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Knit a 50-Cent Dishcloth in 1 Hour
A favorite use for my double point needles is making dishcloths. This lens shows you how, step by step. You'll find it's so easy because there are only a few steps.
The finished cloth measures 5" X 7.5" (5 stitches = just over 1"). This size is easiest for me to handle but you can vary the size simply by adding rows or stitches. I like to use the dishcloth flat or folded in half. To have it larger would be unwieldily for me.
I knit these cloths tightly on size 7 needles. When I made my first one I used larger needles, but since the cloth stretches slightly when wet it made the holes too big for my use.
If you want to knit loosely you might try size 6 needles. If you want a double size cloth cast-on 48 stitches. Then knit 104 rows in the main color, starting with a cast-on row and 4 additional rows in the trim color. Then at the bottom knit another 4 rows for trim and cast off. This would make a splendid utility cloth.
At the bottom is a list of items to choose from to make this project. The large spool of white cotton yarn is a fantastic buy, but I like some color in my dishcloths so I've added several color combinations to choose from.
For a tutorial that shows how to cast-on yarn onto a knitting needle you'll find my how-to here.
Beginning with Step 2. you're going to need point protectors. See the article I wrote about them here.
All Photos copyright 2013 Leslie Sinclair
I used this yummy vibrant green, aqua and yellow cotton yarn on most of the dishcloths that I produced last year in this series. Yellow is my favorite color, and aqua is a color that makes one feel better. In my case it reminds me of a favorite place from my childhood.
My grandparents owned an estate on a peninsula in a small lake in Oregon's northwest. It was close to the ocean, on a little hill, and mostly covered in deciduous forest, but the long driveway on the crest was bounded by towering evergreens.
Outside the high cast iron auto gates sat the groundskeeper's cottage where we lived through many delightful months of childhood play days. All the colors remind me of warm sunny days under blue skies, with countless clam digging excursions to the ocean shore, and many an early morning catching fish in grandpa's big rowboat, down a long rickety line of wood steps to the old boathouse.
Time required: 1 - 2 hours per cloth
Cost: 5 dishcloths - $2.51 Lily Sugar'n Cream Worsted Weight Yarn
- One skein Lily Sugar'n Cream Worsted Weight Cotton yarn.
- One partial skein multicolor yarn of same type.
- Two Size 7 double-pointed knitting needles.
- Two point protectors.
I Like Double Pointed Needles
Of course you can use regular size 7 knitting needles for your own dishcloths, but I like saving money, so I get the end protectors and use these for all sorts of projects.
Earlier in life I used exclusively metal knitting needles and I still have a few sets after decades of moving around and losing the rest in the mix. Now that bamboo needles are available, I like to use them for my arthritic fingers appreciate the light weight.
My ecological side appreciates the renewability of plant products, and the artist in me likes the natural color played against the richness of yarns. For many items I prefer wool yarns, especially hand dyed wools. The dishcloths, though, call for cotton.
Although I have experimented with a part acrylic yarn on some of my cloths. They turn out much softer, very nice to use, but the main drawback I've discovered is that it's more challenging to squeeze all the water out when done with a batch of hand dishwashing.
1. Cast on 24 stitches with multicolor yarn. Note the irregularity in the stitches left of center. I like evenness in my knitting, even in a simple project like dishcloths, so I took the stitches off back to those nagging uneven ones and recast the rest of the row.
2. Here is the completed cast-on row with a knot I tied at the end.
You'll notice that the row is very short, less than 4" but once you get into the rows the cast-on row will loosen up and the cloth will be about 5" wide.
3. Continue knitting each row until cloth measures 7" long.
Switch back to trim yarn.
4. You can see that I've changed back to the multicolor yarn to finish the last few rows. Trim rows will add another half inch.
I vary the number of finishing rows with the colored yarn, from one to three, plus the casting-off row. Otherwise I can get bored, after all - this is a utilitarian item, but it gives me a bit of a boost to make each cloth in the set unique in some way.
This photo shows the middle of the casting-off row. The finished top edge is at the right, with only one stitch remaining on the right needle.
5. This photo shows the proportions for this simple cloth. See the soft ridges the all-knit rows make.
I like it because it makes enough texture to maintain a better grasp of the cloth than I got with the old store bought waffle weave cloths.
Finding these point protectors was like finding morel mushrooms in the forest back in my child rearing days when daddy would take us all out on marvelous hikes in the mountains.
We knew that dinner those nights would include a big platter of fried fresh mushrooms that we picked ourselves. When we ate on site we fried the shrooms in lots of country butter and served them up on sloppy buttered fire-toasted bread.
Having lots of circular knitting needles reminds me of childhood, watching the elder ladies in the family knit up gifts. Something about the curve of the needles appeals to me, and of course there's only one needle to lose. When I returned to knitting after a many-year long layoff my knitting kept slipping off one end of my needles, prompting a search on Amazon where I was pleased to find these.