I was blessed with a free feed sack from a girlfriend with a family farming background. It was the real deal—stacked along with burlap in bits of straw, red dirt, cockleburs (ouch!), tiny seeds, huge corn kernels the size of Montana, unidentifiable black goo, and barn dung. Like I said, the real deal.
First, I picked out all the cockleburs and washed the heck out of the feed sack. Then, because I’ve been wanting something to give the kitchen a little more character, I decided to make an embellished dish towel. Along with the feed sack fabric itself, I used:
- Fingering weight yarn. (A washable wool in this case, but cotton would do.) It only takes approximately 4 yards of yarn per one yard of edging for this project, so this is a smart way to use up scrap pieces of yarn.
- 2.25mm crochet hook.
- Sewing machine and thread that at least kind of matches the fabric.
- Embroidery needle.
- My trusty, sometimes rusty, iron.
I cut a rectangle out of the sack, avoiding the holes and frayed areas.
I was left with a 15×30 inch rectangle, not quite centered on the sack printing because of frayed spots, but that’s okay because this will be a nostalgic workhorse towel, not a too-precious decorative towel. I hemmed it on all 4 sides by folding over the edges about ¼ inch, ironing, folding over another ¼ inch, ironing again, and sewing the hem into place with a straight stitch. To keep the corners from getting too bulky, I trimmed off the points a bit before sewing.
I measured out a length of yarn three times the width of one of the short edges of my soon-to-be dish towel, plus a little longer for good measure. Then, using the embroidery needle, I sewed ¼ inch deep blanket stitches ¼ inch apart along that short edge. (Goodness, I’m hooked on ¼ inches today!) And I repeated the process on the other short edge. Here’s the good part: the blanket stitch, and the upcoming crochet chain, single crochet, and slip stitch are all basic techniques with lots of how-to’s on the Internet. A beginner can do this project, honest!
I attached the end of the blanket stitch yarn to the remainder of my ball of yarn so I could start crocheting. My favorite way of attaching one end of yarn to another is something called the Russian join. Some people weave in the ends. But if you’re a beginner, just tie a good ol’ knot because a dish cloth isn’t a high fashion sweater—whether it’s a fancy join or just a knot doesn’t matter.
I made a little overhand loop snuggled up close to the end of the row of blanket stitches just to have a place for my hook to start crocheting. Then I crocheted a picot edge into the blanket stitch as follows:
- 1st stitch: Single crochet into the first blanket stitch.
- 2nd stitch: Single crochet into the second blanket stitch. Chain 3. Slip stitch into the base of the chain 3. (So still haven’t moved onto the 3rd blanket stitch yet.)
- Alternate the 1st stitch and 2nd stitch until you run out of blanket stitches. Snip and tie off end of yarn. Repeat on other end of dish cloth.
Make this day even better. Consider:
- There are 6 months until Christmas. If you have a green thumb, now would be a good time to propagate houseplants so they’re full and potted and ready to give as personal but frugal gifts when Christmas comes around. Never propagated plants before? This is the best how-to article I’ve seen on the subject: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/propagating-houseplants/.