Botanical dishcloths

This is not a gold Christmas tree. I mean, it could be a gold Christmas tree but this is mid-April, and even though it’s been below freezing at night, this is actually and merely a gold fir tree. It’s Amy Marie Vold’s Fir Sprucing Up cloth. I knit mine in Paintbox Yarn’s Cotton Aran. 18 grams of the main color and 16 of the contrast is all the yarn you need.

Here’s another version, knit in the same yarn. This time it’s a fir tree standing in the sunshine.  Ok. I guess it has some snow on its branches.

Sticking to a botanical theme, here’s Vold’s Sunflower at the Sink. Again, this is knit in Paintbox Cotton Aran. What tickles me most about this cloth is that the sunflower’s petals are irregular. Too many knitted sunflowers suffer from perfectly-uniform-petal syndrome.

In the real world sunflowers are messy whirls of yellow petals. In the real world sunflowers are wild things. Comparing one to another is a bit like comparing snowflake shapes. This is easily seen in Steve’s 2009 photo of a field of sunflowers near us.

Vold’s design captures another feature sometimes missed: the seed pod in the middle is huge and dwarfs the petals. This cloth is such a fun knit. Consider giving it try.

Next up is another design of Vold’s: Sunny Dish Position. This time I knit the pair in Drops Paris, another workhorse “kitchen” cotton:

The pattern is designed for DK weight. But Aran weight and US size 6 needles worked great.

If you haven’t yet dipped your knitting toes into mosaic a/k/a slip stitch knitting, trying out the easy colorwork technique with a dishcloth pattern should tempt. Vold’s patterns are presented both charted and line-by-line. Her patterns are tested. And they are clear. You alternate two rows in one color yarn and two rows in the other color, being sure that your yarn is on the non-public side of the work when you slip stitches. That’s about all there is to remember. Easy peasy.

Red knits

Fichu Bleu, by Orlane Sucche, was a very pleasing, soothing knit. That means something even in the best of times. In trying times it means even more. Mine is worked up in Why Not Fibers Spunky, a 100% merino sportweight. Here’s a closer look at the stitch pattern.

This is a free pattern on Ravelry. I continue to be amazed by the generosity of the knitting universe. Fichu Bleu has been in my queue for many years. I don’t often knit in sportweight. I know I could have knit it in worsted weight and ended up with a shawl with more ample coverage. Awhile back, I was gifted 3 skeins of Spunky in the raspberry colorway.  I wanted to find the perfect pattern. I believe I found it!

Since I had enough yarn, I worked one extra section A before beginning the garter stitch final section. After studying the notes of other Ravelers, I decided to follow the lead of those who used an Icelandic bindoff to assure that the bindoff would be somewhat stretchy and a bit decorative. I worked the bindoff from the right (public) side. My shawl, after a light blocking, has 56 inches of wingspan and is 22 inches at the deepest section (in the middle).

This is an excellent, no-nonsense shawl! It been cool lately in northern Michigan and I’ve already gotten some good wear out of this shawl.

It’s probably a goofy way to organize blog posts, but lately I’ve been doing color posts. Orange, blue, brown, and now it’s red’s turn.

This weird thing with the very sweet cable, knit in sport weight yarn, is another Ravelry freebie: Bea John’s Helferlein. I’m guessing you know what it is…unfortunately.

Yep. It’s an Earsaver. The idea is that you put this on the back of your head somewhere and hook your facemask on the buttons. That way your mask bypasses your ears and saves you from ear chafing.

This sounded like an incredibly good idea to me. I wear glasses and bluetooth hearing aids so there’s not a lot of real estate left behind my ears. When I wear a mask, it can get tangled up in my aids when I take my mask off. More than once I’ve had my expensive uglies try to take a flying leap.

I am super impressed with the cable in Helferlein. Someday I’m going to use that cable in something else. But, for me, the earsaver just doesn’t work. If I put it on toward the back of my head, Helferlein falls off once the mask is attached. If I put it on toward the top of my head, my mask doesn’t fit right. Maybe I have an odd-shaped head or unusual masks, because these things are working for others. Very cute fast knit. I just wish it would have worked for me. (Edited to add that Bea John visited this blog and left a comment that “if you wear Helferlein on your neck and leave the elastic bands of your mask below your ears, it fits best.”)

