Hand knitting dish towels. A sustainable life.
When I work at markets, which is a few times a year, many people ask what a tea towel is and what's the difference between a tea towel and a dish towel. I usually respond with that a tea towel comes from the British tea time and it's a bit nicer way of saying dish towel . Some believe that the quality of the towel is what distinguishes it. Some towels are terry cotton (like a bath towel, a looped weave), flat cotton, linen or linen cotton.
I found a very interesting article on Huffington Post. It is a few years old but still relevant. The author is Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson and she spoke with the American Textile Museum.
I love the many historical reasons she discovered. Tea towels are one of my main staples in the kitchen and in my Etsy Shop. I find them to be totally utilitarian, a great gift when visiting friends for dinner or a longer period and a great gift to get people when traveling. Are you as big a fan as me with tea towels?
In my last post I talked about scrap bags and the many projects you can do with a scrap bag. In this post I will teach you how to make one of those projects. If you want to just go and buy a scrap bag you can visit my Etsy shop. They are packaged in 5 ounce bags for $5. This is a great beginner project or a project to do with kids. It's teaching them to use up scraps, lets not waste the fabric and be eco minded . You can buy a blank pre made dish towel or make your own, or use one you already have. Kids can play around with the design of the layout of the houses, add grass or cement colored fabric to the border, doors can be added to your houses or not.
1. Supplies: Scissors, pinking shears (optional), cotton woven fabric scraps ranging from 1" to 3", pins, sewing machine or you can hand sew, iron, pieces of felt (optional), dish towel.
2. Iron your fabrics. Cut out your houses that are sized from 1" to 3". Cut out your roofs that are 1" to 1 1/2". I cut mine out with pinking shears and also made my roofs slanted. For the front of the houses I used a strip of mushroom printed fabric to represent the forest. I am dreaming of a farmhouse some day.
3. After cutting out your houses lay them out on the towel for placement, pin them into place. I left the edges exposed. Add any little doors or windows if you want, size should be no bigger than 1/2". I used hot pink wool felt scraps for my door. Even space them out. A little trick to make sure your center house is centered is fold the towel in half lengthwise and press with iron. Place your middle house on this crease. Things don't need to be perfect, it is a little village.
4. Zig zag or straight stitch. For my houses I zig zag stitched, and for the roof I cut out with pinking shears then straight stitched. For zig zag the setting is width of 4 and length of .5. As you sew around the houses you can sew the door on, then continue onto the bottom of the house.
After you complete the sewing, iron once again. All set for your stove, dish rack, or a gift.
It's hard for me to throw away fabric. I looked, I chose and I purchased. Most of it I love. I pick up a piece and usually think what can I do with this little scrap. I don't want to waste. I don't want the fabric to end up in a landfill leaking inks into our earth. But clean spaces equals clean minds. So I decided to turn my scraps into scrap bags and I will pass on these fabrics to you. Not large ones, but a small 5 ounce bag. It's not too much of an investment so you can buy as many as you need.
So what comes in these bags? Scrap bags come in quilting cottons, denims or canvases. Everything is cotton or cotton linen. No scrap is smaller than 2" wide. That's my rule of thumb. Therefore if you are a quilter it can be used for patchwork. Whatelse can you do with scraps? I compiled a list with links.
1. Super cute passport cover from Sugar and Cloth.
2. Pincushion - this modern pincushion is a great intro project into quilting, from Canoe Ridge
3. Bunting / Garland - good for any sort of party, kid's bedroom or playroom or a classroom. This one is from the Purl Bee and uses felt. Fabric can easily be substituted. I did something similar with felt, backed with fabric in my daughter's name.
4. Appliqué design on tea towels - This next one is a cute idea for a housewarming gift. I taught this to some students for a Mother's Day gift. It's an easy and quick project for young learners. They also get to be creative with designing the layout. You can buy some toweling fabric at most fabric and craft stores which saves some time sewing the towel.
And for #5, however the list can go on. Coasters. The scrap bags I make are color coordinated so you can make a set of fabric coasters that complement each other. A great house warming gift or gift for yourself. Martha Stewart has an easy tutorial. These are quilted but you don't need to do that. 2 rows of stitching around the edges are enough.
Off the top of my head some more ideas are: ornaments, fabric flowers, glasses, buttons, barrettes, zip pouch, fabric necklace, kids belts, napkin rings, memory game chips. So many diy projects, so little time. But the fabric won't end up in the landfill. To buy some scrap bags you can visit my Etsy shop or email me email@example.com and I would love to see what you make! I find when given restrictions we can create so many interesting things.
Happy New Year!
If you are like me or most people Instagram is total eye candy. I've been saving some of my likes on instagram, I think when I do look back at them I can smell the crisp leaves. I've been mentioning this to my daughter lately. Do you smell the leaves? This past weekend we drove upstate and at one point I pulled the car over so we can walk in the leaves, and smell the change of seasons. It's so refreshing and relaxing.
The photo above from I Spy Diy, a blog and website of diy projects is filled with inspiration! The style and colors are usually modern with pops of brights and neons. This photo I particularly love because of the soft shades of autumn shown. Instead of the bright, and deep shades she shows the subtle, soft faded and burnt shades of autumn. It's so quiet and beautiful.
This photo is from Domino Magazine on Instagram. This is a popular trend here in Brooklyn. People are decorating the door steps and stoops and you are asked to use the garden level entrance. This sort of decorating makes it look so bountiful.
Have you been getting inspired by fall foliage and pumpkins everywhere?