Quantity vs Quality

the following question was posed to me by email today:  What would be your advice –should I save up and buy better (the best is out of my league) or buy more items?

Most advisers would tell you to buy only the best but I believe that we all have to start somewhere. There is no way to go through the process of becoming a better collector without some mistakes and bumps along the way. But, you should proceed maybe more slowly than your excitement would make you do otherwise. If you force yourself to slow down before buying many things for your collection, you will grow with it and you will be happier with it in the future.

First, invest in some books!!! I have a book list on my site and books are relativley cheap and you will learn an awful lot from just looking at photos! I used to carry a reference book with me to auctions of lace so that I could compare the item in front of me with photos of “real” lace. It took time and, of course, as a beginner, I seemed impossible to identify the lace, but the important thing was the exposure to different textiles and the looking.

Second, buy only things that “speak to you.” Chances are, even if they are not the best or the finest, your visceral response to them means that you will love them for a very long time.

So! books first and then… buy some of the items that are calling to you!


4 Responses to “Quantity vs Quality”

  1. Nan Says:

    Or you can be lucky enough to find someone whose things speak to both her and yourself. :))

  2. Joan Says:

    I agree with your post. You just need to “start” and figure out a bit along the way. Yes, that’s true enough. Even more important is that ability to STOP and only purchase the items, as you so aptly phrased, that “speak to” you.

    I bought a few simple linen tablecloths and then slowed down to get only the ones that spoke to me. And wow, they still DO. They still take my breath away. I have little happy sounds coming out of my mouth when I take them out of the closet and put them on the table. Ha, then they feel SO good to the touch.

    I think you are fabulous — keep up the posting and the vintage linens campaign!

  3. Joan Says:

    I just love this line of questioning and your response.

    I started collecting about 3 years ago and began with inexpensive linen tablecloths. I managed to get a few nice pieces that had lots of loving wear, but then again, I had some purchases that did not make much sense. If I didn’t really like the piece back then, why would I be using it now? Shame on me.

    I’ve learned quite a bit since then and all my cloths make me happy. I have expensive and ornate, as well as simple and inexpensive. The latter is MUCH easier to iron, another factor to consider — ha!

    • linenmaven Says:

      The inexpensive and poorly made items are the ones that are harder to iron. usually, but not always, the higher the quality, the easier. but embroidery that was sewn too tightly, or is uneven, is impossible to iron flat.

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