Tons ‘o dishcloths

TomSets Dishcloths are not every knitters cup of tea. Some see them as a waste of stitches, not to mention yarn. I see dishcloths as instant gratification and a chance to try out a new stitch pattern. The end result is something useful that won’t be a bacteria incubator if you wash it frequently enough.

These are all knit in Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream. Of the 40 zillion dishcloths knit in the U.S. last year, 38 million were knit in Sugar ‘n Cream. And the look alike Peaches ‘n Cream captures most of the rest of the dishcloth stitches. (There were also 3 dishcloths knit in dye-free, certified organic cotton, that you’d best take out a mortgage to buy.)

No dishcloths will look pristine after the first go-round in the washer and dryer. But pristine is not what it’s about.

The entire set of 10 is for my brother Tom, who mentioned that he missed our mom’s dishcloths. She kept us supplied with them, always in the pattern now known as “Grandmother’s Favorite” dishcloth. I believe that eons ago that pattern was printed inside a Sugar ‘n Cream ballband. Now it’s printed all over the internet. It’s worked on the diagonal, with an eyelet border formed from yarn overs. None of these are Grandmother’s Favorite. That pattern was my mom’s specialty and I must leave that pattern to her. (And to the knitters supplying Hillman’s Brush Creek Mill gift shop, where they are available in abundance.)

This is Jana Trent’s eLoomanator’s Diagonal Knit Dishcloth, available free on Ravelry. It has excellent texture through the middle section where it’s needed most.

spacloths yellospa This next one is Maggie Radcliffe’s Chinese Waves Dishcloth, another time-tested pattern available free on Ravelry. I don’t know what this great textured stitch has to do with China, but the waves part sort of makes sense.

wafflesChinese Waves doesn’t have the tidiest edges. And without a very steady tension on the slipped stitches the waves will break every once in awhile. But what the heck, it’s a dishcloth. It’s going to be used to muck around in all that crud we wash off our dinner plates.

bluewaffle These two are Anne Mancine’s Spa Day Facecloth. The pattern is free, as with all the cloths I knit in this set.

washclothes “Spa Day Facecloth” makes it sound so fancy. But this reversible stitch pattern will work just as hard as the rest for mucking around in the dinner detritus.  Here’s a closer look.

yello_spa2 This next set is Nina Bank’s Krissy’s Dishcloth. Only 14 Ravelers have knit this pattern and posted it on Ravelry. But it’s one that merits a second look if you’ve passed it by for some reason.

two_krissy It’s the only one I knit in Lily’s “Ombre” shades. This one is “Faded Denim.”

blue_Krissy

I don’t think this next dishcloth is necessarily the star of the set. But the slip-stitch work was definitely the most fun to knit. It is Linoleum Dishcloth, by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting blog fame.

lino_dishI don’t know what that extra line of blue is doing in there. The pattern calls for a tri-color treatment and my Sugar ‘n Cream was pretty much creamed by this point. So I tried for a 2-color. It went a bit rogue.

Here’s its mate, also not a wildly wonderful aesthetic success. Apparently using up the remaining oddments of two shades of ombre and one solid shade aren’t the best way to go on this pattern. If you look closely, though, you’ll see I ditched that extra line of solid color between the hourglass rows.

lino_cloth2

Next time, my linoleum is going to get a three-color solid treatment. It will have a great retro look. But these will get the jobs done. And that’s mostly the point of dishcloth knitting.

Mitred crosses blanket

It went from this:

And this:

To this:

And finally to a folded up this:

And a bunched up this:

 

And a spread out (but not properly photographed) this:

This is the Mitred Crosses Blanket–for Japan, by Kay Gardiner, of the Mason-Dixon Blog. In 2011, all the proceeds from the sale of the pattern (which costs $5) goes to earthquake-tsunami relief in Japan. In the years to come, all the proceeds go to Mercy Corps to support their relief efforts. The pattern is available on Ravelry and on Gardiner’s blog, via a link to Rav.

The blanket is knitted up in Plymouth Encore and Colorspun, a 25% wool/75% acrylic easy-care workhorse of a yarn. The squares are each knitted separately. Then they are joined in strips, picking up edge stitches and then using a three-needle bind off.  Partial blocks are added to fill out the rows. Then the strips are joined, also using a three-needle bind off. Applied I-cord gives it a neat, finished edge.

A great pattern as well as a wonderfully generous donation by Gardiner. More than 600 blankets have been knit already and posted on Ravelry.

Log Cabin…ing

Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, of Mason-Dixon fame, popularized this knitted Log Cabin technique. My version most closely tracks the design they call “Joseph’s Blankie of Many Colors.” Mine was a stash buster and ended up only about 50 inches square. I’m calling it “Joseph’s Not So Big Blankie (Of Many Colors).” It’s going to be a holiday gift. A lapafghan. And it also isn’t going to be Joseph’s (once it’s gifted).

The technique is totally easy. Knit a central square. Pick up stitches for one log along a side. Then pick up stitches for another bit longer log. And keep working out from the center until you: (1) run out of yarn or (2) run out of tolerance for miles and miles of garter stitch. I have a spooky tolerance for garter stitch. It’s the first stitch every knitter learns and I just fall into the rhythm and knit and knit.  Instead of the I-cord border, which is what Gardiner and Shayne suggest, I picked up stitches all around the blanket, and worked 10 rows of garter stitch in the round, mitering the corners as I went along.

This is knit in 3-ply Philosopher’s Wool and the now-discontinued Tahki Soho Bulky. On size 10 needles. It is one very heavy little blankie. It’s possible it could trap and crush a small child or a cat, so I’ll have to gift it with the appropriate warning.

Here’s a few more views: