December 28, 2007

Eiderdown

On these chilly nights and mornings, I am so glad to be able to snuggle under my eiderdown. If you don't know, eiders are actually a northern sea duck with especially fluffy light down feathers, and the origin of the word is from the Norse languages.
I have two heirloom eiderdowns which are still as light and warm as you can imagine. Eider down is very lofty and light and can last for decades if properly taken care of. You can wash them in a machine, but add tennis balls to re-fluff the down.
When I was in London on some trip, I remember going into Alfie's Antique Market and watching some posh couple trying to bargain with the dealer for a matching set of eiderdowns.

Many of the vintage eiderdowns have tightly woven cotten covers, often in a paisley or flower print or sometimes a shiny satin (which slides right off the bed). You will sometimes see quilts advertised as eiderdowns, but unless they're filled with eider down, they're not.
If you happen to find a real eiderdown in your travels, and you live in a cold climate, snap it up immediately. You will never go back to feather/down comforters.

11 comments:

  1. Hi

    Thanks for your comment on my eiderdown post! No, I don't live in Shepton Mallet, but in Somerton which is about 20 minutes' away. I always do the Shepton antiques fairs (see my sidebar) which is why I mention it quite frequently in my posts. Sorry to say I haven't met your friends. Do they come to the fairs?

    My daughter and son-in-law have just been given two Gloucester Old Spot piglets for Christmas by his parents. So it was quite a coincidence to find a message from 'Pigtown'!!

    Hope you'll visit again. I'll certainly be back to see you. Love your eiderdowns (and I'm so pleased you know the difference between an eiderdown and a quilt!!!!).

    Best wishes for the new year!
    Sue

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  2. Eiderdown is one of the coziest words I know but I had no idea that an eiderdown was different from a down comforter (which doesn't sound nearly as cozy).

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  3. omg - I just want to cuddle up with one of those!!! they look wonderful - and its been cold enough in Houston to need one!

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  4. OOoooo! So cozy! I will be on the lookout-

    Have the Happiest of New Years!
    Katie

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  5. I have always wanted to know what eiderdown is. Thanks for the informative post!

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  6. I grew up in a big contemporary house that was hard to heat (so many huge windows), so my eiderdown (which is exactly what my parents called it) was what kept me warm on many a cold night! Now that I live in a warmer climate (although, Atlanta does get cold), and a better insulated house, I have a Lands End down blanket which is just about perfect year round.

    This post makes me miss my eiderdown!

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  7. I loathe winter - I wish I could put a button on one corner and a button hole on the other and just wear it! We have a lot of winter left.

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  8. Believe it or not, it's cold enough in New Orleans tonight that one of these pretty and cozy covers would be just the thing! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I am happy to have you as a new blogging friend.
    Julie

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  9. Sounds so cozy! A tennis ball...how interesting!! Great post!

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  10. I just came across this website: www.countrylaundry.com They state they make new English Eiderdowns in the old fashion way.

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