A Thing for Dishtowels . . .


Now I made you think this posting was going to be something extra special when really, this is probably the most inconsequential thing anyone ever blogged about in the history of blogging!  I just didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten you!  Anyway, our in depth analysis today is all about dishtowels. (Is she kidding?) No, I just have a thing for dishtowels.  I love ’em.  I find ’em, I paint ’em, and I make ’em.  To me, they’re kitchen art.  Here’s probably the reason why:

My great grandma made this dishtowel (the only one of hers we still have). Every year at Christmastime my mom would pull apart the tissue on a boxful of hand-embroidered (and ironed) flour-sack dishtowels that her grandma made for her, and get tears in her eyes, and show everyone who would look  (we weren’t quite as into dish towels at the time as she was!).  My mom hung them over the oven-door handles, so they were always there in the kitchen where we grew up.

So the minute I figured out what things made me happiest, I found an old 1950’s O’Keefe and Merrit stove just like my mom’s, had it refurbished, brought it home and that’s where I hang my dishtowels, on the handles, just like she did. I probably wouldn’t have been complete until I did that.  The pieces falling together and all that. 

And ever since my stove became a “gallery,” I’ve been on a hunt.

To find the funnest most interesting dishtowels to hang there. Here’s one Joe found for me.



I bought this darling  Mary Engelbreit towel ages ago and take good care of it.  I don’t want it to ever wear out!

They don’t make ’em like they used to!



Then there’s my Beatrix Potter dishtowel . . .






…sent to me by my English girlfriend Rachel (half of you know her already because of her sweet blog http://www.mozartsgirl.blogspot.com/).  She went up to the Lake District to Beatrix Potter’s house and got it for me there . . . so it’s a treasure! 

And I really don’t mind if some of my dishtowels are strange.  Someone made this, see the tiny stitches? There cannot be another one like it on the face of the earth; and it has Christmas colors!

I made these chicken dishtowels to go with the “Island Farm” rug I designed… and if, by any chance you are in the mood to make some dishtowels, the pattern is here on this web site … just click on Shopping, and then in the menu on the left, click on “Love to Sew,” and scroll to where it says, “Patterns and Quilt designs.” (We have cupcakes too!)

Another good reason to be a dishtowel collector: bread dough rises better under an old dishtowel.

Scones really do taste better wrapped in a vintage towel with crocheted edging.

Biscuits stay warmer in a basket, wrapped in an old embroidered dishtowel.

Dishes dry better on the Irish linen dishtowel we bought when traveling. Nothing like dishtowels from a trip!  Memories!

Our refrigerator door handle looks much better draped in old dishtowels.

Even the clothesline looks better decked out in dishtowels.

Lobster tastes better when you have a thick and thirsty dishtowel for a bib/napkin.

And every change of season is just better with dishtowels

Oh yes, I am crazy about dishtowels.  For just a little money, they are decorating bang for the buck.

OK, hope it was worth it!  Kellee at the studio put some photos for you to use as screen savers under “Free” in “Shopping”. . . Happy August!

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149 Responses to A Thing for Dishtowels . . .

  1. Peggy Cooper says:

    Disappointing – absolutely not! You should know by now that your followers are kindered spirits, so you never disappoint. Just wish I had an adorable stove like that to hang my dish towels on.

  2. Linda Pintarell says:

    I so remember my mom and I as we embroidered cute dish towels. Loved this special time. Right now two hang on my oven – one says “Bone Appetit” with pictures of chocolate labs (just like my dog Maggie) and one says “I cook with wine – sometimes I even add it to the food” – two of my favorite things – puppy dogs and wine!

    • Peggy Cooper says:

      Oh, I love the cute sayings. A friend gave me 2 towels with pictures of nuns on them that read Sister Mary Merlot and Sister Mary Martini. They make me smile :o)

  3. Karen P says:

    Love it! Worth the wait! 🙂 I have the same ME towel and one from Hilltop, too! When I had my bridal shower (so, so many years ago) my great-aunt Mildred (don’t ya love that name…so sweet!) made me a set of days of the week linen towels with a girl in a bonnet – but not Sunbonnet Sue. I used and abused them in those young years. Found them packed away a year or so ago and they were so stained up so I found some little square frames….painted them black…cut around the embroidered pictures on each towel (which are so precious) and now they’re hanging in my laundry room! Perfect solution to my neglect….redeemed myself on that one! Have a happy day! xoxo….kp

  4. Care Kester says:

    Ahhhh! I’m breathing in deeply smelling the towels drying in the breeze on the clothesline! Yep. You did it again. You helped us see the romance and beauty in some everyday thing that we all love! I’m sure EVERYONE has a towel that has been crocheted around the top to hang as a “hand towel”! I have some special ones to hanging on my oven – cherry vintage material with crocheted cherries danging all the way across the bottom. I’m a Mary Engelbreit fanatic (a SB fantantic too!) so my kitchen is all cherries…..Remember: Life is just a chair of bowlies!!!!!!

  5. Sara says:

    Yes! I did miss you!!!!!

    And I LOVE the post!!!!! And I really LOVE the stove!!!!!!!!
    I may need to sew some dish towels this weekend!

  6. Cris says:

    Susan, how do you wash them and care for them?

  7. Virginia says:

    Definitely worth the wait. Your collection of dishtowels is wonderfully eclectic. Are they strictly for show, or do you actually use them? Mine get worn out and stained (darling husband is chief bottle washer and not always careful), so cheap solid colored flour sack dishtowels are my go-to’s. But at least they match my Fiestaware dishes.

    Your great grandmother’s darling dishtowel brought back memories of being taught to embroider when I was about 7 years old. Lazy daisy was my favorite stitch. I can still see myself with one of those cotton teatowels stamped in blue ink, working away.

