oxyclean)?

We recommend avoiding all these harsh chemicals because they weaken fibers and make them more fragile. Like we suggested for whites, adding 1/4 cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar to a wash does wonders to brighten up your Turkish textiles.

 

We hope this helps you take care of your Turkish towels! As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 504.304.2047 or email us at molly@loomednola.com.

Different Uses for a Turkish Towel

Different ways to use your Turkish Towel

Take your Turkish Towel from the beach to the airplane and beyond.

We love our Turkish towels for their versatility. Before the idea for the business began to form, Molly and Paul took their Turkish towels on a five week backpacking trip across Europe. Molly used her pestamel as her scarf, plane blanket, shawl and towel (of course!). Anyone who has traveled for a bit knows the simple luxury of a soft, absorbent towel (that covers more than a quarter of your body). After this trip, Molly and Paul realized how wonderfully versatile and practical Turkish towels were for not only travel but also everyday use. And the idea for Loomed NOLA was born!

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Our graphic, designed by the lovely BLOODHOUND NOLA, shows the different ways to use a pestamel (Turkish towel).

  • Because our Turkish towels are made with organic cotton, they make wonderfully breathable scarves for spring or fall and winter.

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  • We like using our Turkish towels for baby blankets, because we know our G.O.T.S. (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton is safe for use on our little ones.
  • The absorbency and quick-drying of the G.O.T.S. certified organic cotton makes our Turkish towels ideal for the beach.
  • We keep a few Turkish towels by the couch to wrap up in while watching a film or reading a book.

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  • Used as a tablecloth on a small table or a table runner on a larger table, our Turkish towels add texture and interest to a dining area.

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  • Okay, okay – this one might be a stretch, but we personally love to drape our fabulous pup Alice Tallulah in a Turkish towel before she goes out for an evening on the town.
  • Finally, we come to the most traditional use for our Turkish towels – a bath towel! Light and lovely for hot summer months, the thin pestamel dry quickly and are naturally resistant to mold and mildew.

Have another use that we haven’t thought of? Tell us about it in the comments, or tag us on instagram: #loomedliving

So what IS a Turkish Towel anyway?

Turkish Towels: an Explanation and a History

Turkish Towels are having a moment right now. Designers and magazines feature them; everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Oprah to Martha Stewart are recommending Turkish towels. So that might have you wondering: what is a Turkish towel, exactly? And why are they better? Loomed NOLA is here to answer all your questions, and help you sort what is good from what is merely good marketing!

What is a Turkish Towel?

A Turkish towel is a towel made in Turkey. No, really! There is no single definition or unifying feature to help you weed out mediocre towels from superb ones. Wal Mart sold Turkish towels in packs of 19 for $2.99 this past holiday season. Not quite the stuff of luxury, right?

Luxurious, plush towels were first created by Turkish weavers sometime during the eighteenth century. The women of the sultan’s harem demanded something more beautiful and luxe than the flat towels they were used to, and the weavers complied. Adding a second warp thread tied off by the weft thread, they were able to add hundreds of tiny loops to a flat piece creating what we now recognize as a towel.

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Before these plush towels were invented, people used flat woven towels, which are fueling the current craze. They come to us in many names: fouta towel, pestamel, peshtemel, etc. Pestamel combine the absorbency of cotton with the quick-dry of a flat woven piece.

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Are all plush Turkish Towels created equal?

Nope. Mass produced cotton or poly-fiber blends woven on large factory machines are pretty much the same wherever you get them, but if they were made in Turkey or use Turkish materials, people call them “Turkish Towels”. Polyester blend towels make particularly bad towels because polyester fibers don’t absorb water (definitely not what you want in a towel).

Towels that have been hand-woven are better than factory loomed towels because the cotton has been handled better at slower speeds, and will last longer. Remember those towels passed down from your grandmother? Yep, those were probably hand-loomed. You should definitely fight your sister for them.

What’s the big deal with the flat woven Turkish Towels?

Flat woven Turkish Towels, or pestamel, are popular right now because they are practical. They dry quickly while still drying you off. They fold down to a fraction of their size making them a breeze to bring to and from the beach. They launder easily. The list goes on — basically, they make your load lighter and your life easier.

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Why are the Turkish Towels from Loomed NOLA superior to others?

Our towels are made from organic cotton or linen. Organic cotton makes a BIG difference when it comes to absorbency and durability. Cotton that hasn’t been exposed to harsh chemicals during the growing and processing phase make it to the loom with its strength and softness intact. Organic cotton gets better with age and use, and it stays soft, too.

Our towels are hand-woven by artisan weavers whose families have been weaving for a long time. Like hundreds of years long. Their ancestors invented the plush towel. Additionally, when fibers are run through factory looms at super high speeds, both cotton and linen fibers become stressed resulting in a rough feel and poor quality thread. Although our weavers are very speedy, they take care of the thread as they work with it.

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Another advantage to hand-woven pieces? A human’s eye for creativity and design. A machine can’t create a unique pattern with a rainbow of colors. Because our weavers are artists, they can easily change and create and improve their designs making our selection unique in today’s market.

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Takeaways?

The finest plush towels in the world are hand-woven from organic Turkish cotton. They can be found at Loomed NOLA.

The best flat-woven towels are hand-woven from organic Turkish cotton. They combine the best materials with an artist’s eye for beauty and design. They are functional, beautiful, and durable. They can also be found at Loomed NOLA

We will see you soon!

Loomed’s Big Remodel

Beginning this past March, we have made some major changes to Loomed! With the help of our fabulous friend Marcie of BLOODHOUND and her excellent graphic designer Eleanor, we have transformed the store to better show off our selection of Turkish Towels. Peruse the pictures below to see the transformation.

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Alice checking out the space before we moved in the furniture and goodies.

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So many possibilities…Also, how great does our custom counter look in the new digs? One more shout out to Josh Beck the carpenter for doing such a gorgeous job. (Pssssst – he does other custom jobs. Email us if you’re interested!)

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Our new pestamel (Turkish Towel) wall stocked with colorful goodies.

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Alice making herself at home.

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The gals over at Modern Market set us up with this fab chair. Big improvement over the zebra number we had before.

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Alice and her bestie, Tuesday Pug, hanging out in our new sitting area. We think our antique camel blanket looks pretty great below our mid-century modern chairs (thanks again Nanan!).

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Ahhhhhhhh, plush. So many fluffy plush Turkish towels.

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Cuteness overload in the baby corner.

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We leave you with a shot of one of our favorite details: our adorable new table stacked with Loomed loveliness.

We hope we see you in the new store soon!

 

COCHON BUTCHER

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Instagram is amazing. But you probably already knew that, right? (If not, please download the Instagram app now. Make sure you’re schedule is clear for a few hours.) We were beyond thrilled when Ashley Locklear, from Link Restaurant Group, found us on Instagram and approached us to do a collaboration with Cochon Butcher (which also happens to be Paul’s favorite restaurant!).

Cochon Butcher’s Chef Stephen Styrjewski and their forager, Ashley came up with a classic black stripe design that looks fantastic on an ecru base thread. In fact, we loved their design so much that we commissioned additional towels for the store in a suite of colors. You can check out all the styles in our store and online (soon. We promise!)

The custom towels are part of BUTCHER’s expanded retail and eating area, which looks fantastic. They’ve added tons of new seating in a seriously chic industrial space. Definitely try the pork belly sandwich and pimento cheese sliders. Also, DO NOT MISS THE ECLAIRS. You’ll thank us later.
For more info: http://cochonbutcher.com