05 September 2009

Creative Christmas Idea #1 - the No Paper Towel

I am lucky to have several friends that are firm supporters of all things handmade. Luckily I don't think any of them read my blog so I'll try and blog about a creative or eco-friendly gift idea a couple of times a month. This way, I can show off what I'm making for my friends AND it will force me to get all my Christmas gifts made on time!
First up: the No-Paper Towel. I am aghast at the paper towel consumption in my family of four. Paper towels were likely only invented and marketed in the last 30 years, so obviously people were using cloth versions prior to that time. I fiddled with several different fabrics, and my two favorite are unbleached cotton flannel and these:

They are an organic cotton/sherpa blend on one side and a thin cotton/bamboo terry on the reverse. Here in Canada, it can be really hard to source materials sometimes, so I was really happy to stumble across the Wazoodle website. I used fabrics from their diaper- making section. (I can't tell whether the company is based in Canada or has a broker there, but the prices were Canadian and they shipped quickly from the Toronto area.)
Each towel is appx. 11 x 11 inches. I used a variegated thread to edge the towels so that they will stand out easily in the wash or the kitchen drawer. I keep a stack of them in a basket - labelled for the family - and we've used zero paper towels this month! Easy to make, easy to give.
On a related topic, I've been experimenting with improving the old kitchen dishcloth. I wash my dishes by hand and I like a large, pourous cloth. A friend suggested refashioning cotton sweaters into dishcloths. The dark blue circle in the next photo is a cotton sweater cloth. I've finished the edge then sewn in circles to add some "scrubbing " texture. This was a lightweight summer sweater and I think a heavy cotton sweater would be more suitable. The second square cloth I've backed with waffle weave cotton to add more texture. I think they're a great re-use for a sweater that was headed for the Goodwill pile, plus I'm creating a batch for the friend who suggested them.


aiLee920 said...

hello there... just blog hopping...

Eve said...

I put the same thing on my list of gifts this year. We haven't used paper towels in a long time, & I think it's an awesome gift to give!!

Jenny-Two-Tries said...

I know this sounds weird, but if you have a friend who works in surgery, ask them for laps. They are almost cloth-diaper like, and perfectly clean non-used ones are the best paper towel substitute ever!

Lydia said...

Wow these are neat. I made a bunch of rags out of old clothes/old socks. Why waste money on something disposable? We don't use paper towels and usually use a regular dish cloth to clean up messes at home but these are a great gift idea.

Heather said...

We've been using old cut up rags for paper towels for years, they work better and are great. I need to sew some though cause otherwise they fray like gangbusters. Do you still recommend Wazoodle by the way?