No one likes washing the dishes, but having a clean new dish towel made of sturdy material to dry them can take away some of the sting.

At least that’s what you can tell yourself when you need an excuse to buy pretty new dish towels.

Search photos available for purchase: Photo Store →

The dish towels made by Susan Butler of Buckfield, owner of “Garden Fresh Designs,” make a great gift for a friend – or yourself, if your kitchen needs a little pick-me-up. Her whimsical designs are screen printed onto 100 percent cotton flour sacks, that tried-and-true material that thrifty Yankees have favored for decades.

There’s a towel featuring a stylized chicken and another with a huge sunflower, as well as a loon, a lobster and a lamb. Dragonflies, tomatoes, carrots and other things you might find in your garden are also some of Butler’s favorite subjects.

A couple of her towels include familiar ditties. On a towel featuring a mess of garden peas: “I always eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life. They do taste kind of funny, but it keeps them on my knife!”

On a towel with a crow: “Plant your seeds in a row, one for the pheasant, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow.”

The towels, which measure 22 inches by 38 inches, can be machine washed and dried.

Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine store on Exchange Street in Portland has a wide selection of the towels. You can also find them at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay; Nest in Brunswick; Conklin’s Maine Mercantile in Belfast; Kennebec River Artisans in Hallowell; and the Farnsworth Art Museum Gift Shop in Rockland. For more locations, go to gardenfreshdesigns.com.

— MEREDITH GOAD