Thursday, March 15, 2012

Knitted dishcloths

It's dishcloth fever here at the moment. Do you ever feel like you need to take a break from a big project that you've been working on and just....chill for a while on something easy? Something that you don't have to think to hard on and the repeats just seem to form themselves?

This is how I felt over the long weekend, taking a much needed break from the knitting of The Sweater. I'm stressing over it: Will I have enough yarn? (I highly doubt it!), how will I adapt the sleeves to make them shorter? What row was I up to again and is it really not such a silly idea to consider having two row counters on my needles at the same time? Aghh!

Yes, dishcloths were definitely the order of the day..or weekend as it turned out to be.

It was rather fitting because I had just been reading about them in Rhonda's book which included her favourite pattern (available here). This waffle weave pattern that she talks about had me curious!

After wrestling my brain around the first cloth, the others seemed to just leap out of nowhere..a really nice project to take in the car or to kid's sport...


It was also nice that I used up some cotton yarn that was lurking in my stash..


Making cloth after cloth was also a good way to practice that Continental knitting technique..over and over again!

Ah, yes, that waffle weave pattern again, close up:


I never used to quite 'get it' when I heard of people knitting dishcloths. Why would one bother? But after way too long of having manky dishcloths make their way into our bin each week, I can finally see the sense behind them. With a good sized stock of them, they can be thrown in the wash whenever the need arises.

And if I can eliminate this nasty beast from the weekly rubbish, I'll be extremely happy! :




Do you 'get' the knitted dishcloth er... movement? Do you knit them yourself? What is your favourite pattern? Or yarn? How long do your dishcloths last for? 

46 comments:

  1. I love knitted dishcloths. Have been using them for a couple of year now. Would love to knit my own but osteo in my fingers makes it hard so i have to buy them.

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  2. I make them as well. I'm trying to use up some bamboo yarn I bought from Spotlight a while ago, but it's SO THIN!!! It's taking forever.

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  3. Absolutely. But mine are crochet. I took a crochet course to be able to make my own (amongst other things, of course) as I had been buying them from here http://www.simplelivingfleamarket.com/busybee/category.php?id_category=5. I just need some time to practice a couple of other patterns now!

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  4. I'm also reading Rhonda's book and have just started my first dishcloth! I also baked bread this morning and have bought all my ingredients to make laundry liquid - I'm on a roll!

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  5. Lovely Christine..and Frogdancer...have you tried knitting with 2 strands ie 2 balls of the thing yarn together, that will give you a thicker ply that knits up quicker.
    xx

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    1. At least you can still enjoy them, Jeanette, even though they're not knitted by you. It's good to hear you get a couple of years out of them.

      A great tip there from Sue, Frogdancer. I can understand that lengthy knitting frustration..sometimes all we want is a 'quickie'!

      I'd love to try some crochet ones too, dixiebelle. If you come across a good pattern, let me know! ;)

      What a coincedence, Maureen! The laundry liquid is fun to make and very satisfying. I've been adding some oxy-nappy wash to the really manky whites though..it seems to help.

      Great, Sue, thanks for this! :)

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  6. I don't know how to knit :( My Grandma was a fantastic knitter (I still have some of the jumpers from the early eighties I begged her to knit for me!). My grandmother refused to teach me or anyone else how to knit (said she didn't have the patience!). I am not to sure how knitted dishclothes would be. Loved to hear an update from you on how they are going!

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  7. I have hand woven tea towels that have been in use since the early 80's and still going strong. My dishcloths are moss stitch, knitted in cotton and I haven't worn them out yet. Maybe they will last as long as the tea towels.

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  8. Yep, I 'get" the dishcloths and I 'get' taking a break from a bigger project.

    Re The Sweater: How much shorter? Three quarter sleeves? Just make them as usual and eliminate the "straight" knitting at the top of the sleeve. Do the rib on the same size needles as you knit the main part of the garment.

    Two row counters? Absolutely. But I find it easier to have one and one tiny spiral notepad to note the second lot of counting.

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  9. I switched to knitted dish & wash cloths 4 years ago. Soft cottons go in the bathroom and coarser ones the kitchen. When they get too ratty for the kitchen, they go to shed and from there the compost.

    I like having a small, portable project. Dish cloths are an easy project and a good conversation starter.

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  10. http://www.joann.com/knit-and-crochet-dishcloths/xprd181374/


    I love this pattern.

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    Replies
    1. It will be interesting to see how they go, Becky. I'd say give the knitting a try..it's not so hard, just two stitches to learn with all patterns being a variation on these two stitches. ;)

      That would be quite a good stretch of time, Deb! Fingers crossed for those cloths of yours. ;)

      Ahh, thankYOU, Rose! You are a star!! Of course the solution would be fairly obvious but completely absent from my ponderings. I almost feel ready to jump back into this project again. :)

      A great life cycle for the cloth, Jo. I like that they are small and portable too, no thinking required!

