It’s only been what, two years coming? Three? Well, at long last, I finally present the tutorial for my favorite holiday gift to give: Crochet/knit tea towels and washcloths.

Tea Towel: Crochet version (makes 2 sets)
 
 Tools and Materials:

  • 1 tea towel or kitchen hand towel (you can also use bath and towels, but I like the patterns on the kitchen ones)
  • 2 balls of dish cotton to coordinate, like Sugar ‘n’ Cream (I’m using a cone because I make a lot of these)
  • 1 sharp yarn needle (These can be difficult to find. Plastic tapestry needles don’t work very well for this; it should be metal with a fairly sharp point and an eye large enough for your yarn)
  • Fabric scissors (the sharper the better)

  • 1 crochet hook in your preferred size (For this yarn, I like between an I and K, but choose your hook based on your gauge). 

**Hint: If you want to stock up on these to have them handy for housewarming, birthday or last-minute holiday gifts, I’ve found that white, red, blue, and green are the best colors to use, since they’re the most common kitchen colors. Also, white can be bleached without an issue.

To begin:





 1. Open your package of towels. Notice how they are folded in half? Take your scissors and cut along that line, so that you are left with this:
 
2. Fold down your raw edges, just enough so that they can be held in place (about 1/3-1/2 inch). You might need pins or clips to keep the folds intact, but if you’re practiced, you can just use your hand, like so: 
 
3.  Draw your needle and yarn through the corner of the towel, as close to the right side as you can and about 1/4 inch from the top. Pull an arm length or so of yarn through, so that you’ll have enough to stitch up the entire top of the towel. Do NOT cut your yarn from the ball. This will be important later. (If you’re working from a cone or find that you simply MUST cut your  yarn, measure out a good 12-15 yards first).


 4. We’re going to do a blanket stitch along the top. This will keep the towel from coming apart, and give us a base to crochet into to.

Traditional blanket stitch is done from left to right. I always do it from right to left. *shrug* Whatever floats your boat. At any rate, all you have to do is insert the needle into the fabric from the front. When it comes out the other side, make sure the yarn is behind the needle (as shown below). Pull it through, and you should have what looks a bit like a crochet stitch at the top of the fabric.

5. Repeat this all the way across. Depending on your hook size/intended gauge, you’ll want between 15-20 stitches total. For this example, I used a K hook and 17 stitches.  When you reach the end of the fabric, simply slide the needle under the stitches you just made for 2-3 inches. Then pull it out, and trim your yarn. Voila, that’s one end you don’t have to weave in now. It will be hidden as you crochet.

 6. At this point, you should have something like this:

 7. Now take your crochet hook and insert it into the far right hand stitch, picking up the horizontal bar at the top of the fabric. Single crochet all the way across:

 8. Keep going just like this, but from here on out, don’t crochet into the last stitch on each row.
9. When you’re down to 7 stitches, stop decreasing.
10. Keep working those 7 stitches until you have a strip about 2 inches long.
11. Now, single crochet into the first three stitches. Chain 1, skipping a stitch, and single crochet into the last 3 stitches.
12. In the same manner as before, decrease until only 3 stitches remain. Cut your yarn, finish your work by drawing the cut end through your last loop, and weave in your ends.

13. Sew a button at the base of that thin little strip. Shank buttons work, but I find that the flat kind with holes work better

 14. Use the remainder of the ball to make the matching washcloth. There are lots of patterns available online, but my standard is to chain 23 stitches and work in single crochet until I run out of yarn.
15. You can now machine wash and dry these, just like any other kitchen towels.
16. Hang it from a kitchen cabinet or your oven door, or give it as a gift. 

And there you have it! Next week I’ll come back and show you how to make the knit version, which is quite similar.