    Thanks for another wonderful post, Susan. I don’t comment each time, but I do want you to know that I can relate in some way to each and every one. And thanks for keeping home-arts alive in your books. Back in 1987, I found Heart of the Home in our local bookstore and in reading it, knew I’d found a kindred spirit :-).

    • sbranch says:

      I use them…they wear out, I find others, it’s a passing parade. I love lazy daisy too! Fun for kids, and for grownups too. Glad you said hello!

  8. Sandy Richmond says:

    Susan, This is my first posting to your blog- I have been a regular reader since the start. Some of my favorite dishtowels were given to me by my friend Pat Mofjeld, a regular contributor to this blog! I have one that she embroidered cherries on, and some plaid ones that she appliqued. We also have matching ones that we bought on one of our shopping trips, embroidered with little bluebirds. And I just a few years ago had to throw away a few that a young cousin had painted for me for my wedding shower 34 years ago! Love your blog and all of the kindred spirits that join in!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      And, Susan, I should tell you that my friend, Sandy, and I have known each other since 7th grade!!! We are “sisters” to each other as well as kindred spirits! She lives in your neck of the woods, in New England, but thanks to snail mail, Ma Bell, and now the Internet, we are in touch as though we live in the same town! 🙂 In fact, I think it was Sandy who gave me your first book–now we both are S/B fans! 🙂

  9. Karen P says:

    That towel that Joe found is great! It even has his name on it! I’m sure he never has reason to cry though! Thanks for the freebies, too, sweetie!

  10. queenmum says:

    Hello Susan! I love, love, love this post, as I too have a great love for vintage dishtowels (and napkins, and tablecloths, and quilts). I especially like the ones I get at auctions…as I use them I wonder who else used them…did they dry dishes after family dinners on Sunday, or wipe up the tears of a broken-hearted teenaged girl, or hold ice for black eye gotten in a ball game? My first embroidery project, at age 7, was a pair of dishtowels that I made while I was recovering from a horrible case of measles…how I wish I still had them!Alas, I do believe they went off to Nonnie’s house for her Christmas gift that year. Oh well!

  11. Barb Kucera says:

    Some years ago an older aunt gave my daughter a gently used cedar chest and in it she put some items that she thought might be useful like old Christmas angels, linen tea towels, doilies etc., and except for the chest itself, my daughter was completely disinterested. Nevertheless, I held back my temptation to rummage and left the cedar chest and its contents intact. After living away from home for 4 years, she returned (older and wiser I think), opened the old chest again and positively marveled at the contents. So, while none of it will become mine (heavy sigh!), she somehow turned into a kindred spirit as well and learned the importance of memories and legacies and little pieces of love that others leave to us for safe keeping. That chest is now full of her belongings including the tea towels she bought herself while living away. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
    PS….my decades old linen towel is absolutely the best for scones and for drying home made noodles!

  12. Kim says:

    I loved getting to see your dishtowel collection. They are all so sweet and I do think that they look particularly charming on your cute as pie stove. I remember my mom having a similar stove. She had it in the basement and used it at holiday time when one oven wouldn’t do the trick.
    If you have a moment, pop on over to my blog and see my most recent “days of the week” dishtowels.

  13. Oh, I love kitchen linens, too! I love the vintage towels…with lots of RED! And anything that looks vintage! I need to learn to do some embroidery on some! You have a beautiful collection! I love visiting you…I know I’ll see something pretty!! ♥

  14. susan desimone says:

    my mouth is hanging open… my friend Terry and I collect aprons and dishtowels..a little secret between us as most people think we are craaaaazyy!! hahaha I have a basket in my kitchen of dishtowels …love using them for everything…and it is so true bread does rise better under a dishtowel. I have a few of them from your website and of course they are my favorite ones!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Bonnie Crawford says:

      I like your idea of putting them in a basket! I have my many loved towels, stuffed in a kitchen drawer. I need to get them out, and display them so other people visiting me can enjoy them too! =) I too, collect aprons, and of course, dishtowels too! I have a lot of kindred spirits on here…
      Thank you!!

  15. Laura Croyle says:

    How Fun!! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring us so much pleasure! I have an old packet of iron-on embroidery transfer patterns that a favorite aunt gave me when I was married (back in the mid-70’s!) for me to embroider for myself. I never used them, but kept the patterns. Hmmm….seeing yours makes me want to dig them out, find some flour sack dishtowels somewhere (but Where??) and see if the transfers will still work and get to embroidering!

  16. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Well, what can I say? The first towels on your blog look like Fanny and Betti, our schnauzers!!! (I know, I know, they are supposed to be scotties, but if you use some imagination to make their legs a little longer…) 🙂 I love them! (the dish towels as well as our dogs) 🙂 I like to change dish towels with the seasons, too. I also love to use fabric tablecloths on our table. We have my great-grandmother’s claw-foot oak pedestal table in the dining room and like to have a tablecloth, candles, and flower centerpiece on it…Our place is small so we can’t make huge changes moving furniture so changing the tablecloth, towels, etc., makes for a fresh change… 🙂

  17. Hi Susan,
    I love your towels. I stitch towels all the time and give them as gifts. Are you on the east or west coast right now? I would love to mail you one of my towels to hang on your stove.
    Elizabeth Q

    • sbranch says:

      I’m on the east coast … I’d love it, but you really don’t have to do that! That’s too much! If it’s the thought that counts, then your thought just counted!

  18. Laura Croyle says:

    P.S. I love your stove. It looks just like the one my Mom had from back in the 50’s. Brings back memories of a warm, homey kitchen and helping my Mom make peach pies form our very own peach trees!

  19. I am crazy about them just like you are. I too have such a variety of them. I think even more than the love of dish towels here, you are speaking of family ties…ties to our grandma’s and mama’s that last forever in our hearts..I feel it too. 😀

  20. Rachel Lucas says:

    Hello sweetheart.. so honoured to be mentioned on The Blog of Blogs!! Mr Fox looks very beautiful hanging there I must say! Needed a bit of cheer sitting here in battered old Britain…thanks so much xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thinking of you every day!