      Thanks, Becky, I took a look and the diagonal knitted pattern has me curious. I'd be interested in giving this a go! :)

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  11. I'm new to the knitted/crocheted dish cloths. I've now crocheted 3 dish clothes and I love them. There's no way I'd go back to shop bought sponges or dish clothes again. I love your knitted stitch Christine.

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  12. Yes i totally get needing a quick easy project to refresh you! I don't really understand the knitted dishcloth thing. They look lovely but i can't imagine what they would be like to use, would all the food bits get stuck in them and be yucky, do they dry well. Ill be interested to see how you find them.

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  13. Oh they are beautiful! Yes, I have the bug, but I buy most of mine! A local op shop sells them new. The shop supports people with disabilities so it's a win/win. I get lovely dish cloths and support my local community!

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  14. Yes I have knitted just a couple. I don't seem to be able to find the thicker cotton though so I just knit 2 strands of the thinner stuff. works well. And yes I'm with you about finding a quick and easy project for those times when something's a bit long or complicated.

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  15. I've made some crochet dish clothes using a 'nobbly' pattern with looks quite similar to your waffle one. Great idea about practicing the 'continental' technique, I'm ok with the Knit but get in quite a pickle with the purl!

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    1. Great to hear from you, Wire and White, thankyou. :)

      It's going to be interesting finding out, Racheal! I still have to weave the ends in and then we're good to go..food scraps and all. ;)

      Oh, how sweet, Linda! I would love it if our local oppy would stock these! I can see how I might develop a weakness for different brightly coloured combinations!

      Two strands is a great tip, Kate. Thanks!

      The purl had me in a pickle, too , Emma. It takes a bit of getting used to but gosh when you do, it makes ribbing form in lightening speed!

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  16. After years of using knitted "dishies" I switched to crocheting them. I love them so much more as there is so much more texture for grabbing messes AND they quicker to make. If you crochet, hook a few and do a little comparison. =)

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  17. Like you, Christine, I finally 'got' the idea behind the non bought dishcloth although I have mostly used bits of old towels complete with frayed edges. I did recently crochet some nice ones and now I'm hooked (er, no pun intended) on making my own! I will have another go soon only this time with my newly acquired knitting skills!!
    Yours look lovely and easy........ and bright!!

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  18. I love my knitted dishclothes and your post is a reminder that I need to make some more as some are starting to look a little worse for wear!

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  19. I have never knitted dish cloths but a few years ago I started buying cotton ones from the supermarket. I change them every day or 2 and once they are used I soak them in an icecream container with baking soda and water till I do a load of washing. In the bathroom I use old face washers and like someone else mentioned then they just go in the compost.

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  20. I love the simple beauty of knitted or crocheted dish clothes. Lovely!

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    1. I can see how crocheting the cloths would be faster, Erin. I'm looking forward to giving them a go!

      Ha, great minds, Evi. I've been using torn up old towels for bathroom cleaning cloths, complete with frayed edges ;) You are a natural yarner and your cloths are going to be so colourful and groovy. :)

      Great, Lisa! Happy to jog your memory.

      Isn't it great to be able to give them a complete cycle and then end their days in the compost, Fiona? Wonderful.

      I agree, Brittany! :)

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  21. I have never knitted a dishcloth either. It always seemed like a waste of precious knitting time... but I see more and more people talking about how great they are. So the idea is gaining favor for me, especially since I have only big projects in work at the moment.

    Only time will tell if I actually make one. ;-)

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  22. I was gifted a knitted cotton dishcloth about 6 months ago and it's still going strong even after being boiled a few times in bi-carb when DH washed greasy BBQ utensils and didn't make sure the cloth was cleaned afterwards! I'm about to make myself a few more, both crocheted and knitted, and some for gifts. I worked out it's actually much cheaper than buying dishcloths as I can work on them while watching TV, when I'm talking on the phone as I have speakerphone and of course, when sitting in waiting rooms for appointments. All time that can be filled with productivity instead of inactivity :).
    Cheers,
    Robyn

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  23. Great work, Christine. Yay for the waffle weave! Deb's pattern is fabulous. I've set up some communal knitting at work. Everyone who sits at the morning tea table, knits a couple of rows. it's a sneaky way to build up our supply of dishcloths at the neighbourhood centre. :- ) Evil, but effective.

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  24. Gorgeous dishcloths! Love the colours!:-)

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  25. Heehee, yes, I get the dishcloth thing. I can not stop making them.
    I get a seriously disproportionate amount of joy from flinging dishcloths into the wash before they even get wiffy an opening the draw and choosing from a growing array of crazy colors, textures and sizes.......its the little things!

