Jan 2, 2009

homemade dishcloths

my hand-knitted dishcloth

The first time I heard of people knitting their own dishcloths I knew I'd found the weirdo fringe of simple-lifestyler greenie people. I mean, why would you do that?! I can cut the standard blue-striped supermarket cloths in half and make a packet last a whole year by frequently washing them and never letting them stew in their own stinky juices on the bench (gross).

And then I kept coming across people saying how great homemade dishcloths were. They are even cheaper than store-bought (especially if you have a hoarded yarn stash inherited from several generations - as I have). They ostensibly last longer. And if made from 100% natural fibres can be composted at the end of their lives.

So I figured it was worth a try.

Our current batch of store-bought cloths are all just about to give up the ghost - they have started to split lengthways and generally fall apart. I thought about writing them up on the shopping list, but hesitated. Knitting a rectangle would take all of an evening and if it works as well as everyone says, then we wouldn't need to purchase any dishcloths anymore.

Off to the wool basket I went. There I found a bag of coloured cotton yarn that my Nana had bought for me when I was about 9 years old. I distinctly remembering begging her to buy it for me because the colours were so pretty. She did so, reluctantly, on the condition that I would actually make something out of it. That bag of yarn has been niggling at my conscience in a very low key way for nigh on 23 years. So that's another 'point' in favour of knitting the dishcloths!

I used this pattern here at Groovy Mom, and you'll find plenty more here at Knitting Pattern Central. I used no7 (4.5mm) knitting needles and 100% cotton, double-knit (8ply) yarn.

With some trepidation I used my new dishcloth the next night. I was skeptical because I wasn't sure if it would absorb the water or just move it around. And if it did, would it wring dry enough to not leave the bench soaking wet when wiping up? And would it get clean again once I washed the pots? Had I just wasted an entire evening knitting a useless thing?

I am so happy with the result that I now have 5 dishcloths in my drawer!

These cloths work way better than the supermarket *(rhymes with chucks)* cloths. The ridging from the knitting mean there's a bit of texture to rub the pots etc clean. The cotton is completely absorbant (like a towel), but the open weave means it wrings out to just damp for wiping the table etc. And they can be safely sterilised at the end of the day by scouring them with hot water from the kettle, or nuking them in the microwave for 1 minute.


Anonymous said...

hey Stacey, well done. I used a similar pattern and a really fine cotton then backed with flannelette for face cloths as a xmas present.

Another interesting couple of ideas I've seen are storage boxes made of starched knitted twine and or cotton. Or back scrubbers knitted out of garden twine or similar.

Interesting. all good, hope your holidays were okay, look forwards to seeing you in the new year;)


Chrysalis said...

I like your blog! You sound a lot like I feel sometimes. Thanks for the nifty pattern- i enjoy knitting dishcloths, but this is a really easy pattern to use

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