Dish towels

These are not dishcloths. These are… dishtowels so stop your tsk tsking.  More uses for kitchen cotton. More uses for slip stitch/mosaic knitting. More patterns by Amy Marie Vold.

This is Cannery Rows. It’s part of Vold’s Pickling, Canning, Preserving e-book or can be purchased separately. I knit mine in Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran. My sense is that Cotton Aran is an almost middle ground between Lily’s Sugar ‘n Creme’s rustic feel and the more refined KnitPicks Dishie. But Dishcloth cotton all.

My younger brother and one of his daughters requested these. Here’s the these.

And a closer look at the big-red-jar one:

Great pattern.

Some of my kin have sworn off automatic dishwashers. Well, maybe one of us doesn’t have one. And the other prefers not to use theirs. All those tussels as kids about who was going to wash and who was going to dry, and now this. Life is long. Truth be told, the absorbency of kitchen cotton–even after multiple trips through the washer and the dryer–isn’t the best for drying dishes. So my family doesn’t actually use these as dishtowels. These heavy cloths make excellent (and stylish) landing pads for freshly washed draining/drying dishes.

There’s another of my Cannery Rows to check out here, late in my post on red knits.

These next two DK weight towels are an experiment. I’d never knit in hemp or in flax and I wanted to give both a try.

This is Vold’s Tumbling Blocks Cowl. It’s available separately or as part of a Cleaning Blocks e-book. I knit my Tumbling Blocks in Elsebeth Lavold’s Hempathy. Hempathy is 41% cotton, 34% hemp, 25% rayon.

Here’s how it looked just off the needles, before I tossed it in the washer and then threw it in the dryer:

Nice. A little floppy feeling. 12 inches wide by 17 inches long, worked exactly the number of repeats the pattern called for. I was satisfied with the blocks but was underwhelmed by Hempathy. It was easy to knit with. But it seemed too loosey goosey. And that reminds me of the unfortunate news that very untidy Canada Geese pairs are, even as I write this, stomping around on the lake ice demanding spring.

Before I frolic off to plan my goose defenses, here’s a look at my Tumbling Blocks after washing and drying.

It bloomed! And the feel of the fabric is wonderful. Not floppy. Not scratchy. The final dimensions of the towel are 11 inches by 15 inches. So washing and drying caused the yarn to pull in 1 inch in width and 2 in length. I knew something would happen. But still this surprised me. Not only did the dimensions change, the block pattern crisped up.

Next up, same pattern different yarn. This is FibraNatura DK Flax. The ball band said “100% linen/flax.” Flax is the name of the plant and linen is the name of the fabric produced by the plant, so says this informative Noble Knits article. As compared to my Hempathy version, this Tumbling Blocks was a disappointment just off the needles.

The pattern was indistinct. The fabric was more floppy and undisciplined as compared to Hempathy. Unwashed and undried the towel was 13 inches by 16 inches.

But check out the “after” photo:

The fabric bloomed in a way that really made the blocks pop. The final dimensions of the towel are 12 inches by 18 inches.

FibraNatura Flax was quite different from working with Hempathy. Even less yielding. A little harder on the hands. As I knit, some fluff was fluffing off and I found myself sneezing sometimes. It had looked pretty sad coming of the washing machine and I was impatient to see what was happening. So I checked on the towel after about 5 minutes of drying. Shed fiber filled the lint collector. I emptied the collector three times before the drying was complete.

I was happy that I thought to wash and dry the towel only with blue jeans. Mark this down as a most prodigious shedder. I’m thinking that will calm down a lot with subsequent washing and drying. I hope so. Otherwise one day I’ll put it in the dryer and it will have disappeared like the Cheshire Cat.

‘All right,’ said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. Alice In Wonderland.

Dishcloth doubles

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all who observe it participate in it or whatever is the right verb for the day’s events.

Some knitters are obsessed with very talented mostly garment designers like Isabell Kraemer or Andrea Mowry. They dutifully “Find [Their] Fades.” Then they “Free [Their] Fades.” They “Don’t Ask” and then they “Don’t Ask Again.” I knit my share of shawls and even the occasional sweater. I knit garments and accessories by both these designers, who I admire. But I knit more of Vold’s designs than anyone else. Slip stitch/mosaic dishcloths and I are a thing.

I know. All together now: “More dishcloths? How many dishes does this knitter wash?” It will come as no surprise that I don’t use all the dishcloths I knit. Most are gifted. All the cloths in this post are patterns by Amy Marie Vold. This first one is Cloverleaf Cloth knit in Knitpicks Dishie.

Next up is Shore Lunch Cloth. I’ve dubbed it my Fishcloth.

This set is knit in Paintbox Cotton Aran. I really enjoy seeing how these work out when I knit a pair reversing the main color and the contrast color.

Here’s Squirrel Away the Dishes. Knitpicks Dishie looks great in this set. I used the linen and coffee colorways.

One of my brothers is a big fan of my dishcloths. I decided to knit him, well, a bunch. And I aimed to cover all the seasons and holidays. Here’s part of his summer set. Though, actually, ice cream and I are a season all year long. This is How Many Scoops. Seventy grams, two cloths. Again, Dishie.