    • Carmel says:

      Rachel, from our country to you, sending you light and peace (to all of you there too).

      • Nina says:

        These are sad and unbelievable times in our Country right now. So something as cute as this blog (dishtowels and all!) are a great way to escape the madness!
        I too love dishtowels or teatowels as we call them. Whenever I visit the USA I have to stock up on them and I always use every single one! They cheer me up when I am doing something so mundane as the washing up! lol xxxx

        • sbranch says:

          Thinking about you all every single day!

        • Evelyn says:

          My mom and grandmom always called them teatowels too. I do too. And we’re American girls. I change mine with seasons too.
          Have them for every holiday too. Like Susan they give you a big decorating bang for your buck. I hope peace is restored soon to your beautiful country. Hugs.

        • Paula B. says:

          To all our friends across the pond, we are thinking of your troubles right now and hoping the worst is past. Saw a news segment on all the kindness being shown by neighbors and friends to each other and to strangers in need. Was going to post that we call them tea towels too. I switch mine (hanging on the oven door) out seasonally also but have not ventured into the vintage styles. So many of Susan’s remind me of those in my grandmother’s kitchen: fond memories. And this was a wonderful post!

    • Karen P says:

      England is such a wonderful country….such a peaceful place in many areas. I miss it and would love to visit again one day. Hard to believe what’s happening. Will be praying for a quick resolution. Take care, Rachel….

  21. Judy C in NC says:

    Also being a collector of dishtowels (and old tablecloths), I found this very interesting. I prefer to use my things over keeping them stuffed in a drawer. They are also pretty stacked on the shelf waiting to be used.

    Meaning to talk to you about the small vases – we went antiquing last week and came home with six of them – husband said “what should we look for?” and I replied “small vases, Susan collects them and so should I.” Love them and love these posts. Judy C in NC

  22. Nellie says:

    What a delightful post! Actually, hanging in my kitchen just now is one of YOUR dishtowels, the one with the wonderful strawberry ice cream cone! I feel blessed to have some dish towels embroidered by my mother; however, they don’t receive the day-to-day hard work that my others receive. I also have a few dish towels from my childhood. You are right about their usefulness over a bowl of rising bread dough. Nothing is better! I look for dish towels when traveling, too. xoxo

  23. Mary says:

    I Love your dish towels Susan !!!!! I agree with you having dish towels bring so much to the kitchen they have that nice touch . 🙂 love your kitchen it has that old charm
    Have a Great Day , 🙂

  24. Doreen Strain says:

    Loved the post Susan! I knew after five minutes that you decided to wash your hair in that shower you were taking! LOL ! You and I must have grown up in the same household because my mother (when she was alive) and now I , use a dishtowel to put over my bowl I’m allowing my bread to rise in. I can remember as a little girl, peeking under it to see how much the dough had grown. I also use a dishtowel in my bread basket and when I’m serving lobsters. They just make the best bibs too when the kiddies are at Grammy’s. At the family farm (Strawberry Hill) we had that very same stove you have. I just loved it. Thanks for awakening some of the memories I had placed far back in my heart of Mom and the goings on in her kitchen from years gone by. FOSB 4~Ever ! ~ Doreen ~

  25. Tina in Ky says:

    Oh Susan! What a wonderful subject to Blog about!!! I adore dish/tea towels
    ( I don’t know what the difference is) I collect them too!!!… and found some flour sack towels in my local shop a few years ago and embroidered a set of Days of the Week towels… Thank you so much for such a lovely surprise!:-) I hope your day (and everyone else’s too) is wonderful one! 🙂

    • Tina in Ky says:

      I was out today and found more flour sack dish cloths and think I will embroider another set of tea towels! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  26. Deborah says:

    Thank you for sharing your collection with us! It is a GREAT blog today! I love them all! I have an odd sized vintage table cloth that I set aside to make some similar kitchen towels they have roosters and chickens, it’s from the 50’s. LOVE textiles of all kinds but the vintage look….ooh, so adorable! I go for the red and white a lot as you do also!

  27. Tara says:

    I have just returned from Cape Cod and discovered your blog. I am reading it ALL. I am in love with the Cape and really looking forward to visiting the Vineyard someday soon. I am an artist too, and I am basking in the inspiration I’m getting out of all you share. I would love to see a post about a “typical work day” for you… unless perhaps you’ve already done that and I just haven’t gotten there yet! Thanks SO much for this fabulous blog!

  28. Janette says:

    A lovely post about teatowels Susan. I agree too that such a simple and functional towel, tablecloth or other linen can brighten things up and make a statement in our kitchen and homes and, by changing them around regularly, it is a quick and easy way to redecorate with the changing seasons or just because.

  29. Carolyn Ann says:

    Last Christmas I got two holiday dish towels at a White Elephant gift exchange. They looked so festive hanging on my stove. Earlier this summer I bought a vintage-looking striped towel with embroidered flowers and ric rac.
    And a couple of days ago, I received your striped towels in the pouch. I absolutely love them.They are so soft and pretty and the pouch is so nice. I can’t wait for your Christmas dish towels to show up in your online store. Your blog was great…as always. You know what we like.

  30. Jacqui G says:

    Nothing like a good dish towel. My fanciest one was a gift and illustrated by Mary Clark Thompson-big beautiful purple-blue hydrangeas. You would love it. Also, I own the actual ceramic yellow and black teapot by ME that matches your towel. Don’t you like way the English and Scots call them “tea towels”? Sounds a little nicer than “dish towels” Have yourself a fabulous evening- you are definitely worth the wait!

