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.

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.