I’ve never liked tea towels. Those scratchy, un-absorbent cotton rags that never really get your hands dry, and don’t really get the dishes dry either; what’s the point?

The originals made perfect sense. If you were making tea towels out of flour or grain sacks back in the thirties because that’s what you had, more power to you; they were better than nothing. Nobody likes pulling household goods out of the air like I do. (Except possible the rest of the internet; see below.) And actually, traditional flour sack tea towels are pretty effective; I picked some up at the Common Ground Fair, a country and organic fair in Maine, last year to give them a try.

Less effective are the tea towels of a certain Swedish origami furniture company who provided most of the soft furnishings for my apartment, largely to good effect. Shower towels? Great. Hand towels? Check. But those tea towels!

It was time for something new. (It has, in fact, been time for some time now.) Enter Alabama Chanin, with her insistence that cotton knit is good for so much more than we give it credit for.

Tea towels

Enter also Pinterest, a bulletin board for pictures you pick up around the web. Useful especially as a place to put bookmarks in photo format of things that you may want to reference later, but would never be able to find in your bookmarks folder. You can only bookmark so many patterns for making stuffed owls before you have trouble remembering which is which. (I suspect the cutoff is around 2.) Even more than stuffed owls, Pinterest is full of ideas of how to use old t-shirts to good effect. Some of the effects are, shall we say, less good than others, but that’s a story for another post.

So, a pair of t-shirts (which I actually had to purchase at a charity shop, as we abandoned all clothes that needed abandoning before the big move) and a rotary cutter later, I found myself with a set of absorbent dish towels. Soft cotton knit absorbs water pretty darn well. The embellishment of contrasting couching around the opening served to reinforce both the hole (the hanging loop I tried looked terrible) and the idea that these are actually meant to be towels, not garage rags. A small amount of embroidery may ensue; for now, I’m just glad to have absorbent towels.


What’s next? Dare I say it? Napkins?