    Your girlfriend,

  31. Jessica says:

    How else could we have so many adorable and fun images in our kitchens if not for the beloved dish towels that we cherish?! And they’re functional to boot! Your towels are precious and such a treasure, so happy you snapped away!
    xo J~

  32. K. F. Ross says:

    Thanks to you, Susan Branch, I am pulling MORE stuff out of my cedar chest and china closet. My husband keeps wondering where all the stuff is coming from and why I’m “redecorating” with vintage finds stored away for years. He needs to read your blog to understand – ha ha. Thanks for another inspiring episode. You bring back so many fond memories. I join the others in saying that we love this blog! 🙂

  33. Gumbo Lily says:

    I love me some embroidered dish towels too!
    Just recently I ordered a bunch of flour sack towels (21 of them) to embroider through the rest of summer and fall so I have some nice gifties for my friends and family.

    Love that stove! I’m wishing for a retro frig and a retro stove would be nifty too.


  34. Pom Pom says:

    Well, THAT was worth waiting for! CUTE! A blog friend just sent me an embroidered dish towel. It features a smiling peach! So cute! LOVE your pretty collection!

  35. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Love the blog of dishtowels! Is that a little strawberry jam jar on your stove??? My Mom has one, so I had to get one, then I had to get my daughters each one!! Great blog, thank you!

  36. Kimberly says:

    Your dish towel post was wonderful! I think they are like pieces of usable art. My daughters, now grown, know the way to Mama’s heart is through a new decorated dish towel.
    Thanks for sharing.

  37. Beth says:

    I love your stove! I had a similar one in my first apartment and miss it so much! I also love vintage kitchen linens and love how they smell when they come off the clothesline. Hubby and I are going to Vt in Sept for my 50th birthday and I cannot wait to scour the antique shops for kitchen linens 🙂 thanks for another great blog

    • Joan Lesmeister says:

      I wonder if the “fresh clothes off the line smell” could be bottled? I’m allergic to perfumes, but couldn’t possibly be allergic to the “off the line smell” – hmm!

      • Beth says:

        I would change my sheets every day if I could, just to get the fresh off the clothesline smell! I swear I sleep better because of the smell 🙂

  38. Kim says:

    Heck. I bought a loom and am learning to weave all for the sake of dishtowels! My favorite store-bought towel (which I don’t use so it will LAST) is appliqued and embroidered with this saying- “in a perfect world every home would have a dog and every dog would have a home”.

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Kim, I’m a weaver, too. Dishclothes are the starter, then runners, placemats, rugs, afghans, etc. 🙂

  39. Hi honey,

    I keep forgetting that you’re ALMOST live and in person now…but sat down tonight and checked you out. UH OH, guess what? Not another towel in the world like it is EXACTLY what I have in my California drawer, but in different colors. So sorry.

    Sending love across the sea. I am loving our cool, rainy, misty weather and all the fires in the new stone fireplace. It really works! Now tell Joe that I want (or need) a crying towel like the one he found for you. Love it and love you. Jeff sends love too.

    • Sarah says:

      Me, too! I have the funny little hand-stitched bird-like towel in my drawer in different colors…orange and brown. Mine came from a lady who was my grandfather’s lady friend towards the end of his life. She also was my first piano teacher. I was so surprised to see it in Susan’s blog and figured I must be the only other one to have it….not so, not so! ha ha Small wonderful world.

  40. Jeannie M from NC says:

    Oh, Susan! I love your dishtowels! I have seen the scotty dog towels in my scavenger hunts, but so far haven’t gotten any! I guess I want them too cheap! I love the days of the week towels that one of your dear bloggers mentioned! I am always changing my dish towels out with the seasons. Found tiny little napkins with 2 embroidered chickens on each one at an estate sale in May, just had to have them! Love the towel from Joe, especially with his name on it, How perfect! Going to another estate sale this week-end, hope I find towels!
    And yes, this was a great idea for a post! Love the pictures!

  41. mari1017 says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful dishtowel collection – it’s so amazing to connect with a kindred spirit over the simple, beautiful things in life :), and you can see how many of us did! just love the crying towel! I hang towels on my stove handles because my mom did – and when she came to Virginia for a visit, she walked into the kitchen to exclaim – “a Hartwick! My first stove was a Hartwick!” – who knew??? a bottom of the line Hartwick – good ole mom ♥
    And let’s not forget the first cousin of the dishtowel – the guest towels of the “powder” room ♥♥♥ Vintage, linen, embroidered, monogrammed, lovely – and no one wants to use one – ha!
    One more story – my New Zealand friend was amazed that I changed table and all linens with the seasons and occasions. She had never heard of such a thing! But after she went back to NZ, the first thing she said she did was buy more than one set of table linens because she loved the change and had never thought to do that until she saw it done over here! YOU, dear Susan, did ~ and we love it !!!

  42. Jamie Willow says:

    I love dishtowels too…only I don’t like people to use them…they are too pretty to wipe dirty fingers on…so I hide them…ha, pointless I know…but I can’t help it. I love them and don’t share 😉 I need to work on this I suppose…

  43. Pat Simon says:

    One of my favorite gifts to give at Christmas, or for a bridal shower, or for a birthday is a year of dish towels. Each month, I stockpile cute dish towels and when I have one for each month/holiday, I have my gift ready. Just found some that say “Indian Summer”, perfect for September. I found flip flops for June, flags for July. Great fun, a scavenger hunt of sorts. I buy a dish towel when I travel for my souvenir. I get to revisit my vacation spots every time I see my dish towel hanging on my stove. Thanks for sharing your beautiful towels.

    • Coni says:


      I love your idea of collecting holiday/season themed dish towels and giving them as a gift. What a clever idea!

