Handmade Cotton Dish Cloths
Crochet Coasters or Dishcloths
Why Hand Knit Dish Cloths?
Making your own cotton dish cloths is a portable project that is also good for the environment. 100% cotton or cotton/hemp blends are absorbent and durable--and much prettier than a cheap, germ-filled sponge. These small rectangles are also ideal swatches for practicing new stitch patterns before using them in a larger project.
Knit a rectangle or circle in any pattern stitch with worsted-weight cotton for a simple cloth. For a more ambitious project, adapt a lace doily pattern to thicker yarn and larger needles. You may also make a larger cotton rectangle to be used as a placemat or dish drying towel.
I have compared three of the most popular brands of cotton yarn for your convenience as you decide which is best for your project. Suggestions for patterns beyond the ordinary garter stitch cloths are also included: illusion knitting and lace knitting. Let's get started by choosing your yarn!
Knitted lace picture from Wikimedia Commons
Comparing Cotton Yarn Options
Bernat Handicrafter solids come in 80 yard balls at about $2 a ball. Handicrafter is slightly heavier per yard than other cottons, making a softer, cushiony dishcloth. This yarn is also soft enough for washcloths and pretty enough for gifts.
Lily Sugar 'n Cream is available almost anywhere yarn is sold, from craft stores to big box retailers. The 120 yard balls at around $3 make one oversized dish cloth, while two balls make three standard cloths. This yarn is strong and also makes good cloths for general housecleaning. For dish scrubbing cloths, Sugar 'n Cream is unbeatable among 100% cotton yarns. It also comes in the widest color range of the three brands reviewed here.
Lion Cotton is the most expensive of the three brands by yard and by weight, but you need buy fewer balls because of the great yardage: 236 yards at around $7. Lion Cotton is a bit softer than Sugar 'n Cream and slightly less durable in my personal experience. It does, however, have some colors you won't find in other brands.
If you make many dishcloths for gifts or for craft fairs, keep these retail prices in mind so you can recognize a bargain when you see one. Dollar stores and surplus/odd lot stores sometimes sell discontinued colors. Also be sure to sign up for the mailing lists of your local yarn stores for coupon savings and advance notice of special sales. I have given suggested retail prices, not the prices I usually pay when I get my yarn on sale!
Disclaimer: The author received no products or monetary compensation for this product review. The opinions expressed are the author's, based on personal experience purchasing and using these yarns.
Take Dishcloths to the Next Level
Basic Dish Cloth Patterns
- Fast, Fun and Fabulous Knit Dishcloths - a book by Mary Oaks
The 12 designs in this ebook use basic knit and purl stitches to make attractive dishcloths that add a touch of elegance to any kitchen décor. The designs are suitable for both beginner and experienced knitters.
- Simple and Practical Dish Cloth
A design for those who prefer crochet to knitting
- Coffee & Cream: Knitted Dishcloth
Patterned dishcloth with matching sleeve for a liquid soap container
Illusion Knit Dish Cloth Patterns
Illusion knitting looks like regular garter stitch with stripes at first glance. Hold the piece at an angle, however, and the stipes turn into a picture. The illusion is created by purling some of the stitches according to a chart. Shadow knitting is another name for this simple, effective technique that mimics iridescent fabrics (fabrics which change color when looked at from different angles.) Try one of these illusion patterns for a start:
- Ravelry: Easter Egg Illuion/shadow dish cloth pattern by Cheryl Edwards
- Ravelry: Illusion Maple Leaf Dish Cloth pattern by Audrey Ritchie
This pattern has no chart. Written instructions only..
- Pi Party Dishcloth
Lace Knit Dish Cloth Patterns
Lace patterns make quick-drying dishcloths. While lace is usually worked in thread or super fine yarn, it works in heavier cotton with larger needles, too. Try these patterns to see if you enjoy lace knitting: