"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good Ol' Knitted Dish Cloths

Yes, yes, I know, you've all made knitted dish cloths - probably learned how to knit by making them. And that is just what I've been doing. I have been teaching a friend to knit. We started with just the garter stitch but she has started the same scarf over many times. She sees a mistake and rips it all out and starts over, so she has not been getting any positive reinforcement for all her knitting. The second time she came over (to learn to purl) I decided she needed to come back a third time and learn to make a dish cloth - something small that she could finish. She needs to begin to enjoy the fruits of her labor or she will give up. So we made a date for her to come over again - after she got the hang of purling. The dish cloth would involve yarn overs. And it would involve reading a pattern. Both necessary lessons.

When I started digging to find my original dish cloth pattern, I couldn't locate it so I googled it. Good ol' google. (Except for that whole, "taking over the world" thing.) This is the pattern I settled on.

Funny thing about all my knitted dish cloths, I had quite a few when I married my second husband but he didn't like using them so I got rid of them. Shortly afterwards he went from drumming for church to playing guitar for church. And, doncha' know, guitarist can't do dishes!!  It wrecks their nails. So I had no examples for my student knitter.

I started working on a standard, garter-stitched dish cloth with the yarn over border, as in the pattern to which I linked, but promptly wanted to mix it up a bit. After my playing around and experimenting on the first example, it looked like this    →

Of course, as you can see, I started out in the lower corner with the standard garter stitch. Then thought, "I wonder what would happen if I used some stockinette on this," and when that worked I settled on a pattern that I would repeat. It would be as follows: (It would be the sections between the corner garter rows and the middle garter section.)

Cast on 4 stitches onto size 6 or 7 needles.
Row 1: K4
Row 2: K2, YO, K to end of row. Repeat for 2 more rows.
Row 5: *K2, YO, K1, P to last 4 stitches, K4
Next: K2, YO, K1, K to end of row. Repeat for 2 more rows.*

Repeat between *'s until you have 44 stitches.
Then begin decrease rows like this:
K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog at the beginning of each row following the same pattern as above, Knit 3 rows, purl one.
Do this until you have 4 stitches. CO and weave in ends.

                                                          *    *    *    *

But when I was finished, I decided that I didn't like the fact that there was a front and a back to a dish cloth. I mean, who ever heard of a front and back to a dish cloth?

  ← So I started another one:

And, voila', the front and the back look the same. It is simply this: do the edge stitches by knitting on both ends and then knit 2 rows, purl 2 rows.

This is the written pattern for it:
Begin as before, casting on 4 stitches.
Row 1: K 4
Row 2-5: *K2, YO, K across row
Row 6-7: K2, YO, K1, P until last 4 stitches, K4*

Repeat pattern until you have 44 stitches and then begin the decrease rows by:
K1, K2tog, YO, K1 at the beginning of every row and then follow the above pattern past the first 4 border stitches.

Not sure if that is written clearly but I hope you get the idea.

By the time my friend arrived I had the second one half way finished. They knit up so fast. And by the time my friend left, she was half way finished with her straight garter-stitched dish cloth. And she is a beginner.

So the morals of the story are: (1) knitted dish cloths are a great beginning project; (2) they are fun for non-beginners; (3) they are practical and make great gifts - even if you've moved past them years ago. :^)


  1. I'm not sure I"m buying the whole "I can't do dishes.." thing. :/ HA!

    You always use cotton yarn, right? Or no?

    1. Yes, always cotton yarn. I had a lot of Sugar 'n Cream on hand but I think there are nicer cotton yarns available - for a price. :)

    2. (I'm not buying the "I can't do dishes" line either. But he's too big to hog tie.) HA

  2. I think knitted (or crocheted) dish cloths are great. I've tried using bamboo yarn and find it really good - maybe even better than cotton.

    1. Ooooo, thank you for the tip, Gillian. I'll have to get some bamboo yarn and give it a try.


Thanks for the encouragement of your comments.