In my childhood, our kitchen stove always had a terrycloth towel hanging from it which my mom changed out seasonally. I don’t know if it was actually articulated, but you weren’t supposed to use it. She had a drawer of towels and tablecloths which were too beautiful or precious or troublesome to iron to actually use, so they were brought out for display purposes only. Maybe your mom has one of these drawers too. I suspect she does because whenever I go to estate sales, I invariably find a box of lovely linens which are vintage, with creases that are permanent due to lack of use. I think that’s a shame. I snap up a lot of those linens and put them to use the best I can. Sometimes I make patchwork curtains or sew parts of one old dishtowel to one new towel. I am trying to cherish them.
I always know when I’m in the house of a kindred spirit when I happen to see that they leave a dishtowel or two in different locations around the kitchen. My cousin Terry once pulled open her towel drawer and said, “I see no reason to fold these,” which is exactly the way I feel. I got into the practice of having a very full drawer of towels, and at the end of each day, when I’m pressing ‘start’ on the dishwasher, I toss all used dishtowels in the laundry bin and set out some clean towels for the next day. Why? Because they can be used for everything from potholder to cleanup of that tiny splash of milk my son never sees and swears he did not spill each morning when he pours cereal.
Don’t get me wrong. While we use cloth towels for most clean-ups in our house, we do have paper towels here. And we use them. Occasionally. When the dog pees. When there’s something on the floor and we don’t know what it is. There are a few good blogs out there with info and statistics on the use of paper in households and how to save the environment and money. Here are some: http://www.thekitchn.com/why-being-paper-towel-free-in-87955
My point is that you can have both. Use both. Have a drawer full of flour sack towels that function well for many purposes. Let people know you love them and they will give you some for your birthday instead of that thing that you can’t use. My brother Guy has a house full of pig stuff. Why? No one is sure, but at one time he must have mentioned that he liked pigs. Since then, everyone, I mean everyone has given him pigs. Had he just said that he liked flour sack dishtowels, he’d be set right now.