Twelve+ years ago, I received four dish towels as either a bridal shower or wedding gift. Actually I received more than four altogether, but these four were different – because they each had a crocheted top with a loop and button, so you could hang them on something. I can’t remember who gave them to us (probably one of Ron’s aunts, we think), and for several years they languished in my kitchen drawers.
Until I had toddlers – and realized that ‘pull the towel down’ is one of the very best games ever. To the toddler, that is. Not so much to the parent who wants to keep things like dish towels hanging up off the (not always clean) kitchen floor. Not long afterward, I discovered that these towels were one of the best things I’ve ever been given. Over the years since the girls have outgrown the game, but any time I try hanging regular towels from our oven door handle, they invariably do still end up on the floor (apparently cats and toddlers like similar games, lol). So these are still my go-to towels and are used on a daily basis.
For the past few months, I’d had in mind the idea to try and make new towel toppers – the original towels are threadbare and falling apart. Plus they don’t match our kitchen and never really have. I do crochet, but wasn’t sure of how to get the holes in the towel to start the process, and had never found a new dish towel that I really liked that would match our kitchen well. But, this past week I finally found a new dish towel at the store that I really liked – so I decided it was time to figure out how to make a topper that would work.
I’d looked at the original towels pretty carefully and determined that they really were half a towel, instead of a full towel – they’d simply been cut in half, which makes sense because once you add the crochet part to it, a full towel would probably drag on the floor.
Between a Google search and a few various YouTube videos, I found and adapted a pattern that worked out very well. You can find the original pattern here – my main change was that since we don’t own an awl, I used an alternate solution to put the holes in my towels. In a couple of the videos I watched, a yarn needle was used to create the first row of stitches, that were crocheted into later – and this method worked very well for me.
Here are the steps that I used:
1) Choose your materials – you’ll need a dish towel (one where the pattern will look ok once it’s cut in half to make 2 towels), worsted weight yarn (something sturdy and washable, like acrylic or cotton), crochet hook(s), yarn needle, button, scissors, iron, sewing machine, thread, and hand sewing needle.
2) Fold the dish towel in half (putting the short sides together) and cut the towel in half to create two towels that are each the same width as the original but half as long.
3) Fold a short hem (1/4” or so) along the cut edge and iron in place. Use sewing machine to stitch along this hem. Alternatively, you could hand-sew the hem if you don’t have access to a sewing machine. Or you could use double-sided tape or another method to make sure the hem stays in place so that the towel doesn’t fray along the cut edge over time as the towel is used and washed multiple times.
4) Thread a yarn needle with a length of yarn that is 2-3 times the width of your towel in length. It’s better to be left with extra than run out, so be generous. Start with one of the top corners of your towel, along your newly-created hem, working on the back side of the towel. Push the needle through in the corner from back side of towel to front, just at the bottom of your hemmed edge.
5) Bring the yarn almost all the way through the towel, leaving a 4-5” ‘tail’ hanging on the back side of the towel. Bring the needle up over the top of the towel and back to the back side, then push the needle through again, along the bottom of your hemmed edge, about 1/4” or so from your first hole. Pull the yarn through – but before you pull the yarn all the way tight, pull the yarn needle through the loop you created in the direction that you’re going with your holes.
6) Continue by adding additional holes along the bottom of your hemmed edge, about 1/4” apart, and pulling the yarn needle through each loop before you pull it tight, to create a running ‘blanket’ stitch along the top of your towel.
7) Once you reach the opposite corner, pull the yarn needle through the loop one last time to create a knot. Cut the yarn, leaving a 2-3” tail and use the yarn needle to pull the tail back through the stitches you created in the opposite direction. Tie a knot back at the beginning corner, cut a short tail and weave it through the first few stitches you created similarly.
8) Pick up the end of yarn attached to your ball or skein and create a slip knot several inches from the end. Insert your crochet hook into the loop of the slip knot.
Note: I find that using a smaller crochet hook for this first row works best – I used an E hook then switched to a G hook for all subsequent rows.
9) If you look at the top of your towel, your running blanket stitch had created a series of sections right along the top, running horizontally along the top edge of your towel, in between each of the vertical stitches where you had pierced the towel. The gap between these horizontal stitches and the top of your towel are where you’re going to create a row of single crochet stitches along the top of your towel, from one top corner to the other, with the front side of the towel facing you.
Note: In the first and last few stitches, I also made sure that the sc stitch picked up the yarn ends that I’d woven through. This will keep them more secure and less likely to unravel over time.
10) Do not cut your yarn. Switch to the G size crochet hook. Here is where I used the free pattern that I found online – I will list the 15 pattern rows or you can view or print the entire pattern here. The only change I made to this portion was to add two additional repeats of Row 6 for a total of 15 rather than 13 rows.
Row 1 – ch 3, turn, dc in each sc across.
Row 2 – ch 3, turn, * dc in next dc, skip the next dc, dc in next 2 dc, skip next dc, repeat from * all the way across.
Row 3 – ch 3, turn, * skip 1 dc, dc in next dc, repeat from * all the way across.
Row 4 – Repeat Row 3.
Row 5 – ch 3 (counts as first dc), turn, 6 dc all evenly spaced across the row (total of 7 dc).
Row 6 – ch 3, turn, dc in each dc.
Rows 7-13 – Repeat Row 6.
Row 14 – ch 3, turn, dc in next 2 dc, ch 1, skip 1 dc and dc in next 2 dc (button hold made).
Row 15 – ch 3, turn, dc in next 2 dc, dc in ch 1 space, dc in next 3 dc.
Fasten off yarn. Weave in all ends. Hand sew on button.
I think I’m going to try making more of these – they’d be really fun holiday gifts, especially if made with festive towels and yarns. And they’re a quick project – I made the two towel toppers (from the one original towel I purchased) in one day.
Just a couple of quick notes – you may have to go back and tuck the yarn tail through the very first blanket stitch you made in order to have your stitch run right to that first corner where you started with your yarn needle. Also, make sure that your button is going to fit through your buttonhole before sewing it on.
A portion of this pattern is not of my own design, but comes from a free pattern I found on http://www.freecraftunlimited.com. I have noted where I’ve made changes or adapted the original pattern for my own use. You can find the original pattern at http://www.freecraftunlimited.com/dish-towel-crochet.html.