This next is another impressive entry into the mosaic cloth category: Amy Marie Vold’s Cannery Rows. It’s part of her Pickling, Canning, Preserving ebook. I knit the towel sized item.

The pattern allows the knitter to choose from quart, pint, and half-pint motifs. I had a blast knitting it. I knit mine in Cotton Aran by Paintbox Yarns.

While we are on the subject of mosaic cloths and red, this next is Shore Lunch Cloth, from Vold’s Gone Fishing ebook. I enjoy knitting many, in fact almost all, of Vold’s designs. But Shore Lunch is a big favorite. I knit this set in DROPS Paris, another all-cotton Aran-weight.

Graham is next up. I knit this version in Shepherd’s Wool Worsted by Stonehedge Fiber Mill. Souched or cuffed, even worn inside out, this hat is a must-knit.

Graham is a Ravelry freebie that’s been knit 8,511 times as of September, 2020. This one is my 5th. It’s a good, solid, unisex hat that’s easy to knit but not boring.

Red knits is just about finished. But I’m pleased enough with how Fichu Bleu came out that I thought I’d give you another look. I’m planning to knit it sometime again soon. It’s one good knit.

Blue knits

This is Heather Zoppetti’s Mirtillo. I used Anzula Squishy. Squishy is a wonderful fingering weight in 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon that’s, well, delightfully squishy. I purchased the kit at a deep discount during a shop closeout. The pattern is a mix of garter stitch, simple mosaic work, with that cute picot edge added at the end.

The kit even included a matching shawl pin.

With any kit, my major concern is whether they’ve included enough yarn of each color to handle minor discrepancies in gauge. Not a problem. There was more than enough yarn in each “skeinette.” The only problem was that the pattern included in the kit was printed at a font-size and color that had me scratching my head. It was printed in gray. And the font size was about 6 point! Even young eyes would have been foiled. We were able to scan the pattern and then enlarge it. Otherwise, Mirtillo would not have been.

Take another look at this pretty.

It’s an itty bitty thing, though. The designer puts the dimensions at 19 inches at the wide point by 49 inches from end to end. I blocked mine as sternly as I felt wise and ended up at 17 inches by 47 inches. Either way, this is a small thing. And although I’m short I am not small. As much as I love the colors and pattern, I haven’t made up my mind yet if this one’s for me. It feels like a neckerchief and I’m not sure that’s a good look for me.

Mirtillo is only partly blue, but this next knit gives a full out blue experience in my version. It’s Assia Brill’s Distitch Edge Scarf. Brill says “distitch” is a new knitting concept.

I was skeptical that there was really anything new in the knitting universe that would edge a garter stitch scarf. But after watching this video, I was convinced Brill’s actually on to something new. Not only is it new, it’s super-easy. Check out this closer look at the result.

I declare it simply beautiful. I knit mine in Aran weight Simplinatural by HiKoo. The edge stitch is apparently just the tip of the iceberg for this new technique. Brill released an entire book devoted to it.

Try it, I predict you’ll like it!

And now, for something quite predictable. Dishcloths!  This one is “Maryanne’s” Modified Feather and Fan cloth, available here:

I never met a feather and fan I didn’t think was very cool. So much bang for the buck. Well, the unbuck, actually, because the pattern is free. My cloth is knit in Knit Picks Dishie Multi.

Here’s another Amy Marie Vold set of slip stitch cloths.

They are Snow Two Alike, worked in Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran. The yarn is fairly new to me. It compares favorably to Drops Paris and is a tad less rustic than Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream. One of the things I often enjoy about Vold’s cloth is knitting them in sets, reversing the colors. The differences are sometimes striking. And they make a nice set for gifting.

If you’re not a dishcloth fan, and let’s face it knitters fall into two groups in that regard, you’re tuning out by now. People either hate to knit dishcloths, consider them a waste of yarn, and unsanitary to boot. Or they passionately love knitting them, are constantly on the hunt for new patterns, and have a drawer full of them. I am of the latter group.

These three are each knit in Knit Picks Dishie Multie. The top is Jeanne Breckelman’s Easy Columns Washcloth. The one on the bottom right is Linda Smith’s Feather and Fan Dishcloth. And the bottom left is Deb Buckingham’s Marbles & Jacks. The first two are freebies.

