Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Handmade knitted cotton dishcloths are, at least in my not-so-humble opinion, far superior to store-bought woven ones. They are quick to make, inexpensive (cotton yarn is usually less than $2 per skein--edited to add: here in the Midwest. I forget a lot of you don't live here!--and you can get two dishcloths from one skein) and they last a long time. There are a lot of pattern sites with dishcloths on the Internet; the Dishcloth Boutique has a particularly nice selection, and they're free.
But really, any reversible stitch pattern will do for a dishcloth, and gauge is not important. You want to find a needle/stitch/yarn combination that will give you a cloth that is 8 to 8.5 inches square. Because cotton shrinks so drastically, if you are knitting vertically rather than diagonally (as in Grandmother’s Favorite), your finished cloth should be at least one inch longer than it is wide. Otherwise you’ll end up with a rectangular dishcloth the first time it comes out of the dryer.
Slip the first stitch in each row for a neat edge and don't knit too tightly! As modeled with the help of my comely assistant, from left to right are~
Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth
This pattern has been around a long time – Lion Brand offers a version, among other sites – and it’s the one I make the most often. Because it is knitted on the diagonal, it shrinks evenly.
Cast on 3 stitches. K1, knit into the front and back of the next stitch, K to end. Repeat this, increasing in the second stitch of each row, until the legs of your triangle are about 8 inches long. You’ll have about 44-50 stitches on the needle, depending on your gauge. Begin decrease rows. K1, s1, K1, psso, K to end. Repeat this row, decreasing one stitch at the second stitch in each row, until you have 4 stitches on the needle. Bind off.
Garter Rib Dishcloth
This is a firm, non-curling, reversible stitch pattern with a little more visual interest than garter stitch. The stitch count is a multiple of 8 plus 4. The Harmony Guide shows 2 and 3 stitch variations, as well.
Cast on 36 stitches. K4, *P4, K4, repeat from * to end. Repeat this row. Make sure your finished dishcloth is about one inch longer than it is wide, and bind off in pattern.
Brioche Rib Dishcloth
Brioche Rib, like its snooty cousin Brioche Stitch, tends to spread out, so cast on only 30 stitches. Stitch count is a multiple of 2. Row 1 – Knit. Row 2 – *K1, K1b(insert needle through th ecenter of the stitch below the next stitch on the needle and knit as usual, slipping the stitch above off the needle at the same time) repeat from *, ending K2. Repeat row 2 until your finished dishcloth is long enough and bind off in garter stitch. Brioche Rib produces a thick, spongy cloth; it’s a great choice for scarves, too.
(I’m ready for my closeup, Mr DeMille!)