The next Dishie knit is from the Flock of Sheep eBook Vold recently released. It’s Washstand Sheep. This time I departed from simply flipping the colors. I’d started with the white sheep in the green field. Then I realized that green sheep standing on a cloud would look a little too weird even for me. So, instead, I made the sheep brown.

Next up is an early Vold pattern calling for DK weight. I used Paintbox Cotton DK. It’s Dishscraper that Never Sleeps. This one’s especially fun to knit. If you’re wondering that some of my cloths, including this one, have rather wavy edges and sides, that’s because I don’t steam my cloths before photographing (or gifting) them. I try to never lose sight of the fact that these are dishcloths. Dishcloths. Humble dishcloths. They will lead a hard life and they might as well get used to it right off the bat and not try to rise above their station.

I feel like reversing the colors in Dishscraper is especially sweet–depicting the daytime and nighttime skyline.

Covering all the holiday bases, I needed to include some wintry scenes. The first of these last two Dishie sets is Fir Sprucing Up, followed by  Chameleon Snowflake Poinsettia.


I know that some knitters think knitting dishcloths is, well, a silly waste of time. I think it’s a wonderfully useful diversion.

Happy Halloween

Halloween was a big deal during my 1960’s childhood. The candy was a draw for sure. Getting dressed up in costumes and walking around at night was special. We didn’t wear our costumes around the house or at any time except Halloween. And we did not otherwise often walk the neighborhood at night. It was a safe neighborhood. It just wasn’t something we did. The rule was “be home when the street lights come on.”

This year Halloween on my blog is all dishcloths. In fact, they are all cloths by Amy Marie Vold, the talented mosaic stitch designer whose work I frequently knit. She calls this design Along Came a Spider.

I knit my spider set in Knitpicks Dishie. Dishie’s vibrant colors and not-too-rustic 100% cotton yarn both work well for mosaic work. “Creepy, crawly, creepy, crawly, creepy-creepy, crawly-crawly.” So say Bori the spiders.

This next creepy cloth is Clean to the Bone. I knit it in Paintbox Cotton Aran. Skull and crossbows dude is fine with a more rustic kitchen cotton. More down to earth.

I was raised on the East Side of Detroit. East Side kids came to your door on Halloween and yelled “Help the poor.” Just “Help the poor.” That’s what (and all) we yelled. I was an adult, and living on the West Side, before I heard kids yell the rest: “Help the poor, my pants are tore, gimme some money and I’ll buy s’more.” I was shocked to learn the rest of the chant. We kids on the East Side were in a hurry for the candy. Standing out in the cold shouting more than just a few words was so not going to happen.

And this last cloth? It’s Bone Dry Bar Mop knit in Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK. I knit almost all cloths in worsted weight kitchen cotton. But this larger pattern needs more “presentation” space. A DK weight works well too. It may even sop up a little better than worsted after a few washes because it seems to resist shrinkage a little better.

East Side kids also did not ever yell “trick or treat.” It has the benefit of being quick to say, like “help the poor.” But “trick or treat” was for the ill-mannered (just kidding) West Side kids. We Eastsiders presented as waifs not bullies.

Kittens galore

These little kittens are, well, the cat’s meow? No. I didn’t say that. (They are, though.) You’ve seen Sara Elizabeth Kellner’s freebie Tiny Window Cat once before on my blog. The first one was quite a hit with my little granddaughter. At her mom’s urging (“Did you want to ask grandma if she could knit something for you?”), Evelyn smiled so sweetly and asked if I could knit her kittycat a friend. Oh my. Is that like every crafting grandma’s daydream?

In case you’re thinking tiny might not mean particularly tiny, here’s original kitty cat’s new friends compared to a thimble.

Wild whiskers seemed in order. I have waxed thread in my thread stash and that worked out well.

The baskets are my addition to the pattern. Here’s how I knit them. Cast on 32 stitches, in the round. Knit 9 rounds. Purl 1 round. Knit 9 rounds. Bind off. Fold the basket on the purl ridge and sew the cast on and bound off edges together, wrong sides facing each other. Echoing the construction of the bottom of the cat, pick up 32 stitches along the bottom edge. Work rounds 1 through 5 of Kellner’s pattern for the bottom of the cat, except on rows 1, 3 and 5, work the decreases 8 times around to form the bottom of the basket. Draw together the remaining stitches and your basket is complete.

While on a cat theme. This litter of kitten dishcloths makes a sweet gift for the cat lover in your circle. These are Amy Marie Vold’s PurrPetual Domestic Supervisors cloths. One pattern provides a knitter with four ways to knit the cat.

Mine are knit in Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran. This set of four used 50 grams of yellow and 50 grams of blue, 30 grams of white, and 14 grams of green. If you haven’t yet tried mosaic (a/k/a slip stitch) knitting, it’s an easy colorwork technique, well-explained in the pattern. You use only one color at a time. Easy peasy and great fun.