Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Dish Towels


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. 






The Chicken Chick


Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

22 comments:

  1. Wouldn't it be great if they still sold feed and flour in muslin bags??

    That's sad about the factory - people squawk when it's their job, but otherwise they all seem to be at Walmart buying cheap stuff...

    Buying from smaller, friendlier businesses is a worthy endeavor that repays us in many quiet ways.

    Thanks for this post - stories like that need to be told. Nice towels too!

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    1. " Buy locally..the job you save may be your own!"

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  2. CQ.....AKA: Talented One!!!!

    Great idea and beautifully made towels. When I go to estate sales and yard sales, I really never considered looking at material. You've convinced me to do so now.

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    1. I love to find estate sales where there were women who sewed or quilted. A great source of quality fabric and sewing patterns. OMG have you seen the price of patterns lately.

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  3. I wish more people would by from local family owned and run shops and farms for things and hand made things . I remember when that's all there was , was hand made & home grown .I mostly get out things from local country hand and home made shops here and antique and thrift shops. Your towels are lovely ! Have a good day !

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    Replies
    1. I too remember when that was all there was. I was telling my youngest the other day that I was in my twenties before I ever tasted McDonalds. She was absolutely shocked: ) Mother made all our clothes, all the household linens, underwear and I have a coat that my mother made for me as a child still in my closet.

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    2. I'm proud to say that I've never had a Happy Meal. Only two of my four kids have--and those two only because someone else bought them when they were staying at Grandma's!

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  4. Very pretty indeed!

    I too use muslin for straining my milk, I can't stand the thought of buying throwaway filters when I can wash a piece of cloth and reuse it many times.

    Finding good fabric is terrible, I'm always on the lookout for hickory to make hubbies shirts from. Every time I go to town, I cruise this store and sometimes I get lucky!! I feel fortunate to have a real "local" fabric retailer nearby that is not a chain store.
    http://www.fabricdepot.com/index.php?page=dynapage&pageid=3

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    1. I am so with you on the quality fabric hunt. I am over the cheap fabric that is available these days. When I find quality fabric I try to snap it up. I will definitely take a look at fabric depot. Thanks : )

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  6. Fantastic job. I haven't made dish towels since they were called tea towels and made from feed sacks. Great idea.

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  7. CQ, you have inspired me once again! I am fond of the flour sack towels and usually buy a pack of 5 from a local big box store when I need them. Well not anymore! I am going through my fabric stash!

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  8. I love your fabric stash too! I have plastic boxes filled with various scraps from this and that. Lately, I've been picking up clothing from Goodwill and turning it into placemats and gift bags and whatnot. I can usually find some good quality cotton material in the sheets aisle, believe it or not. Sometime evens some really nice patterns too.

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  9. Ahhh, guilty. I just purchased a few towels at Wally World, ran them through the wash and are they cheap!! Never occurred to me to sew some up, but I can manage a hem on a rectangle. Will be a good project for the new-to-me Singer slant. I really haven't sewed with a mechanical since junior high (cough 35 years). And besides Joann's is running a sale tomorrow....I have a small gift card in my pocket!

    I hate to sound dumb, but what size are you cutting to? I've got sack towels, bar towels, you name it and they are all different sizes.

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    Replies
    1. I made my muslin tea towels big. 30 inch square. My linen towels and flannel I made 16 X 24.

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  10. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  11. I made an oven mitt a week or two ago. Turned out pretty good for my first one. I did 4 layers on each side to make it nice and thick. The treadle sewing machine went through all 8 layers to sew them together just fine. I used a sweatshirt I picked up from the freebie boxes at a local thrift store, some scrap material and thread I had on hand plus the free pattern I printed from the net ... um a few years ago. lol Well I didn't need to make any until now. lol Let me know if you want a link to the pattern. I'll see if it's still available online too.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like that new treadle machine you bought is getting a workout !

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    2. I love it! I haven't used the electric one since I brought this one home. teehee

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    3. Here's the oven mitt link in case you want it or some of the other readers do. http://www.craftandfabriclinks.com/oven_mitt/oven_mitt_pattern.html

      Scroll down under the instructions to find the link to the pattern (it's in 3 parts and has to be taped together). The finished mitt is a nice long one though, almost all the way to my elbow.

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