Monday, 2 June 2008

Pretty... the story of five million eiderdowns.

I have a confession to make.

I am totally addicted to the purchasing of eiderdowns and I have far too many.
It's their fluffy plumpness, pretty covers and snugglyness that I love and their unknown past.
It started from my granny. Little Granny whos house was from the same era as mine. Little Granny whom I have inherited a love of flowers, the 1930s, chintz and gardening from.
Every bed in Little Grannys house was topped with a candlewick bedspread and a pretty eiderdown, co-ordinating chintz flowered curtains hung at the windows, floral hooked rugs on the floor and her kitchen was a cream and red English Rose one. I loved the homeliness of this grannies house, the ticking clocks and the polished parquet floors, the pastels by Cecil Aldin that hung on the walls and the leaded 1930s bay windows. (the toy box was the highlight..filled with Dinky cars and Mable Lucy Atwell books and if it wasn't raining I could circuit the garden on my dads red vintage trike)
I was lucky enough to have one of the eiderdowns from the twin bedroom. A beautiful yellow background with pink ribbons, roses and a little frilled edge.
When we moved house the last time my precious eiderdown was put into a binbag so that it wouldn't get dirty in the moving truck.
It was bin collection day when we moved.
And guess what the bin men took away.. along with a bag of the boys teddies and a whole bag of sheets and bedding and all the dressing up stuff.
Boy, was I upset.
So this is where my obsession started, I've hunted relentlessly for one the same but haven't found it yet,along the way I've found some real stunners...

blue ones...

pink ones...

peach ones...

yellow and green ones...
even new ones!...

I've tried so hard to part with them but I can't, really I can't. I'm completely sad I know, I get them out just to look at sometimes and they make me so happy..they really are so pretty.I have even broken washing machines for the sake of a clean eiderdown.

It's bedding from a time gone past, now replaced with duvets, but I still clutch on to that era with my feathery, plumptious vintage finds...(on top of my duvet)
I must add to this post before you all think I'm some greedy millionaire hoarding away eiderdowns!!.. I bought all but one on ebay..quite a while ago when they seemed much cheaper than what they seem to go for now, and one from Louise Loves website..the first rosy blue that one was quite expensive as it's a double, but I HAD to have it even if it meant eating just toast for a week! looking at them now I think..oops I really do have too many but it would be like parting with a favourite pet if they had to go...and they do get used...honest!


  1. I am VERY sorry for your loss of your coverlet and the bears! But since then you've given a loving home to many others that might not have been so treasured. And if they make you happy and do no harm, give up that guilt and just enjoy 'em!

  2. Oh gosh, I bet you were so upset when you lost your eiderdown.
    I love the ones that you have now though. I can never, ever find any not for the want of trying I can asure you.
    I'll just have to drool at yours.

  3. Oh they are gorgeous! You lucky thing to have so many. I only have a couple.

    I first fell in love with eiderdowns when I was 12 years old. I went away with my parents on a fishing holiday in Scotland. I chose the little room that looked out onto the river. On the bed was the most gorgeous eiderdown ever, oh how I fell in love with that room. In fact I wish I could go back to that cottage for another holiday... It had a huge rose garden too :)

  4. Oh gosh such a pretty post I'm so jealous I don't even own one yet! I'm on the look out for one just like the one in your first picture in fact the colours in your bedroom are exactly what I had in mind for mine - red and pink with blue on the walls - great minds think a like!!

  5. How positively scrumptious! They are all beautiful, but the blues and pinks have my heart.

    And I am assuming you know where to look if you are in need of buyers...? ;)

    Knitty, Vintage and Rosy

  6. I love your eiderdowns! Sal;-)

  7. Beautiful eiderdowns! Just love em!
    Rachel x

  8. I love eiderdowns but dont own any yet. I had one when I was growing up in the 70's, just plain pink but my Mum changed to duvets and my beloved eiderdown was gone!

    Do you find them at car boot sales?

  9. Gorgeous, wonderful, yummy, comfy, snuggly, soft.................

    What a lovely posting - if you had had wheelie bins then they wouldn't have taken the bags!!

  10. My heart literally missed a beat when you wrote about the dustbin men taking your eiderdown. You poor thing! I love your eiderdowns, they are all utterly gorgeous. Kathy PS. Please don't forget about my lampshade!

  11. What a fab collection of eiderdowns ~ where on earth do you keep them! I had many but sold them on ebay as they are such big things to store, not good in a 2 bed house. Sometimes wish I hadn't though....