      • Pat Simon says:

        Thanks. They are truly one of my favorite gifts to give. Always have to give an out of town friend a Maryland towel for a souvenir. 🙂

  44. Jackie says:


    You are not alone….I have a “bird” towel similar to yours that my grandmother made and the birds are red and blue on brown stem and have embroidered feet and beaks and I remember when she made them in the 60s…I would be happy to send you a picture if you would like to see it…it is in mint condition….I only use for “show & tell”… I also have one of her fruit baskets that is completely embroidered and cherish it! Keep collecting and thanks so much for sharing!!! We would all probably kill for your stove!

  45. Regina says:

    I just love your blog! It’s like having my best friend visiting for a cup of tea. Your dishtowel collections is beautiful. It got me to thinking about my mom, who turned 80 last month, who embroideries dishtowels for her church’s annual picnic. I will be seeing her soon so I think I’m going to purchase some pre-printed towels for her to embroider for me. She is great and I know all I have to do is ask. She made a cloth purse, adorable, so we went fabric shopping so she could make one for me. I love getting things that my mother has made, wanting to treasure those items that have so much love put into them. Thanks so much for sharing the simple things of life that make us smile.

  46. Lori says:

    What a nice reminder that something we use all the time to dry dishes, dry hands, etc. can be cute too. We can all put a little “fun” in functional! Thank you Susan –

  47. Holly says:

    I LOVE your dishtowels. I happen to have a “thing” for dish towels too! Thanks for showing us yours. Your blog is quickly becoming my new favorite, must check blog. I also enjoyed reading about your quilts.

  48. Totally understand. My mom was just like your great grandmother. Making little dishtowels of all varieties for all us kids (5 kids). Now that she is gone, I just hold them and cry some times. Always feel better because I feel closer to her and the special care she worked into everything she made. Happy August.

  49. Peggy Cooper says:

    Saw the movie “The Help” this afternoon, and guess what’s in it? Your stove!!! It’s a great film, true as a movie can be to a book I think. Check it out – I think you’ll like it. Laughs, tears, everything you want from a movie. Was hoping I wouldn’t be disappointed, and I wasn’t.

    • Doreen Strain says:

      Hi Peggy, my husband and I saw “The Help” yesterday afternoon also. We gave it an A+! I so enjoyed seeing some of the homes and they brought back some cozy memories for me. I’m not sure if the movie is the same as the book because I try not to see the movie if I have read the book. I have in the past, become disenchanted with the story because when reading the book you let your imagination build the vision of the characters and the setting. So, if the movie doesn’t meet that vision I had then it just doesn’t feel right to me. Esp. if I loved the book. I don’t know….just me I guess. I do think that our FOSB girlfriends should grab a few of their friends and have a girls night out and go see it! They will have a fun time, share laughter and tears and make yet another wonderful memory to share….I promise ! FOSB 4~ Ever ! ~ Doreen ~

      • sbranch says:

        I loved the book and from what I’m hearing, I’m going to love the movie! Have to be patient here, movies come to us verrrrry sloooowly. Don’t everybody tell us too much!

  50. Donna English says:

    I love your dishtowels. I am currently making some day of the week dishtowels in redwork and each day has a cat in the picture. I love embroidered things. Thanks for sharing pictures of your collection.

  51. Siobhan says:

    You are the most charming blog hostess around, dear Susan! I change my towels constantly, several times a week and always look for the newer ones that are a la vintage…I don’t have any real vintage ones now that I think of it!

    But, this sweet post reminded me of a dear lady, long passed now, who babysat me after school while my folks worked. Her name was Loretta, and she was such an embroiderer of things! I was too when I was little, next to her. I was so fortunate to have her when I think back now, and so were my parents. I wonder what happened to all her lovely things. Thanks for the memory jog!

    It’s hard to believe you have any doubts about what to blog about at this point — you know we are devoted! Oh! I almost forgot to say that I finished reading the bound Willards last night in bed…SO DELICIOUS! Lordy, but you’re a genius woman, talented, kind and funny. Thank you!

  52. dawn says:

    Your 50’s stove is SO DARLING.
    Morwenna and I really hit it off when we found out we are both crazy about dish towels. We both iron and fold them carefully and set out different colors and styles according to the seasons. I’m lucky to have acquired a few old pieces from Ramon’s grandmother. I’ve noticed, though…the more I like a dishtowel, the less I use it, for fear it will get stained and worn!
    This was so much fun. 🙂

  53. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Who in the world Doesn’t love Dish Towels! thats crazy if they don’t. I adore them. Love all of yours of course. That Cry one is so cute. I have never seen anything like it. The hunt for them is the best though.
    Your stove is just magnifent. I love old stoves. My Aunt still has my Grandmothers stove, looks just like yours.
    I am so happy you have a blog and talk to all of us so often. Its so much fun, its like we are all neighbors getting together a few times a week and chatting. Love it
    happy day Susan

  54. Reenie LI says:

    I ♥ your blog! I feel like I know you…that’s one of the things I adore about you. I’ve vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard and I told my husband when we go back we’ll run into you and I’ll just say, “Hi Susan” like you’re an old friend and you’ll look at me thinking…do I know you? I can see my hands quickly going up to my mouth in embarrassment and you laughing it off like it happens all the time….does it? 🙂 Enjoy your day!

    • sbranch says:

      At one of my booksignings in Chicago a while back, a woman asked me “How’s Joe?” I looked at her and said, “Oh, you know Joe?” I forgot I write about him! I feel like I know all of you too.

  55. Patsy says:

    I just love your towels. I have a small collection also and pretty much hang them all over the kitchen.

