Pillow Talk

“Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote…
Thanne longen folk to go on pilgrimages” – or in my case, to do laundry.Yesterday was hot for the first time this year, so I took the opportunity to strip absolutely everything from my bed to wash and air in natural sun and brisk salt wind. My drying rack came out of winter hiding, I gave the whites a good soak in OxyClean (no chlorine bleach on linen, right?), vacuumed the mattress and everything horizontal before reassembling the whole lot and diving in. Aahhhh…..

Pillows are a problem, or maybe I should say I always find pillows an issue. So many kinds, and they are far from standard, which is a good thing because it gives greater choice: not so much the sizes, because the US has brilliant regulations for most things so you avoid the European tangle of bolts with one spec and nuts of another – it’s the fill.

If I start from the other end, what I want in a pillow, I know just what I prefer. I like a bolster to be firm, and exactly as long as a single bed is wide, or half as wide as a double bed. I want the bolster(s) to go precisely from one side of the bed to the other – no droopy-sausage overlap, no gap.The bolster fills the angle between bedhead and mattress, sacrificing itself for the greater good.

modest bolster in a supporting role

I then like a firm reading, sit-up pillow, quaintly called a sham here in the US, as if it is a sorry pretense of a pillow. I think this should be poly or some other synthetic fill for resilience, and it should also be exactly as wide as half the bed. I use king pillows in a 30″ American sham with buttons, just to make sure I have coverage.

The piece de resistance is the soft, light goosedown pillow which is every person’s birthright – queen for a queen bed, king for a king bed. This is the pillow you pummel into compliance, your dear companion in sleep. I use a pillow protector then a pillowcase, so I can wash two layers down, and I freshen the pillow itself outside in the sunshine when I can.

A feather and down or pure goosedown duvet infill is my own idea of heaven, though each is entitled to her preference, it is so personal. Then for me it is smooth linen sheets, rough linen bedskirt, duvet cover, bolster and shams. No twiddly bits

Thank you Pottery Barn!

but endless cups of tea.

For goose down duvets and pillows of excellent quality and value, try Warm Things .

About Tricia Rose

Not distracted by shiny objects.
This entry was posted in domesticity, Rough Linen, the meaning of life. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Pillow Talk

  1. Kat says:

    Sounds like the perfect set up to me! And I’m feeling a bit stupid that I’ve never thought to use a bolster behind my other pillows to make it easier to read…shame on me, I mean even the name should have given it away!

    Kat :)

    P.S. Can I come stay in one of your wonderfully outfitted beds? I’ll bring tea and scones!

    • Tricia Rose says:

      I use a squished king pillow inside my bolster Kat – it’s cheaper, and easier to find!
      I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to get one of those little tea-trays with legs, or if it’s first step on the slippery slope to tv dinners.

  2. Stitchfork says:

    Squished king pillow bolster – brilliant!
    Enjoying your recommendation for the Advanced Style blog too!
    xo Cathy – who would find it hard to do much other than sit and enjoy your view

  3. I’ve always loved bolster rolls but can’t sleep with them. Strictly down pillows here. And I am so coveting a set of linen sheets. You’ve got me drooling over them madame! Thanks for stopping by. Jane F.

  4. Delores says:

    I’ve never used a bolster before, but can see that it does serve quite a purpose. I am very particular about my pillow placement also. Our night pillows actually serve the purpose of the bolster, in hiding underneath the three Euro Shams, then in front of the Euros I put two standard shams, a decorative pillow in front of that! 3,2,1!
    I wish I had a way to hang out my linens to dry. I remember how wonderful they smell–my Mom always hung out her sheets. It would be heavenly now as the air smells like perfume here.

  5. Wow! That’s a lot of pillows Tricia Rose. I don’t have that many. But I definitely like to sleep with goose duvet pillows.

    :-) ))

  6. Every time I see a picture of where you live, I just swoon!

  7. sealaura says:

    Hi there!

    I had to memorize that part of the Canterbury Tales when I was in highschool! Today has been my laundry day and I too am taking advantage of the breeze. I also took the covers off of my white sofa and am about to pull and tug those back on…ugh but your post encouraged me. Hope you are having a great day!

  8. Brismod says:

    This is educational to read. Living in a hot climate it has always been kept simple -I never even had a doona when I was a child. Anyway I think you have described the perfect bed. xx

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