Monday, April 5, 2010
What is a Tea Towel?
One of the most common questions we get is "What is a tea towel?" Traditionally, tea towels were made from linen cut to hand towel size, hemmed, and then used to dry cutlery or fine china. The linen, woven not looped like terry cloth, is known for its absorbency and softness. Today, tea towels may also be found in cotton with a wide range of colors and designs.
Some tea towels are simply functional and left plain to handle every day kitchen chores. Others are embellished with embroidery or fabric paints to add color and style. Common tea towel motifs include portraits, maps, plants, animals, landscapes and calendars. Many tea towels have become collectors' items.
Along with drying dishes, tea towels may be used to cover tea pots or hot bread from the oven to keep the items warm while serving. They are also light enough to cover a bowl of rising bread without squishing down the dough and make great food wraps for cookies, gingerbread, scones, cakes or other food items in a picnic basket. Some people hang tea towels from rings as curtains for small windows. Tea towels also make lovely house warming gifts or, framed, decorative fabric art for the home.