  56. Rosemary says:

    YES! Dishtowels! Love them, too. My bff’s Mother embroidered the Monday through Friday set…and then another set for my daughter and another set for another friend’s daughter! And, I treasure them. Can hardly get them out of the drawer because I do not want to ruin them! I have used some, though…floursack! So good for drying glassware. Mrs. Williams is now 98 years old and cannot do the beautiful embroidery she once did and that makes these sets even more precious. How you can pick out the things that just make me sing…little vases, quilts, DISHTOWELS! Today I am ordering the GIRLFRIENDS book for a friend with whom we visited while we are here on vacation in a beautiful, beautiful part of the country…Finger Lakes. ☀

  57. Sheryle Towle says:

    Good morning! Just got to check your blog this am. I love dishtowels, as well! However, none of mine are old…sadly. BUT….they are checked, flowered or have that vintage feel (look). They decorate my shelf, microwave & stove front. Yours are adorable! Thank you for sharing, Susan. PS….just received your “Christmas Heart of the Home”….it is beautiful!

  58. Ann Y says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the photos of your dish towels. Love them ! Like you, I enjoy using them for raising dough, keeping bread warm, etc. Just yesterday I had a “dish towel experience”. My sister is 13 years older than me and when she was first married I was a little girl with just a few dollars saved to buy everyone on my list a Christmas gift. Since she was just married and needed things for her home I bought her a calendar dish towel that you hang up, use all year, then use as a dish towel. It cost me 99 cents at Woolworths ! She loved it, hung it on her kitchen door, and it has been a fixture in her home each year. She is still in the house she moved into as a bride, and each year I have given her another calendar towel as a gift. They have become harder to find, and the price has gone up, too. Yesterday on the way home from a trip to the beach in Delaware I found a calendar towel that will go perfectly with the new kitchen she just had put in. I know she will use it because when I went to see her new kitchen last month, the calendar I gave her last year is on the new kitchen door. It is a cute tradition…and we get a photo each year of me giving her the same shape gift, and she always acts surprised. We joke that she has enough to use as dish towels and that we could make a quilt out of all the ones she still has from the last 47 years ! So, my first Christmas gift was purchased yesterday…and I am thinking that it would be GREAT if you could make a dish towel calendar ! I know these things take time….but wow, what a great calendar number 50 that would be ! A Susan Branch one would be the jewel in her collection ! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and making life FUN !

  59. Regina says:

    I loved this story. We always had dish towels growing up. I’ve continued that tradition but have to hang mine on the handle of my fridge. I learned how to embroider on a dish towel. thanks for bringing back so many happy memories. What a treasure to have the one from your granny. I do have one question though. How do you handle the stains on them? Sometimes I have a hard time getting them out. Have a happy day.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know; I put a little dry Clorox bleach in all my “whites” wash…no washing the floor with them, no taking them to the garage, but other than that, they do full duty.

  60. Betsy says:

    What a fun blog entry!!! Do I love towels! My friend Claire gives me one for every occasion. I love the retro one’s, either old or reproduction. Just the site of them makes me happy. I so enjoy reading your blog….please don’t stop making our days brighter.

  61. Gert says:

    Oh Susan you are never mundane or disappointing!! Love this post, mother was always making towels & only have a few left (sad) But can still see them hanging on her old electric stove!! Oh such precious memories!!! I still make them (when I’m not on the computer!!!) My stove & fridge continue to adorn them!! Love each season with it’s colorful towels!!

    Blessings dear friend,
    xoxo Gert

  62. Jamie V. says:

    Susan- Thank you for sharing your dish towels and stories, they are very sweet and bring back fond memories Im sure in many of us that had Moms and Grandmothers who spent time in the kitchens of yore. Yesterday I washed my vintage collection so this blog really struck a cord with me. By the way, I absolutely adore that stove of yours, boy they dont make them like that anymore! Have a happy day and thanks for sharing.

  63. Marilyn says:

    Oh, what lovely dish towels! Like you, I love to display them in the kitchen. They really add a coziness to the room, especially the decorated ones.

    I can’t even imagine baking Christmas cookies without Christmas dish towels hanging in the kitchen, can you? 🙂

    Have a wonderful day, everyone!!!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  64. Janet says:

    I love dishtowels too. I collect them and give them for gifts. It is funny how something so simple as new dishtowels can uplift me all day. I have my calendar dishtowels from the 70’s when I was first married. The cutest one lately that I have seen was one that said “We are staying together for the sake of the cat”. Thank you for blogging I look so forward to what you will post.

  65. Kimi says:


    You made me smile! I can see how you loved you Mom this is always a good way to remember her and Grandmother too! I also have dishtowels from my Nonna~Grandma, and it would always bring happy memories and I thank you for sharing yours with us I enjoyed this…… also loved your STOVE!

  66. Gigi says:

    Oh no, this is not an inconsequential post at all! It’s all the lovely little things (like dish towels) that add up to make your home so very charming, warm, inviting & interesting (lots of pretty things to see). I was recently given some hand embroidered dish towels by a long time (we met in Jr. High!) dear friend. Now, everytime I use them, I’m reminded of the love, patience, & thoughtfulness that went into making them – just for me. Oh, and I’ve found some really sweet hand embroidered dish towels at Anthropologie over the last year or so — cute ones with little birds, bicycles, etc. — just saying . . . ;).

    • Virginia says:

      My name is Virginia, but grew up as Gigi. My mother thought it was a much more chic nickname than Ginny (not to offend any Ginnys out there :-)). But I have never met another Gigi before. So hello! It’s nice to “meet” another Gigi.

      BTW, your blog is lovely, Texas heat photos notwithstanding. Whoo-boy! I’m also a Tasha Tudor fan and have collected her books for over 30 years.

  67. Connie says:

    I love dishtowels too. I have sets (you know days of the week) that I did when I was little, from both grandmothers and my mother. The hardest thing to is use them. We have a set that was given to my mother when she got married and she never used, they have pink elephants, that makes them over 60 years old. I probably have every pattern Aunt Martha has ever published for towels and pillow cases. Excuse the the chatter, my kids just roll their eyes when I start going on about dishtowels, how and when to use them when drying dishes, and what they are going to do with all of them. Silly kids.

