Wash up

Pattern: Maggie’s Chinese Waves Dishcloth
Yarn: Sugar ‘n’ Cream 100% cotton worsted weight, red
Needles: U.S. 7 (Lion Brand plastic)

Believe it or not, I’ve been knitting nearly every day since the last post in late May. And I actually have a lot to show for it.

But there’s something in me that just doesn’t like to post objects in progress. And everything I’ve done is still, technically, in progress. There’s the single sock that needs (1) a mate, and (2) a redone bind-off at the cuff. There’s the 1/3-done baby blanket that’s probably past its expiry date with its original intended recipient and is now angling toward currently preggers friends. There’s the jumper for Cady Gray that saw its crochet straps go somewhat awry and is now awaiting my decision about how to rip out the crochet and do it again.

And then there’s this, thank the lord. A dishcloth. No — call it The Dishcloth. My first. I impulsively signed up for Dish Rag Tag a few months ago, and at some point in the past month became aware that, in order to participate effectively in a dishcloth-knitting race, I should probably put in just a little practice before the starting gun.

There are many wonderful things about dishcloth knitting. First, easy access to materials. I waltzed down to Hobby Lobby and spent some time looking at the bewildering variety of Sugar ‘n’ Cream cotton worsted, before buying a solid and a variegated. You can even get the stuff at Wal-Mart. And you’ll never have to pay more than a buck-fifty. It’s absolutely no-waiting, no-fuss knitting.

Second, instant gratification. Or I assume it will be instant, once I get the hang of it (and I am). This one took several nights of concentration, but I love the results — this is a strong, hefty cloth that feels like it would make an excellent loofah. The fact that it’s tightly knit with no lacy holes means it didn’t exactly fly off the needles. And I was using plastic needles, my cheapo first resort with nearly everything but sock knitting. They’re rather sticky with the cotton. On my second try, I dug out some hand-me-down aluminum needles, and ahhhh … slippery and quick.

Third, low-investment, low-risk experimentation. Always wanted to try a stitch pattern or technique? A dishcloth is the perfect place. I’m almost 3/4 done with the delightful 4 Corners Cloth (pics soon), which may turn out to be my Dish Rag Tag pattern of choice, and I’m eager to try Dave’s Garterlac Cloth. The former is my first attempt at an Elizabeth Zimmerman-inspired pattern, and I think I could be in love. She’s the knitting equivalent, it seems, of my beloved Mary Konior — inventive in the way she puts motives together to create surprising geometric patterns. I have a tendency to dive in whole hog when I fall for a craft, technique, or designer, so I need to get my head around some entrelac right away before I interlibrary-loan the entire EZ oeuvre.

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2 Comments on “Wash up”

  1. Amanda Page Says:

    I like knitting dishcloths for the same reasons. A quick knit, a good way to test out some stitches or techniques without having to rip out an entire garment, cheap, and useful at the end to boot.

    Metal needles, definitely the way to go. I tried bamboo first, and just about snapped them in half, it all ended up so tight and snarled together. Slippery in this instance is good.

    If you find you like making them, swap-bot.com has a monthly swap that’s good. I’ve been sent several washcloths that have left me gobsmacked in terms of the skill behind them. Something to live up to!

  2. There’s so much goodness in this post. Where to start?

    I’m really happy to read that you’ve been knitting as much as you have. I know that I feel better if I find even a little time for it each day.

    I’ve nearly abandoned plastic needles entirely, although that’s what I worked on exclusively when I started. I like metal but sometimes favor bamboo so that I don’t have stitches slipping off.

    I haven’t knit any dishcloths for almost a month, but you hit the reasons why they’re good to do. Sometimes you need to feel like you’re accomplishing something.

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