  12. Your eiderdowns are just gorgeous, as is your bedroom. What a horror story about the bin men taking your stuff - I'd have cried buckets!
    Lucy x

  13. As I very small child I used to have an Eiderdown that I absolutely loved but sadly I was sick on it and it got thrown away…..if I didn’t live in a shoe box I think I might share your collecting Eiderdown passion…..
    My Granny’s house is responsible for me loving ‘vintage’ as visiting here was like stepping back in time.

  14. You must have been so upset to lose all those memories. A real shame. I remember eiderdowns and bedspreads on our beds as kids, although they were replaced in the 1970s for continental quilts as they called them back then! I can't believe how many quilts you have, I don't even have one! There is no doubt they are very pretty. x

  15. Oh, sheer heaven, what a lovely collection, I wouldn't be able to part with them either.

    Such a sad story about the bin bags being taken by mistake, how awful for you.

    Racheal x

  16. oooh! they are so gorgeous! and your description of granny's house - I was transported back to my childhood.
    I have never owned an eiderdown, or slept under one, I have always wanted one though!
    hehehe, I am almost giddy looking at your collection!!

  17. Second comment on your gorgeous blog! Just spotted your wardrobes they are exactly how I want mine to be - but hadnt thought about adding a wall light - I could really go to town on a nice beady, galssy affair! Have a gorgeous white wisteria on my blog - you being a gardener might be able to tell what it is called being white?? how is your boy??

  18. Oh I am soooo jealous! Your eiderdown collection is just so gorgeous. I don't think you have too many at all. You can never have too many eiderdowns! I only have two and that's how it will have to stay until we move to a slightly bigger house. They were both my Grandma's and bring back lovely memories for me. I loved reading about 'little grannies' house as it reminded me of my Grandparents who also had candlewick bedspreads and the eiderdowns I (and my Sister) now own, as well as floral curtains and a lovely old fashioned pantry of the kitchen. I do love the sound of your Grannies cream and red English rose kitchen. Sounds very cute.

  19. This is an idyllic and yet poignant post..
    I had a granny with Cecil Aldins on the wall ( I inherited one of them) and lovely marshmallow eiderdowns..
    I only have two rather moth eaten specimens but I totally understand your affection for them and the memories they bring you...


  20. I love how you decorate. LOVE.IT. This is how I would decorate my own home, if I had my druthers. Unfortunately, Hubs is deeply (almost violently) anti-floral. What can I do -- I kind of like the big lug. I'll decorate vicariously through you.

  21. Your eiderdown collection is lovely and they look so pretty stacked on top of the wardrobes - I hope you do eventually find one the same as the one you lost - Natalie x

  22. Wow, you have loads! Gosh, you must have been so wounded when the bin men took away your treasures, to think that something so beautiful went to landfill.

    Love yur photos, and if you ever decide to part with any then let us know so that we can get bidding on ebay!

  23. just found your blog, I am so jealous of all your eiderdowns, I can never seem to find any that are just right!!! they are all so beautiful xxx

  24. Oh my word! The most gorgeous photos I think I've ever seen. Where do you manage to find them, I've only got two and had to sit on ebay like a crazed thing. Most are way out of my reach. Such a shame you lost the original one and all those other treasures though. They're beautiful, I'd never let them go either. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I adore your eiderdowns! Such a comfy cottage feel!

  26. I love all of your Eiderdowns too!
    How awfal to loose a bag of treasures like that !
    I did have my own childhood eiderdown recovered in a lovely LA print about 15 years ago. Then on a MAD day of clearing out...decided to throw it away! can you believe that! I am so angry with myself. I keep looking on Ebay...still not managed to win one! you probably beat me to them!!hehe.....

  27. Hullo! Found you through "Happy loves Rosie" and after seeing your profile, had to check your blog out. It's so sweet! Anyone who into the Killers is a friend of mine!

  28. I am so sorry your treasues were taken by the garbage-man! Oh . . . I would have been running after that truck like a crazy lady. I love quilts and bears, so I can relate.

    Your collection is stunning! I can see why you love them!