  68. Donna Miller says:

    I have the “days of the week” dishtowels that my grandmother embroidered. Probably in the l950’s. Some are not completed, I want to finish those for my three girls. I loved this post 🙂

  69. Coni says:


    Your collection is wonderful. I have only one very special dish towel. It was a wedding gift given to my grandparents, who lived in Germany, in 1937. I never knew my grandfather (he died in WWII), so having something that belonged to him is a real treasure.

    When my grandmother died several years ago I chose the towel from among her belongings. I carefully and lovingly hand-washed it, let it air dry, and then ironed it to perfection. I displayed it on my oven handle for a while, but I finally took it down because I was terrified that I’d spill something on it.

    I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I folded it and put it on a shelf in our pantry/laundry room. Imagine my dismay when, a few weeks later, I found it crumpled up in the laundry basket covered in unidentifiable black stains! My husband had used it to wipe up after mowing the grass or washing the car or some other outside chore he’d been working on. He apologized profusely, and I quickly forgave him.

    The towel is permanently stained, but that’s OK. The stains serve as a reminder that the man I love (and who loves me) is far more important than anything I own. Lesson learned!

  70. Monica says:

    I love your dishtowels, and your kitchen 🙂 Have you ever considered writing a “how to paint” book? I just love your art and would love to learn how to paint and draw – the books in the art and craft stores are so technical and complicated looking. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  71. Suzanne says:

    Oh Susan we share not only our name, but our love of all things linen…I buy boxes of unknowns at estate sales and it is like Christmas going through each box when I get home to see the treasures I bought sight unseen. I also learned to iron when I was a little girl my Mom had me do what was then called “Flats”, ironing Dad’s hankerchiefs, the pillowcases and tablecloths + napkins and all the kitchen towels…Nice Memories. Thanks for the trip back in time, Susan.

  72. peg says:

    Love your story…made me smile. Not too long ago, I ran across the ‘tea towels’ I made in Girl Scouts for my mom. I will have to send you a photo. The art is quite primitive….but they were made with “Heart”….

    Keep the stories coming…them make my day (and, everyone else’s, too!) xo

  73. Tricia B. says:

    Love the latest post!! Your decorating talents never cease to amaze me as I adore your comfy, cozy, well-loved style. You are wonderful!! I love love love your stove!! I hope to one day be able to have one of my very own. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful dishtowels with us; my favorite ones are the “tea” ones!! Your posts are never ever ever a disappointment my dearest!! They are always so delightful!! Much love and many prayers go over to our “friends” in England. Thank you Susan for adding yet another bit of sweetness to my day!!
    XOXO, Tricia

  74. Ann says:

    So I’m not the only one addicted to dish towels?! We should start a club. Enjoyed viewing your collection, Susan.

  75. Jo Ann says:

    I love dish towels too. Also, corn on the cob stays warmer when it is covered by a dish towel on the serving plate.

  76. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Afternoon Sweet Sue…Love Your Dish~Towel Blog….Love Your Collection too…You are so Right… they are… Kitchen~Art & the Perfect touch to add more Magic in the Kitchen for every Holiday & through all The Seasons…I Love it! & I too Love Your Stove…it’s Art too! Working~Art! lol Thanks for making Me Smile Sweet Sue Wishing You a Lovely Evening! xoxo Poof!♫♥♫

  77. caroline delao says:

    I love these pictures of dishtowels and grandma’s embroidery. I was lucky enough to inherit a few years ago about 5 of my grandma’s home made aprons and some pot holders crocheted, and to end table peacock and crocheted tail doilies. I did not appreciate them at the time but love and cherish them now.

    Just to add this in my family and grand ma was from Joplin Missouri where the tornado’s hit. it still saddens me that this little town was hit so hard.

  78. Sandra says:

    Love this post and love dishtowels. Love finding travel dishtowels at the thrift stores and wonder at someone who would give a perfectly wonderful linen dish towel away?! The older they get the better they dry and, when worn out, go into the rag pile for a rug.

  79. Marianne says:

    What fun! I have so many dishtowels AND cloth napkins that are favorites of mine, I switch them every season!!! Yikes! I enjoy folding them up and putting them in a box and then taking them back out again when it’s their season. My grandmother had the towel that hung on the wall and it was on a dowel-type thingy that made the linen go around and around. Know what I mean? LOVE this blog, warms my heart too!

  80. Nancy says:

    Love, love it! A pretty dishtowel has always hung on my oven door….as a military wife I’ve had plenty of oven doors in the 42 years we’ve been married….always a towel on it. 😉

  81. Brenda says:

    Oh my…The picture of your stove makes me kick myself. I had one that looked like it in the first old house bought as a young adult. The burners quit working and there was something else wrong with it, cannot remember it is so long ago. I would love to have it back. Replaced it with a new stove and immediately missed all the stove top room when I canned for the first time without it. Love your dishtowels!

  82. Katharine says:

    Even though I don’t like doing dishes, I love dish towels. My latest prizes are two vintage one (probably reproductions) from etsy.com. One is on my refrigerator, which is a red and white rooster and the other is an orange floral that I hang over a lower cabinet door. Anything you write is great to me. 🙂

  83. Beverly says:

    My parents/grandparents … and on back are from Oklahoma … where they call dishtowels … ‘tea towels’ … my grandma and my mom taught me at a very young age to embroider … and I did a Mon-Sun set of tea towels … I wish I still had those … pretty decent for an 8 year old … but I’ve always loved the old ones … and the edgings on pillowcases. My grandma Mac would crochet the skirts on
    ‘southern belles’ … and Mom and I would embroider the rest … love knots … satin stitch … beautiful pieces. Wish, wish, wish I had them today!!!! Thanks for the trip down memory lane … and … thanks so much for the screen saver … love the ironing board!!!!

