It's dishcloths again

20 October 2010
This is another post on dishcloths. If you've had your fill of them, turn away now and come back later in the week. I've had a few emails asking about yarn and needles, so here we go again on one of my favourite topics. :- )

Making your own dishcloths is a great way to learn how to make a jumper or mittens or baby clothes. It's true! If you've never taken up knitting needles before, knitting a dishcloth will help you start and will keep you amused and focused until you've developed the skills of a knitter capable of bigger and better things. A knitted dishcloth is just a square of knitting - it can be all plain, all purl, a combination of both, or any other pattern you want to practise. But all this practise knitting will give you practical useful items for your home. With every finished square, you'll have one more dishcloth. Once you have a stash of dishcloths, you can stop buying your disposable dishcloths and you'll have enough cloths for your kitchen and shower; if you colour code them you'll have enough for all your cleaning tasks. Keep going and you'll be able to give them away as gifts. Along with a bar of homemade soap, they made the perfect small gift.

This is my favourite pattern - the waffle weave. You can find the pattern here on Deb's blog.

I make a light and a heavy dishcloth. I find the light ones are better for cleaning glass, glasses and small items. I use the heavier cloths for general cleaning and washing up. The heavy cloths are made with 8 ply cotton. Cotton dries out quickly, washes well in the washing machine and lasts for years. The lighter cloths are 4 ply cotton, they dry faster than the heavier cloths; I wash them in the washing machine along with the normal washing and, again, they're long lasting. Generally when you knit, you use varying sizes of needles according to the yarn you're using. I use size 6, 7 or 8 needles for 8 ply and 4 ply. When I'm making a 4 ply cloth, I like the loopy spaces between stitches the larger needles give me. I prefer to use metal needles. I find they slide well and grab the stitches better that other needles. But everyone has different preferences. Go with what feels right for you. If you have to buy needles, check out your thrift shops. They often have pairs of knitting needles for 20 cents or so.

The darker colour yarn above is 8 ply, overlaid on 4 ply lighter yarn.

If you're using 8 ply, cast on about 30- 36 stitches. You'll need more for 4ply, so cast on about 40, or 50 - 60 for a larger cloth. Then just choose a stitch or a pattern you like and keep knitting until you have a square. Cast off, weave in your end bits and that's it. There are many, many patterns here if you want something more challenging than plain and purl.

This is the kind of knitting you can take with you when you go out, even as a beginner. You'll probably not be counting stitches or rows and it's easy to pick up and put down if you're busy. The good thing is, you'll be learning a new and valuable skill and producing useful items while practising. If there was a flag for this simple life we all aspire to, I'm sure it would have a dishcloth on it. It's a common, simple, useful piece of home equipment we all recognise and use constantly, and I'm sure there are people knitting them as I type this in all corners of the world.

Happy knitting, friends.

Learn to knit videos on you tube.