The Importance of Towels

I had a slight panic attack the day before Thanksgiving. Even though I was fairly certain I had unpacked or at least sorted every box related to my kitchen and dining room something very important to cooking Thanksgiving dinner was missing: my collection of handwoven towels. How would I pull the pans out of the oven without my towels? How would I cover my loaves of bread as they rose? What would I use to wipe my hands and dry off dishes?

My husband and mother watched in bewildered silence as I searched box after box, occasionally cheerfully suggesting that perhaps I might consider using one of the twenty store-bought towels to pull out pans, cover my loaves, and dry off my hands. I would just shake my head sadly and search through another box.

Luckily, I finally found my collection of towels in a box with the clean mismatched socks. I believe they had been packed with the socks so I would find them easily. (It is never smart to put anything in a certain place so you will remember. You will not remember; it is a rule of the universe. If you want to get rid of something consider putting it somewhere “that you will remember”—the more elaborate the reasoning the better. It will be gone forever.)


Bread Cloth
It is a known fact that bread turns out better when it is allowed to rise under a handwoven
towel. It turns out even better if you remove it from the oven using the same towel. 

The towels were found and Thanksgiving dinner was saved. I’m sure I probably could have used my other towels in my kitchen, but it would have felt wrong—like using a frying pan to heat up some soup. Sure, your soup will be hot, but you’ll probably go out and buy a sauce pan so you don’t have to do it again. For me, handwoven towels are more than pieces of cloth; they are important kitchen tools, and you simply cannot beat a handwoven towel for durability, absorbency, and beauty. My other towels are used for cleaning up epic messes, dusting, and washing windows.

I have precisely two scarves to weave before Christmas, and then I will be putting on a nice, long warp for dishtowels. I’ve recently gotten my hands on the new eBook Handwoven Special Pattern Collection: 5 Towels on 4-Shafts. All of the towels are 4-shaft, all of the towels use yarns I already have in my stash (although sometimes in slightly different colors), and all are (of course) a complete joy to weave.  

In fact, I’m thinking I might finally try overshot and weave up the beautiful Bertha’s Towels by Pattie Graver. I love the beautiful miniature overshot patterns and the modern color scheme. I have that same purple 10/2 yarn in my stash a lovely selection of 5/2 cottons for the pattern. The deep, beautiful colors would certainly add some much needed color to my very white kitchen. In fact, I wonder if I could get these woven in time for Christmas so I could use them to help me prepare Christmas dinner . . .

Happy Weaving!  


Christina Garton

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