Knitted and Crocheted Washcloths

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mark it with a B on flickr
Fun to make, and the best washcloths you'll ever own

Dirty dishes are an inescapable fact of life (in fact, I'm ignoring the pile in my sink right now). But sooner or later, they've got to be done. While scrubbing dried-on enchilada sauce off a baking dish isn't my idea of great fun, having the right tools can make this job more enjoyable.

Handmade dishcloths are environmentally sound, attractive, and relaxing to make. The very first thing I knitted was a square cotton dishcloth. I still use it.

If you know nothing about knitting or crocheting, it's one of the great "pass along" crafts. Since you need such basic skills to make functional dishcloths, you can a friend who knows to show you. Or, drop into any local yarn store and ask the basic questions. Usually, if you pick up some needles or a hook and some yarn, they'll be happy to show you the basics.

Don't overlook your local library. Basic books abound, and they've gotten better. Websites offer tutorials, patterns and links to people who like to make things with sticks, hooks and string. And don't forget to check out Ravelry!

Washcloth bikini, anyone?
Why not grab a pair of needles or a hook, a skein of "kitchen cotton" yarn, which comes in a bunch of cool colors, and whip up one or two? Heck, if you go crazy and make scores, give them away for gifts! Put a few together for a retro-look bathing suit! Don't let your imagination be limited.

Ahem. Well, anyhow, here's the first knitted one I ever made:

Using a pair of size 10 (US) needles, and cotton worsted yarn, cast on four stitches.
K2, yo, k to end
Repeat this pattern (yo after second and before last stitch) until 43 stitches are on needle.
Then: K1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end
Repeat this pattern until you've got 4 stitches. Cast off and tie the end, weave the ends into the washcloth.

And here's a crochet pattern:

Stitches used:
Dc: Double crochet
Ch: chain
Sc: Single crochet
V-St: (Dc, ch 1, dc) in space indicated.
LSC (Long Single Crochet): Working around ch-3, insert hook in sp directed, yo and pull up a loop, then yo and draw through both loops on hook. (Counts as 1 sc.)
Decrease: To decrease, pull up a loop in next 2 sc, yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

Using cotton worsted weight yarn and a size F (3.5m) crochet hook, chain 32.
Row 1: (Right side) Sc in second ch from hook, * ch 1, skip next ch, sc in next ch; repeat from * across: 16 sc and 15 ch-1 sps.
Row 2: Ch 1, turn; sc in first sc and in next ch-1 sp, * work V-St in next ch-1 sp, sc in next ch-1 sp; repeat from * across to last sc, sc in last sc: 10 sc and 7 V-Sts.
Row 3: Ch 1, turn; sc in first 2 sc, ch 3, * skip next V-St, sc in next sc, ch 3; repeat from * across to last 2 sc, sc in last 2 sc: 10 sc and 7 ch-3 sps.
Row 4: Ch 1, turn; sc in first 2 sc, work 3 LSC in next V-St (Ch-1 sp) one row below ch-3, * sc in next sc, work 3 LSC in next V-ST one row below ch-3; repeat from * across to last 2 sc, sc in last 2 sc: 31 sc.
Row 5: Ch 1, turn; sc in first sc, * ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next sc; repeat from * across: 16 sc and 15 ch -1 sps.
Rows 6 - 29: Repeat rows 2-5 6 times; do not finish off but leave loop on hook for edging.

Edging
Round 1: Ch 1, do not turn; sc evenly around entire piece working a number of sc that is divisible by 3 and working 3 sc in each corner; join with sl st to first sc.
Round 2: Ch 1, sc in same st, ch 1, decrease, ch 1, * sc in next sc, ch 1, decrease, ch 1; repeat from * around; join with sl st to first sc, finish off.

Now, go do those dishes.

Contributing Editor Stefani Leto writes and parents in the Bay Area. Mother of an almost-five year old and an infant, she says nothing challenges her mind like parenting. Her work also appears at http://www.windowbox.com and
http://www.folksonline.com/folks/ts/1998/pph.html.

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