  84. Kat Fry says:

    Oh how loverly!…Teatowels go back for generations in my family and have always been a treasure that gets a lot of use! It’s the everyday, little things that make Life what it is. I have some my Mom made back when I was a toddler that are of kittens doing weekly chores that I adore, and a set of Dutch girls doing their weekly chores! There’s one we got in a little Shop in SLO when we were visiting our son & his family last August that is a retro map of California that is hanging in our dining nook…Also have one of Texas that we found at the Canton First Monday Days and since our daughter & son(-inlaw) live in Florida I have been on the look for one from there! And I know…I could probably hit Ebay or Etsy, but I do so love the hands on, digging through boxes and sifting through bins and tables of old linens to find those treasures.
    I, too, like so many of us FOSBs learned how to embrodiery (or is that i before e?)at an early age and love that daisy stitch! It’s great to see others bringing them out to use! You are a darling! And when we’re in SLO Sept. 6-12…if that’s the same time y’all will be there, maybe we’ll run into each other! Am loving reading all theses sweet comments! Later, Ever Kat

  85. Stephanie says:

    Every time I read a new post from your blog, I think “this is the best post EVER” – you are just amazing. I loved this post.

    You say it’s “kitchen art” – well I say you are all about making ‘life’ “art”. I love that your stove is your “gallery”, but you have really taught me to make my home (and life for that matter!) my gallery. Thanks for that. (Not all of us are born with the happy gene, some of us need to learn it from you naturally happy people!)

    I just ordered the tea towel material (blue with berries) from your site last week to make some kitchen towels – and here you are with this blog! Love the clothesline pic too – now THAT is art!

  86. Amie Ladd says:

    I really enjoy your blog!
    It is as close as I will ever get to Martha’s Vineyard. 🙂
    When I see pictures of your island, I imagie it’s not too far from looking like the little Maine island in my favorite mystery series. http://www.karenmacinerney.com/graywhale.html

    I have a similar interest in cloth napkins! I LOVE fabric from like 74′ to 84′ the “country” stuff.
    We have 4 or 5 sets for each season,except fall, that is a favorite color palette, so we probably have 10 sets! We use them at every meal, it just adds a homey touch.

    Oh, and I have a sunny yellow chicken planter-just like the white one in your post about little vases. 🙂 Ok, I’m done sharing….tee hee……

  87. Barbara (WA) says:

    Someone mentioned Aunt Martha embroidery transfers bringing back memories to me. Did a bit of searching & found the exact pattern of the scotty dogs your great grandma used:

  88. andrea says:

    Dear Susan,
    how I love your blog and the things you write about. I usually just lurk, but just have to say something. For years I’ve collected your books and all of your products, and felt you a kindred spirit. But never did I dream that someday there would be a place on the Internet, where you would open up your heart and your home even more than you do on the pages of your books. Most times, after reading here, I am left speechless, because words just fail to convey my feelings and I’m not good at not blubbering when my heart is so full.
    So…just want to say thank you for what you do. And for making the world a brighter place.
    PS. I have that same Mary Engelbreit tea towel 🙂

  89. Barb says:

    I just found your blog thru a “kindred spirit”!
    And, can I just say: “I’m in love!”

  90. Mary says:

    Thank you for sharing your dishtowels with us!!!
    I have a set my step-grandmother gave to my husband and me for a wedding gift, almost 40 years ago. There is one for each day of the week, with birds on each one doing the chore for that day; Monday is wash day, etc. I used to use them a lot but put them away a few years ago because I didn’t want to wear them out. I have one I embroidered when I was about 10 which I made it into a tea cozy. Thought that was a nice way to save it 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful idea…turning an old dish towel into a tea cozy! Thanks for the good idea Mary!

  91. Elizabeth Shayne says:

    I have some that I don’t want to use, but didn’t want to keep in a drawer, either…I use the side from a vintage crib as a rack…the slats make perfect rungs. Only thing is, my four cats love to knock them down!

  92. Dana says:

    Oh, Susan… I am so in love with dishtowels, too! I have such a weakness to purchase absurd amounts of dishtowels – one can never have too many, you know! The linen ones are just perfect for wrapping fresh hot rolls in, and I also love using them to wrap gifts in! So many uses…. thanks for sharing your collection with us all! <3

  93. madame samm says:

    Love your dishtowels…you know the one you said there could not possibly be another one on this earth..I will take a pick today and send it to you….My Mammy made it into a table cloth..you won’t believe it xx

  94. Laurel says:

    I love your blog. I’ve been enjoying going through your older posts. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your vintage stove. I have always wanted one. How do you like cooking with it? Do you find that the oven is big enough? Also, my husband’s biggest objection to a vintage stove is the lack of a pilot light. He worries that the burners will get turned on and…gas leak! What do you have to say???

    Laurel in MN 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We have pilot lights; ours was rebuilt and brought up to modern standards, that would probably make him happy to hear . . . I think they are wonderful. Heavy, so heat is conducted beautifully. We get 20 lb. turkeys in there easily, the two ovens function separately. Here’s where you can find one http://www.antiquestoveheaven.com in Los Angeles.

  95. Judy Meyer says:

    I love dish towels too. I helped my Mom embroider many towels and pillow cases as a young girl. I found a set of Christmas Days of the Week dish towels about 5 years ago on the Lillian Vernon website. I couldn’t afford them then, and have been looking for them ever since. Have you or anyone ever seen them anywhere online?

  96. becky peebles says:

    I just discovered your site and I am a tea towel kindred spirit! Just love them so much. Does anyone know where to find those days-of-the-week kitchen towels with the CUTE pics, the ones that say “Wash on Monday,” etc.? I don’t remember if they were painted or stitched. An older lady at my home church used to make them and give them as gifts at every bridal shower. (I married later in life and never got mine – sniff.) Anyway, I’d LOVE to know where to buy the towels or the kit. Thanks very much.

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