Seeing how the variegated performs in different situations is interesting. The columns cloth on steroids would make for a great scarf or wrap. If you haven’t seen the technique before I won’t spill the beans. But the columns are just knits and purls, though you end up with a garter stitch feel to the pattern.

This next DK-weight blue beauty is Lina, by Johanna of Joko Knits. I’ve knit Lina twice before. And I will knit it again. More than 2000 Ravelers have had lively discussions about how this twisted cable NOT brioche pattern works. I knit it, as the pattern is written, except that I needed to work with a cable needle. I’ve written before about how to translate the directions to work with a cable needle. I didn’t invent those directions. They are all over project pages and at my blog entry with my earlier knits. Bottom line? Knitters need to simply trust that the pattern is correct and all will be well.


Some have tried to modify the top. I knit this one just as Johanna directed. I think it works best. It gets a bit disorganized at the very end. But it also retains the loping twisted cables almost to the very end. I’ve never learned brioche knitting. Barking and burping just never proved appetizing even though I’ve drooled over many a brioche design. To me, Lina is brioche-like. Without the extra calories of the original.

Orange stuff

Maybe orange really is the new black.  At least of late I’m not knitting anything black (aging eyes). And orange is popping up repeatedly on my needles.  Not Halloween orange. Not hunter blaze orange. Warmer and rustier oranges.

This DK weight hat is Foliage by Irina Dmitrieva. It’s free on Ravelry. Gobs of knitters have knit it and raved about it. I figured it was time I gave it a try. I had one skein of HiKoo Sueno, 80% superwash merino, 20% rayon from bamboo. I’d never knit with Sueno before this. The yarn proved to have excellent stitch definition. It has a soft next-to-the-skin feel.

Foliage has an OK crown. It gets a bit disorganized at the very end. So if any drones photograph the top of my head maybe I’ll deny I knit it. Overall it’s a beautiful hat and a well-crafted pattern.

Knitting with Sueno set me to wondering about how they manage to get rayon from bamboo. Generally, rayon production of any kind isn’t a pretty picture. It’s all chemically reshaped cellulose. Bamboo will do as well as wood pulp to produce rayon. And since bamboo grows fast it’s likely a more ecologically sensitive choice if you want to end up with rayon. But both processes create carbon disulfide as a byproduct. That’s very nasty stuff. Especially if anyone inhales the fumes. I’m hoping that the workers who have to cook up this stuff are adequately protected.

This next orange hat is Jennifer Myrick’s Skywalk. I knit mine in Plymouth Yarn’s Worsted Merino Superwash.

Such a clever combination of knits and purls. There are no cables here. I love the reverse stockinette droops.

Gatlinburg Tennessee’s SkyBridge inspired the pattern. SkyBridge spans 680 feet and is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. In the center there are three glass panels that give a better view of what’s 140 feet below.

Oh dear. That figure in the middle is checking out SkyBridge’s glass panels. In June of 2020, some goofball did a baseball slide onto the panels and cracked the glass.

In addition to not wanting children to grow up to be rayon production workers, let’s add glass maintenance workers on pedestrian suspension bridges. That said, it is easy to see how the bridge inspired the hat. Nice crown decreases too.

In case you’ve had enough of hats, let’s move on to another knitting passion of mine.

Yep, dishcloths. This one is Amy Marie Vold’s Blooming Basket, complete with butterflies. These mosaic dishcloths are totally easy and totally addicting. I knit mine in DROPS Garnstudio Paris, a good workhouse kitchen cotton slightly less rustic than Lily Sugar ‘n Cream. It’s already been doing yeoman service in my kitchen.

This next cloth is Scattered Flowers, from Evelyn Clark’s Bathtime Blossoms collection. It’s the rarity in my cloth knitting because it’s knit in sportweight. Somewhere I picked up a skein of Classic Elite Allegoro. Allegoro is, well was, 70% cotton 30% linen/flax. It doesn’t make for a hearty dishcloth. Consider it a spa cloth. I just wanted to try Clark’s pattern again. I’d last knit it many years ago.


Even though I picked up my skein of Sueno from the sale bin, it was still fairly pricey yarn. I didn’t want any to go to waste. This next hat is Aimee Alexander’s cute Sleepy Sunday. It comes in a full range of sizes. But I had only enough yarn for the toddler size, modeled here by my Ravatar.

So sweet!