First of all, hear me out on this one. I made paper towels today. That's right, paper towels. So, before you click away thinking "This chick has gone too far", please let me explain.
Okay, about 6-8 months ago, not sure now how long, Husband forgot paper towels at the store, when he went grocery shopping. He didn't get back for a couple weeks, so we made due without them. We decided to see if that was just a less than messy couple of weeks, or if we really could go without that extremely handy little item. Sure enough, 2 weeks later, on his next trip for Peanut Butter (almost the only thing we were buying at the Grocery Store, at that time) we skipped the towels. They are pricey, afterall, so cutting out the cost was the driving factor. Why spend money on paper towels, when there are fun kitchen items to scoop up at the antique store, or fun ingredients to purchase for this foofy canning, that I'm all into...or an electric bill to be paid, oh, yeah.
After about 3-4 months of this, we did find there were times that using a hand/kitchen towel, seemed like over-kill, so I thought about making up a light weight, simplyecloth that would be "disposable", should it be used for something particularly gross, or messy, and that stains wouldn't matter. I'm not super concerned about the appearance of my dish cloths, but if I could have a "paper towel" that could keep my good kitchen linens lasting longer, and looking prettier, why not.
I made a couple to try, and they have worked well. Today, I spied the fabric for them, so I grabbed it, and my serger, and set out to make as many as I could, while I tended to the water baths for the newest round of Tomato Butter, that I canned tonight.
These are not square, they are not perfect, they aren't even all the exact same size. This project was 'Fast and Dirty". I just eyeballed the lines, and used my serger to cut the fabric, instead of cutting out squares and then serging the edges. The serger worked great, the cloths will not fray, which is why I didn't just rip them in squares. I didn't want frayed edges, that can drop little strings while being used, or in the washing machine.
In the time it took to water bath 20 little jars of the butter, I made up 20 "paper towels".
The fabric I used is, what I consider to be, the perfect weight. It's 100% cotton, made in the USA, thin, white, with a little texture. I bought it at Joann's in Newington, where they labled it "diaper cloth". I think it was about $1.00 a yard, or something like that, maybe on sale, or with a coupon...either way, it's not very expensive. It has held up to many washings, has been used and abused over the past few months.
When I hear about people making more permanent options for the temporary things in our lives, I often hear folks bringing up the concern for the "extra water and electricity used to wash them". I heard that about cloth diapers, a lot. These are so lightweight, that you will never need to start a load for just them. They could be thrown in with any load you are already running, without maxing it out. If you don't care if the stay white, it also doesn't matter what load you throw them in with, either.
Oh, two other little comments, I'm not espousing that anyone "should" do this. I did this because it worked for us. I will not scoff at you, who purchase paper towels. Also, I do not see myself making my own toilet paper...I don't.
Tomato Butter. I like this batch, it was yummy, but it does not hold a candle to my first batch, made with the brandywine tomatoes from Stout Oak Farm. I'm going to be tracking her down, because I want to make at least one more batch of this stuff, and I really want those lovely heirloom tomatoes of hers. I also think that using 3 different varieties of tomatoes helped the layers of flavor that the first one posessed. The flavor of this batch wasn't as mature...oh, doesn't that sound fancy, and all foodie-like.