A dish towel experience that will blow your mind
May 20, 2021 9:25 PM   Subscribe

One of my best friends just got married during covid! I want to send a belated "yay you just got married!" gift, and she asked for dish towels. Help me get her the best dish towels ever.

I'm basically looking for the ideal dish towel that is also just a super nice spurge. She doesn't usually spend money on herself that way, so I think it'd be an awesome way to treat her and her husband.

Random thoughts:
- They are academics in two very different fields. A literary/artsy/science-y pattern could also be nice.
- I really want this to be the ideal dish towel in terms of ease of use too.
- Have you ever seen a truly beautiful dish towel? I want that.
- No price limit.
- How many dish towels should I buy?
posted by hotchocolate to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
There are a bunch of shops on Etsy selling custom embroidered dish towels. That might make it a more personal gift.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:00 PM on May 20, 2021

This company makes dish towels with science-related patterns. I haven't bought any, though, so I can't comment on their quality.

I would give at least 6. I buy my dish towels by the dozen. 12 folded dish towels takes up a whole kitchen drawer, which may not work for her.
posted by Lycaste at 10:29 PM on May 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

I keep two sets of dish towels in my kitchen:
* Colorful, cheerful handwoven ones for drying hands/clean dishes. I weave my own, but if you're buying and price is truly no object, I love Whimsy & Tea's work. Their towel selection is always changing, and usually has a few that call to me.
* CHEAP white cotton ones for cleaning up messes. I use these when I would have previously reached for a paper towel. $1/each at Target, and stupidly absorbent.
posted by Metasyntactic at 10:53 PM on May 20, 2021 [7 favorites]

Irish linen glass cloths, that is all.
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:05 AM on May 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

I love the dish towels from Smoking Lily. They are excellent quality and the silkscreen images are unique and appealing. I have given them as gifts, that's how beautiful I think they are. Right now they have a good selection, six different colours and designs. If I were buying these as a wedding present I'd buy one of each design as a set of six.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:12 AM on May 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m a fan of the Radical Tea Towel Company.
posted by carmicha at 5:40 AM on May 21, 2021 [6 favorites]

My experience of tea towels is that the ones with designs can be beautiful things that you would happily hang on the wall, but for actually drying the dishes, you want terrycloth. This sort of thing. Flat cotton towels turn into sodden rags so quickly. Unfortunately, terrycloth doesn't really scream luxury! So maybe get some of both?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:17 AM on May 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

If they would enjoy some whimsy, take a look at these.
posted by Dolley at 6:45 AM on May 21, 2021

I wouldn't call these German towels beautiful, but they are excellent.
posted by pinochiette at 7:53 AM on May 21, 2021

Someone here put me onto the Williams-Sonoma pantry towels a few years ago, and I'm smitten. They come in plain colors, some of which are very pretty, and they are true workhorses that launder beautifully. You know how dish towels get wrinkled in the dryer and the hems fold back and get icky? These don't.
posted by DrGail at 8:07 AM on May 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

I also weave my own, and think you have to decide whether you want to emphasize the decoration or the functionality of the towel. There are loads of individual weavers selling lovely absorbent towels that will last decades.
posted by janell at 8:27 AM on May 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

When someone gets married and I am giving cash, I always like to have a little gift to go with it. I often get a tea towel related to their wedding location or where they met. They aren't fancy or expensive but a little remembrance of their beginning together. It's very easy if they have a destination wedding to find something in a gift shop there, but I have had luck finding them online as well.
posted by maxg94 at 8:37 AM on May 21, 2021

Let me put in a word for Kay and Molly flour sack dishtowels. Decorative and functional.
posted by olopua at 8:45 AM on May 21, 2021

I was given some Sur la Table jacquard dish towels easily 20 years ago, and they're still beautiful. (Thanks, Kim!)
posted by cyndigo at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2021

+1 to the dishtowels that hurdy gurdy girl linked to from Smoking Lily. They are always beautiful.
posted by machine at 9:33 AM on May 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding William Sonoma. They last for years and are a perfect weight for kitchen duty.
posted by pearlybob at 9:40 AM on May 21, 2021

The Swedish version, made by unionized elves from big strong Nordic linen spun in Asgård, I would assume: Växbo lin.
posted by meijusa at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2021

The Williams Sonoma towels are very popular. I am quite happy with these Crate and Barrel towels (they rotate through colors pretty fast; mine are a deeper blue), although I suspect the W-S ones might look less wrinkly out of the dryer. The CBs are a good weight and very handsome.
posted by praemunire at 11:00 AM on May 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I used to love the William Sonoma towels and mine have lasted a long time (over 20 years) but I went looking to replace them a year or so back and the reviews really put me off. Maybe things have changed since those reviews but instead I bought these check side towels from JB Prince that were highly recommended here on MeFi. I have been very happy with them. They look great. They launder great. They are very cute and made in Germany which I like. I then bought sets for all my favorite people for gifts the following year. I have seen them on Amazon as well.
posted by amanda at 2:56 PM on May 21, 2021

100% linen hand towels by Charvet in France. Not cotton-linen blend, but all linen. Charvet makes them thick and substantial, and they're wonderful. Absorb more water, dry faster. Hard to find, so I've bought mine at https://www.home-landing.co.uk/collections/charvet-editions
posted by woot at 4:10 PM on May 21, 2021

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