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.”


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.


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.

Grandmother’s dishcloth, a variant

This is Jana Trent’s a/k/a the eLoomanator’s variation on the traditional dishcloth I know as “Grandmother’s” dishcloth. In the original, you leave out that very pretty center square of yarn overs and knit-two-togethers and just do the edge increases and decreases. We knitters have made a least a zillion of them. Where would kitchen cotton companies be without grandmother having taught all of us the basic pattern?

Trent’s version is especially well thought out. The center panel creates a nice serviceable scratchy surface. And when the dishcloth shrinks because we all throw these things in the washer and then throw them in the dryer (don’t we?), the yarn-overs create enough space to keep the cloth looking less tired for a longer time. These two are knit in Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream worsted weight cotton, on US size 7 needles.

The pattern is a free one, available for download on Ravelry. Look for “eLoomanator’s Diagonal Dishcloth” in a pattern search. Or run a Jana Trent search in the Ravelry designers.