At the turn of the century, georgia teenager Catherine Evans Whitener longed to give her brother something special for his wedding, so she handcrafted a bedspread decorated with soft cotton tufts, and chenille was born. By the '40s, everyone had bedspreads and bathrobes fashioned from the fabric (whose name comes from the French word for "hairy caterpillar"). Today, the same cozy fabric can be found on all manner of kids' furniture and accessories: chairs and toy chests, pillows and picture frames, lampshades and ironing boards. Made of vintage or new chenille, these pieces are available in a rainbow of pastel colors and in patterns--far from Whitener's simple dots--that include geometrics, florals and intricate quilt designs. In furnishings, as in fashion, the old adage applies: What goes around comes around. This time, we hope, without the lint.