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Old 11-24-2007, 09:25 AM   #1
msmelody
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Hand Towels
Can I knit hand towels to be used in the kitchen? Will it soak up any water? I need new hand towels, but I hate all the ones I have seen so far. If it will work, what kind of yarn would you recommend?
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:09 AM   #2
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I think linen would be your best bet. I think it's the most absorbent. I have a cotton handtowel and it doesn't absorb a thing! I think it has some acrylic in it, which may be why. I love my dishcloths made of cotton, but you literally dunk those in water. Go with linen, it will last forever and it will be very absorbent.
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:10 AM   #3
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I've made a couple, using cotton, of course (Sugar 'n Cream). They're very pretty, but not really very useful. They're just not as absorbent as I expected cotton to be. Don't think I'll make any more.
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Old 11-24-2007, 01:16 PM   #4
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Hate to break it to you, but I think your better off with just buying some new ones. None of the yarns/fibers are really absorbant. Sorry!
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Old 11-24-2007, 02:16 PM   #5
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I have some pure cotton so I will make a test swatch and see if it absorbs water. Otherwise, I will be looking for new dish towels. Thanks for all the information.
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:05 AM   #6
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Miley is right. None of the yarns out there is absorbent enough.

But! Here's a handy-dandy tip that you don't usually find in stores: Take a regular kitchen-tea-type towel. Fold down the top 1/4. Across the fold, maybe using a crochet hook, pick up a row of stitches. Knit these stitches, decreasing at the beginning and end, in your favorite knitting stitch. When you get to about 5-8 stitches remaining, work even for about 6" or so. Make a buttonhole. Work another 1/2" then bind off.

Sew a button at the base of your long tab, where you stopped decreasing.

Now you have a wonderful handy towel that you can loop over the fridge doorhandle. Presto! One easy-to-find towel! And it can be washed whenever you like.

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Old 11-27-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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Most of your natural fiber yarns will be absorbent if you treat them properly. I don't know about bamboo or soy, but cotton or linen or hemp should work. After you've finished the piece, you will have to wash it in hot water several times (depending on the yarn, possibly as many as 6 or 8 times) with soap but no fabric softener (no need to dry between washes) to remove the "finish" on the yarn. You should be able to feel the difference in the piece once the finish is completely removed. It will probably shrink considerably.

Never wash towels with fabric softener if you want them to absorb, as fabric softener repels water (as can some fabric brighteners contained in certain detergents like All).
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:33 AM   #8
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I have to agree, cotton is very absorbant, but needs to have whatever sizing and finishing is added to it to give it body removed. And stay away from fabric softener.

White vinegar works just as well and doesn't affect absorbancy. Plus has the added benefit of disinfecting. I use it for all my laundry cuz it removes soap and makes the clothes much softer. One-half to one cup added in the last rinse really makes a great difference. It must be done a few times before you'll notice the difference as it's not easy removing the coating fabric softner puts on all clothing. You'll be amazed at how much softer even line dried clothes are.

Just replace your fabric softner with white vinegar from now till the first of the year. Check your clothes then and see if you can't feel the difference once all that fabric softner is gone. You'll be amazed!
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:29 PM   #9
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I cannot use fabric softener anyway. I am highly allergic. I use organic laundry soap, and water softener. Does the smell of the white vinegar stay in the clothes?
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:47 PM   #10
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nope- at least I can't smell it. removing the sizing/etc helps tremendously with absorbency. I made a hanging hand towel from a mercerized cotton- and it is fabulous. it hangs right under the sink where my 5 y o can reach it (she can't reach my other towels yet) and it works very well. and washes up great.

my mom made lovely hand towels for the bathroom from peaches and cream, and they are great. there's a really pretty set of patterns in the Mason-Dixon book if you can get it at your library or book store. the book uses linen, which has a nice drape, but is hard on my hands.
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