There is a familiar line we hear when talking to others about handwoven towels: “Oh it’s too pretty to use for dishes!” We laugh, but if you have to do dishes, why not do them with something pretty? Handwoven towels are absorbent, they are soft, they feel special, and are a pleasure to work with. But when is a towel not a towel? What are some of the other uses for a “towel”?

I have a collection of towels woven by friends of mine. They grace my coffee table. They cover my end tables. They accent the center piece for festive dinners. They line bread baskets. They make great hostess gifts. A friend wove one in a pattern from an early American weaving manuscript but with rich hues of plum, ruby, blue, burgundy, and gold. Another in my collection blends pastel colors of cotton and linen. There is the terra cotta towel with a natural accent border. And just recently, I purchased a delightful towel with dragonflies floating across the surface.

We like to weave towels. They are short projects and you don’t have to match one to another like placemats or napkins. You can warp a loom for 10 towels and weave a different pattern and color for each. And when we get tired of a draft, we can just thread a different one next time.

So next time you see a handwoven towel, remember all the places you can use it. And remember–they do dry dishes!