Tuesday, 17 November 2009

wash the dishes, dry the dishes...

You can't sign up in the comments section!

The purchase of the exquisite tea towels last week has started me on a rampage through etsy, made it and various other sites that just seem chock full of seriously good tea towel fare.

Clearly I am late to the tea towels are the new black party. But luckily better late than never and now that I'm here I intend to enjoy myself!

Because really if you looked at what was in my tea towel drawer you'd be well within your rights to cluck your tongue and reflect on the irony of the effort I put into delightful handmade items I rarely use, yet neglect the things I look at everyday.

So right!

Time to do something about it. And I've been having conversations with a few people about printing tea towels (one of whom gave me one of the stunning ones she printed about this time last year. Still my bestest tea towel :-) and Kate and I took the next and obvious step of hatching a plan. A tea towel swap!

Now I know Christmas is coming and most people will be maxed out right now on the making stuff for other people front, but we thought firstly that some people might need time to get their tea towels done, but secondly (and oh so obviously) if anyone was thinking of printing up tea towels they might like to do so for Christmas presents and a swap all at the same time.

I know not everyone is a screen printer or has a gocco they can use (though I know lots of you do!), but you might be able to do stamping with fabric inks, or painting or even embroidery. There are loads of ways to make a tea towel fantastic.

So the basic idea of the swap is that you sign up for 2, 5 or even 10 partners. For each partner you make one linen tea towel then send it off to them. We don't expect you to make the actual fabric bit by hand, but you do need to print, stamp, dye, embroider, print transfer or otherwise embellish by hand.

You can buy inexpensive linen tea towel for printing from lots of different places (just google linen tea towel blanks), but both Kate and I are going to buy a bundle locally and will be happy to on sell them to anyone who wants them for this swap. If you live in Melbourne and would be happy to do pick up to save on postage and can wait until early Feb when I will be back at home contact me soozs.com[at]gmail.com. If you would like some posted or are in Adelaide and would like to pick up then you can email Kate about it kaviare[at]gmail.com. ***See update notes at the end of the post!

We are specifying linen because it lasts much longer, looks much nicer and doesn't really cost much more. We want this to be a quality swap, which will give us beautiful hand styled tea towels which will last for years. At a pinch we'll take 50% linen 50% cotton.

The closing date for sign ups will be mid January (for those who suffer from Christmas exploding head syndrome and can't possibly commit to anything right now), you will be advised of partners within a week of sign ups closing, and then mail outs will have to be done by the end of the first week of March. You must be prepared to post internationally, though I will try and keep postage costs and fabric miles as low as I can. You are free to include additional goodies with your tea towel, though this is not a requirement.

If you would like to participate, please send me an email at soozs.com[at]gmail.com with your name, address, blog if you have one and whether you want 2, 5 or 10 swap partners. It would help me A LOT if you could send this info all in one line with commas separating out all the bits - like this: name, address line 1, line 2, line 3, line 4.. (include your state, postcode and country please!), blog address, # of partners. I'm also happy to answer any questions should you have them.

Oh and of course, please pass it on! More blog posts with more images of great tea towels to inspire!

edited to add - just so you know, while you can buy the tea towel blanks in small quantities, the shipping is usually very steep for smaller quantities. With the group Kate and I will be using (linen line) the shipping is flat rate no matter how many you order! You may find it worth while going in with others who live close by to split shipping...

Edited to add - a message from Kate:
I've put in an order for towels, and they have all been snapped up. Everyone who has already emailed me will be getting their towels, but there's no leftovers for anyone else!

I'll be doing another order next year, probably start of January some time. If you want towels through that, let me know so I know how many to order. Sooz will be doing an order after that, but she'll just be back from up North and trying to sort out her life, so pickups only. If you're in Melbourne and want to save on postage, let her know. If you want towels before christmas, you'll have to source them yourself, I'm afraid! Good luck and looking forward to seeing everyone's creations!


ejorpin said...

A gorgeous collection of tea towels and I lovely idea for a swap...I've never made a tea towel so I'll have to think about it before throwing myself in the deep end!

innercitygarden said...

I have the T towel, it's lovely. There are some Judy Horacek tea towels that are good quality and fun too, and I'm quite fond of these ones at Third Drawer Down


(I can't begin to think about making tea towels right now, but I'll consider it)

Psylova said...

This definitely interests me as something to learn to do, although I don't think I would be ready to do a swap anytime soon, especially with Christmas around the corner as you say. I do however have a couple of questions that you may have the answers to (I hope?):

1. Why are linen the best tea towels - are they more absorbent? More durable? Easier to print on than, say, cotton?

2. Do you have any ideas on tutorials/instructions on how to transfer designs onto the tea towels?

I think it's a great idea!

trashalou said...

Oh as much as I would love to this sounds like it is step too clever in the crafty stakes for me. I shall simply watch and enjoy.

Emma Someone said...

I would love to participate so will sign up in a minute!

62cherry said...

sign me up for 5 jus xx

sooz said...

Psylova, yes Linen is absorbent, but also much longer wearing. There are lots of tutorials out there for all kinds of printing - just look them up with google.

Tania said...

I'm not sure what has been holding me back - unmitigated terror probably. Sod it. I'm in please!

Gina said...

I'm in too! Happy to wait until Feb to get my tea towels, as I live in Melbourne, apparently not far from you Suze!

Kylie said...

Hi. I've just found you via Tania's blog and I LOVE your idea! Can I be in it? Brisbane I'm afraid but I'm happy to pay for the postage. There's no way I'll be ready until February anyway, so the timing is perfect :) My email is on my profile page. Thanks. Kylie

craftschmaft said...

Oh I'm in love! Always up for a swap although I'm very relieved that it won't be until next year as xmas is terrifying me right now. Also don't know anything about printing on linen...yet but pls count me in!

Could I also put my name down for a "blank" tea towel in feb?

Jo said...

I don't know what's been holding me back! It's ok, I've emailed you to sign up now...