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    1. Yep, a great 'breather' project, Kathryn. Plus you end up with something functional at the end. ;)

      At least your DH washed the greasy bbq untensils, Robyn! ;) It's great to hear they're performing so well for you.

      Ha, Rhonda, yes very evil of you, but completely effective! I like your style!! :)

      Thanks, Faeryfay, it's only what I had lying around..

      Crazy colours and texture would be my weakness too, Duck Herder. Maybe a whole drawer devoted them would be a bit too much??...Nahhh!! :)

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  26. I haven't bought a sponge or chux into this house for 5 or 6 years.

    Knitted washable dishclothes and a pretty rag bag full of a variety of recycled worn cotton clothes - that covers all our cleaning requirements.

    As well as being good to recycle it is also a lot cleaner to use a fresh dishcloth each day or so that has been washed and hung out in the sun to dry. Much healthier than some smelly old sponge or chux.

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  27. The first weekend of reading Rhonda's wonderful book I was inspired to knit dishcloths using the waffle weave design too. At the time I was wondering if there were others out there doing the same thing =o) Not only are they useful but beautiful aswell!

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  28. They must look so much prettier hanging over the tap! Alas my skills do not match my desires but we do wash our dishcloths for a good 6 months or so before they die, they get a serious workout without any dishwasher in the house.

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  29. I've been using (and knitting, and gifting) handknit washcloths for both the kitchen and the bath for a few years now. As you say, it's a nice break from a complex project, or even a complex day!

    I have used a few different brands of cotton yarn, and find that some become very soft while others retain a bit more "scrub"ability - for example some lovely egyptian cotton I had left after knitting a baby sweater.

    A washcloth is a fine way to test a stitch pattern or make a gauge swatch that actually has a purpose. And in addition to kitchen cloths, a handknit washcloth wrapped around a nice bar of soap makes a lovely little gift.
    I don't know if a ravelry project page link will work here, but here goes:

    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/quinn/5-washcloth-binge

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  30. I buy the cotton and get my 89 year old mother-in-law to knit them for me. She was a great knitter in her day and dishcloths is a great way to keep her knitting.

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    1. That's fantastic, Anonymous. I look forward to the day when I can say we ditched chux's 6 years ago!

      Thanks for sharing, Kathy, it's so good to hear others are making them too..from the same book! :)

      Looking forward to the tap hang, Kirsty! 6 months out of a dishcloth is good going, imo. :)

      Ahh, I like this idea of knitting a gauge or swatch test, quinn! Loving those cable cloths and...you made a house cloth? Wow!! :D

      That's really sweet, Gertrude. I bet she just loves feeling productive. :)

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  31. I get it Christine! Thanks for the link to the pattern. Those colours you have used are lovely! Where do you buy your cotton? I buy most of mine from Bendigo Woollen Mills.

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  32. I like my knitted dishcloths too and have many in the waffle weave pattern. I still haven't mastered the continental knitting will do one day.

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  33. I clearly need to jump on board the dishcloth train going by all your comments!

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  34. Knitted dishcloths. That's a fantastic idea for combining knitting with sustainability.

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  35. aggh! I have no idea where the yarn came from, Sharon, it's been lurking in this old suitcase for positively yonks!! I feel a trip coming on to the woolen mills soon and will be keeping an eye out for their cotton, thanks for the tip! :)

    Debbie, you would pick it up in no time flat, I'm sure! You are very inspiring with your gorgeous creations. :)

    Yeah, when I hit 'publish' I thought..'who in their right mind is going to be interested in this post?', Brydie! Who knew so many people had something to say about the humble dishcloth?

    You summed it up perfectly, green investing. :)

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  36. I swiped two knitted dishcloths out of my sister's rag bag years ago and they are still going strong. Since then, I've received two crocheted cloths as gifts. Nothing from the store has ever held up as well. I had learned to knit and crochet as a gradeschooler, but that was a really really long time ago. Maybe it's like riding a bike.

    brenda from ar

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  37. Yes, I knit my own dishcloths and they last ages. I recently knitted a facecloth from merino wool, and it's so soft and nice to use!

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  38. Hi Christine, your dishcloths and blog are awesome! I just need to dedicate some time to read your blog. Lovely talking to you yesterday. Liz x

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  39. I'm sure it would be like riding a bike, Brenda! ;)

    Sounds luxurious, Goosey. :)

    Lovely talking to you too, Liz! Looking forward to pestering you with more photography questions! ;)

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  40. I started my first one over a year ago. Have worked on it in fits and starts.
    This week I met with some ladies and we started one in a totally different way than the other lady was teaching me. Mine will be finished tonight! And it is fun.
    I'll still need to finish the fist one. Someday.

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