Give an eco-friendly handmade gift of a crochet “unpaper” towels basket that’s as fun to make as it is to give. It’s an inexpensive and useful gift that will help take the place of throw away paper in the the kitchen.
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Ready for a fun, useful, and different handmade gift idea? I have been loving using these crochet cloths I mentioned in this Good Things List. In fact, everyone in our house likes them!
We don’t use them as traditional dishcloths, though (for dishes, you know?) but more in the place of paper towels or those newer Swedish Euro cloths.
That’s why I call them “unpaper” towels. We use them to wipe down and clean up – they are thick and absorbent when made with cotton yarn.
I’ve found the key to making crochet cloths work well is to have enough for a week.
Then you just use one each day, throw it in the wash and grab a clean one for the next day. This eliminates that old, used dishcloth scenario that I grew up with and didn’t enjoy.
The cloths all get washed in the regular towel load on the weekly cleaning night (You are having one of these, aren’t you? They are a life saver!) to start the cycle again.
While we’ve been cutting down on paper towel usage for years, these little crochet unpaper towels have helped even more – and also with the Euro Swedish dishcloth usage. Those cloths are a nice solution to paper towels, too, but they do wear out in a couple months with regular use and washing.
How long do the crochet cloths last?
We’ve been using ours and washing them weekly since last April and they show no signs of stopping. So I’m pretty comfortable in saying these crochet cloths will last years!
So all this got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to make these and give them away as a set to friends and family?
So I gathered different colors of 100% cotton yarn and got to work making the simple cloths. Then I found some baskets (at the dollar store!) and created a label.
They turned out great and so I’m sharing this crochet “unpaper” towels gift basket idea with you! You can use it for Christmas, house warmings, birthdays for friends, hostess gifts, or just because.
Oh, and definitely make some for yourself, too!
Crochet Unpaper Towels Basket Gift
How to make crochet cloths
Okay, so your #1 question is probably how do you make the cloths?
I used a simple pattern that used single, half double, and double crochet – it’s really easy and perfect for beginners!
What I like about this pattern for these “unpaper” towels is that it is a tight weave with minimal openings which allows for more absorption.
While you can use other patterns, I’d definitely stay away from loose patterns or those with large holes.
A Simple Alternate Edging
I made most of the cloths with the ruffled edge like in the pattern linked above, but I also made some with a clean edge of single crochet. I experimented with contrasting colors, but mostly used the same color for a clean lined look.
I’m not even sure the edge stitching I used is an official stitch or what it’s called! I just tried and couple of things and liked how this one turned out.
Here’s how to make a simple, alternative clean edge:
- When you get to the end of the cloth, make 1 single chain to round the corner to the next edge.
- Place your hook through the closest hole on the edge, loop the yarn around the back of the hook and bring the yarn through the front (two loops on hook now).
- Grab the yarn on the hook and bring it through both the loops. Move on the to the next hole in the edge.
- Tips: Single chain on each corner to round it. Only do 3 edges – the top of the last row of half double stitches looks like this edging, so you don’t need to stitch on top of it.
- At the last loop, bring the yarn through and snip off leaving 7-10 inches. Weave in the yarn with a yarn needle and snip off what doesn’t get weaved in.
Even though the cloths won’t look as “new,” the key to making the cloths useable immediately is to wash them before packaging.
This tightens the weave and makes the yarn more absorbent, ready to be used as our unpaper towels!
So wash up the cloths as you finish them and keep them ready and waiting to be packaged up.
You will need 100% cotton yarn for this project.
- My favorite cotton yarn is from Dishie from Knit Picks. It is inexpensive yet has a nice loft that seems better than other cotton yarns. One ball has 190 yards which yielded 3 cloths for me.
- My next favorite is Sugar ‘n Cream. This is the cotton yarn you can find all over – Michaels, Walmart, Amazon, etc. It is still a good yarn and in fact is what I used for most of my cloths since the colors and amounts I wanted weren’t available in Dishie. Each ball of Sugar ‘n Cream has 120 yards which was just 2 cloths.
What colors work best?
While I love the look of white cloths, I did make a few and found that they just look dirty quicker than other colors.
So to make it easiest to throw the cloths into any load of laundry (and not have to worry about whitening them), I’d stick with darker or bright colors.
You can coordinate with the kitchen colors of the person you’d like to give them too (or yourself!) if you know them or just do fun multi colors like I did.
- 5mm crochet hook (size H) OR 4mm hook (size G, sometimes also listed as 4.5mm). The pattern calls for the 5mm hook, but I only had a 4mm and it works fine. In fact, it make create a tighter weave which is what we want!
- Yarn needle
- Scissor snips
- Basket that can hold 7 cloths (when each cloth is folded in half and half again). I used these gold baskets from Dollar Tree. The 8.5×6.5 size is good for holding all the cloths.
- Twine or ribbon
- Labels – make your own or download the free printable below.
I created a sheet of simple labels to explain the gift a bit more. They aren’t overtly holiday themed because the gift idea is good any time of the year. The garland does work at Christmas, too, though.
How to print and attach the labels
- After downloading, print the the labels out on a color printer using white cardstock paper.
- Punch two holes at the top OR one hole in the corner, your choice.
- Thread twine or a ribbon through the hole(s) and attach to your basket.
That’s it – you now have an inexpensive and useful gift that was as fun to make as it is to give!
And if you just want to make a basket for yourself, I get that, since that’s what I did, too, ha!
Here are a couple packaging ideas for gift giving:
- Buy large dollar store bags, place basket of cloths in bottom and add tissue.
- Place the basket in a clear cellophane bag and tie closed with a ribbon.
- Wrap basket in a large flour sack towel – center on the towel, bring edges up and tie with a ribbon (love this useable wrapping option!).
I’d love to know what you think of this gift idea! Have you done something like this? Do you have another pattern that would work, too? How would you use these?Disclosure: affiliate links in this article will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn’t change your price. Click here to read our full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.