As most of you know one of my objections to these modern times is the practice of sending American jobs overseas. Watching my neighbors lose their jobs last fall when Hanes closed a local factory was particularly upsetting. They bought a small local company (the competition) then a year later closed it down and moved all those jobs to Mexico. It drove home for me the importance of buying American or producing my own. I will not even pretend to influence or sway the thinking of the public but I can vote with my spending dollar. Most people these days when they need something for their home run to their local big box store buying inferiorly made, over priced, foreign produced goods. American consumerism at it's best.
Recently I decided that I needed new dish towels in the kitchen. In the spring and summer, and especially during high canning season, my kitchen linens get used really hard. By the end of the year they are usually showing hard wear and tear and sporting a myriad of various stains.
In an effort to practice what I preach I looked to the many plastic containers of cloth stashed in my large sewing closet for a solution. Much of this fabric not purchased new but picked up at estate sales, garage sales, goodwill stores and fabric clearance sales at the end of the seasons. Some of the stash left over from various sewing and quilting projects through the years.
In the end I was able to totally restock my kitchen towel drawer without ever leaving the comfort of my own sewing room.
Lightweight cotton linen fabrics became lint free dishtowels for drying that glassware and stemware.
I especially like homespun as it make wonderful towels that are absorbent yet still thin and because it comes in darker colors that don't show stains as bad. A good decorative stitch around the edges assures that those reinforced hems do not fray.
It is the perfect weight to be absorbent, yet dry out quickly, especially draped over that dish drain rack or warm oven door handle.
A few cloths hemmed of heavier flannel for those heavier drying jobs where more absorbency is needed and lint isn't an issue.
Some new linen blend napkins with the scraps.
And some unbleached muslin tea towels. I remember my mother making these and using two a day. Every morning and evening after the house cow was milked she ran her milk through a muslin dishcloth to strain out any trash or straw that may have fallen in the milk bucket. A homemade answer to cheesecloth only a finer weave. Muslin makes great jelly bags and I love these muslin tea towels to drape damp over rising bread dough bowls.
Many people put a lot of rick rack, lace or decoration on their homemade towels but I like maybe just a little decorative stitching and that is it. I did put a little eyelet lace on one but didn't really like it.
Now all I need is to pick up some terry cloth to make a few really heavy duty towels and my kitchen linens should be restocked for another year. Huck toweling is great too but I can no longer find it locally so I will have to find it online.
And I even found some more net in my stash to make some more crocheted scratch pads for washing dishes.
The only problem with this is being able to find good quality material. Gone are the days of walking into fabric stores and buying huck toweling by the bolt, I can even remember buying birdseye diaper material by the bolt or yard. These days when I find good quality tea towel material I snap it up.
Just one more thing produced on this farm and one more dollar saved for my household. And one more winter chore down.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter