I am a weaver. I make handwoven goods and for most of my 30+ years I have woven scarves and the odd blanket and baby wrap. I wove my first tea towel about 10 years ago as a guild challenge. Then promptly didn’t weave another for another 5 years. It’s not that I don’t use tea towels, it is just that I didn’t need any new ones. Then I attended a retreat featuring Kathrin Webber of Blazing Shuttles Yarns. And afterwards she suggested that for fun we do a towel exchange. I hate deadlines. Have I mentioned that? Anyway I decided that a fun thing to do would be to work to a deadline. Dear reader, I did get my towels done and on time. I will not bore you with the recounting of how much swearing there was but let’s just say there was lots.
Tea towels may also be known in your house as a kitchen towel. It is thought that they originated in England in the 18th century where the lady of the house would use them to polish her fine tea set. Young ladies would practice their embroidery skills on the towels. Apparently, Vincent van Gogh even used them to paint on when he ran out of canvas.
Typically a tea towel is made from linen or cotton. Today you will find handweavers who use both linen and cotton to make towels. However I only use cotton. I prefer a cotton towel and I hate weaving with linen. But to each their own! Tea towels seem to be a common tourist item with cute sayings or pictures celebrating their origin. A weaver’s tea towels will instead bring colour and warmth to your kitchen and their wonderful absorbancy will bring joy to your dish duties. So give your kitchen some bling. Display those beautiful towels but even better, use them! Nothing gives a weaver more pleasure than to know his or her creations are being used and loved. A beautiful towel is never too pretty to use!