    Karen at Ciderantiques

  29. I would keep them (eiderdowns)all too they are wonderful lovely soft colors too..are they filled with down feather?
    Sorry I am from the US and we call them comforters..
    hugs Patty

  30. o what a lovely page its so nice to see such lovely things the eiderdowns are stunning i too am a bear collector and would be gutted if they were taken ,i used to be a doll collector but had to get rid as my hubby found them creepy .i have just bought my first eiderdown on ebay and awaiting its arrival .but i think i get more pleasure looking at yours you look as if you care for them so well i think the eiderdowns are lucky to have found you

  31. what a lovely site you have. And such lovely eiderdowns! I too have a passion for eiders. I have small business in NZ where I remake customers old eiders which are just too tired. Would love to be able to still purchase the paisley downproof of the past, but not possible. I make a lined eiderdown, so have make up some really lovely eiders in fabrics to give them that vintage look. I have a few people I know who make some great lamp shades, etc out of the old downproof scaps, so nothing goes to waste, this fabric still lives on! Anita

  32. I salute your addiction, I have not got a eiderdown of my own yet, but I covet one madly. I think I'm gonna get one made up in my own fabric with a pleated edge detail; I think its such a great way to add colour, softness and flowers to a bedroom.

    Go you good thing :)

  33. Hello there,
    I have only just discovered your fantastic website and you are onto other topics now but I think you may just be the lady to help me ! I have recently found my old childhood eiderdown in my mother's attic (several-ahem-decades have passed) and I would like to have it cleaned. Unfortunately the drycleaners have refused as it is very thin and has some tiny tears. Do you think it will survive a hand wash and spin or even a gentle wool wash cycle ? I don't want a feathery nightmare ! Your collection is gorgeous, I have a similar cushion problem - in fact so bad that my car boot is full of them (you know it's bad when you have to sneak them into the house gradually). My friend recently commented that it was like having an extra air bag on the back of my car and that I should have no fear of a shunt...oh dear

  34. hello Lovespangle! I hope you get this reply, as I cannot reply to your lovely message any other way!
    I have washed mine in a 7kg machine and they came out fine.You need to put them in a duvet cover first to protect the fabric and use a delicates/wool detergent suitable for machines.(you can get one online for eiderdowns for about £14 I think its by 'Durance')
    If they have any holes you will get feathers all in your machine clogging it up so you'll need to repair them first with either a patch or a few small stitches!
    I think I did mine on a cottons wash because of the weight, but a lower spin. They do fade quite a bit, so be warned! you'll need to tumble dry them, then air them. If you have just a normal size machine you may break it..I speak from experience! I'm yet to find a dry cleaners who will do them too, its a bit of a pain isnt it?!

  35. Hi, Nice to meet you. I googled 'how to clean vintage eiderdowns' and got you! Your blog makes me smile :O) Still, wondering if, by any chance, you have any idea how to get the 'whiffy' old lady smell out of a vintage eiderdown I bought in my charity shop for £17? Have had it drycleaned, but it's still got a lingering 'fragrance'! B x

  36. hello B!
    Wow, well done that was a good buy!
    Mine always revert to smelling a little musty when they haven't been used for a while, even the clean ones!
    I think a good airing on the washing line on a sunny but breezy day might help and a light spritz of fabric refresher. I always find Febreze the best one and they do all sorts of nice fragrances these days. x

    1. I thought this was interesting, taken from a 1926 copy of Good housekeeping!!Eidedowns must have been well made to withstand a scrub in a dolly tub!...

      Eiderdowns which have lost their first freshness can be washed satisfactorily at home. Prepare plenty of warm soapy water and wash by kneading and squeezing. The use of a longhandled vacuum washer and a dolly tub is recommended. After rinsing thoroughly they may safely be put through a rubber wringer, and should then be shaken vigorously. If possible, choose a windy day and dry out of doors. Continue to shake frequently during and after drying to separate the down. Thorough airing is essential, during which the eiderdown should again be shaken in front of the fire. If the sateen cover looks creased it may be smoothed very lightly with a warm iron before it is quite dry.'

  37. Just found this post through Google, what beautiful eiderdowns! I had a similar one to your peachy coloured ones, unfortunately my washing machine wrecked it, so I salvaged the fabric instead. Turns out it used to be a beautiful mint green which had faded beyond recognition, and was now only visible on the seam allowances which had been hidden inside all those years. I used some of the fabric to make one of my bears, and he sold straight away!

  38. oh my god, im in love. i am a yankee candle collector but im gonna save up for an eiderdown, being brought up on a farm ive decorated my lovely home in a cosy cottage style and i think an eiderdown would complete the country bumpkin in me x x


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