Daily Swatch: A Month of Tea Towel Calendars


It’s the new year and we’re all busting out our new Word of the Day and English Bulldog calendars — I thought it appropriate to make vintage tea towel calendars the focus of the Daily Swatch for a while.

Tea towel calendars were a common sight in 1960s-70s kitchens. Half of their function expired after a year, but maybe the person who first dreamed them up figured they needed to be replaced at least that often. However, homemakers must have considered them to be too special to use for sopping up messes and used them as decoration only. This irony may have caused their eventual fall from favor, but lucky for us, that left many new-condition examples on today’s collector’s market. (I hereby publicly request that John write a more in-depth treatise!)

The Pennsylvania Dutch-themed towel above is on sale on Etsy ($11.50), from seller VintageandHandmade.

As a textile fan, I am all for a calendar tea towel resurgence … thankfully friend of True Up Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cicada Studio is already on the case with her 2009 version.


  1. Ellen says:

    I actually saw a few 2009 tea towel calendars at Borders a few days ago!

  2. jenny says:

    Lotta Jansdotter’s linen calendar could also go in this category.

  3. Dottie says:

    I’ve been re-using calendar towels for years. There are really only 14 different calendars. All you need to do is match the day of the week for January 1, and know whether or not it’s a leap year, and the calendar will work. For 2009, you can use calendars from 1998, 1987, 1981, 1970 and so on. Leap years repeat every 28 years; regular years repeat after 11 years or 6 years, on a schedule of 11, 11, 6.

  4. [...] @trueup are doing a month of teatowel calendars, http://www.trueup.net/?p=2384 I love this idea! [...]