Today’s post, on the 10th day of Christmas, is a present for both you and me. I learned something and gained a new fiber to like, and you get a free pattern out of the deal. Sweet, eh?
I hate cotton. Hate it with the violent passion of a thousand suns on the dark side of the moon on the first day of a really bad menstrual cycle.
But I really, really love my family. And I really, really didn’t have a lot of time this Christmas. So I followed through on the threat I made last year that everyone would get cotton dishcloths for Christmas. And you know what? The rewards of diligence were many. And I didn’t hate making these at all.
I actually enjoyed making these little dudes. Probably because I made a bunch of mistakes last time I used cotton. I used really crappy cotton (Lion Cotton – don’t hate me if you love it. Lion brand makes lots of really quality stuff, but this is not it), on smaller-than recommended needles, with so many stitches they barely fit on the needle, in the even-tighter-than-usual linen stitch.
I used Lily Sugar-and-Cream in the various multi-colored shades they had. It’s actually rather cheaper than Lion Cotton, but it’s softer and not nearly as stiff. It’s still very much 100% cotton and machine washable and dryable, though these have only been blocked and not machine washed.
I like to think I am clever, so I did this cute thing: Out of each ball, I made two dishcloths, one on the bias and one not. Maybe it’s my two new fraternal-twin nephews (Who Just were born on Jan 1st!! yaaaay!), but I just think it’s fun to have pairs that are more related than identical. I felt very clever for using up all of each ball of yarn, without knitting a gauge swatch. It took a bit of math, but you can do it too. If you use my needles and yarn, you can just use my numbers, but you can use whatever yarn you want, and I’ll show you how to calculate it. Here’s how I did it, if you would like to try:
Fraternally Cute Cotton Cloths
-K = Knit
-KFB = Knit front back (knit into the front and back of the same stitch)
-YO = Yarn over (put the working yarn between the needles and over top the right needle)
-K2tog = Knit 2 together (knit two stitches together as if they were 1 stitch)
You will need:
-1 Ball of Lily Sugar & Cream, or other 50-gram ball of worsted-weight cotton of your choice
-Some needles (I used 8s, use whatever you want)
-A postage scale
-A ball winder
-A tape measure
-Your brain (or a calculator)
The first thing you need to do is weigh your yarn. I know the ball says how much it weighs, but your scale knows better – there’s a margin of error with these things. Note how much the ball weighs, then divide that number in half. If the halves are a number that your postage scale won’t give you (if it only weighs in increments of .2 oz or something), round up. Now attach one end of the ball to a ball winder, and wind half the ball. Your goal is to have the remaining yarn weigh the rounded-up-half you just calculated. Cut the yarn attaching the 2 balls.
Now you are ready to make the first washcloth: Cast on 4. Row 1: K1, KFB, KFB, K1. Row 2 (and all even rows): Knit. Row 3: K2, YO, K until 2 sttiches remain, YO, K2. Repeat these last two rows, periodically weighing your little half-ball of yarn, until that ball weighs half what it did (1/4 of the whole ball). [If you are using the same yarn and needles I did: I reached this point when I had 23 yarn over holes going up one edge.] Then switch to decreasing: continue knitting even rows, but every odd row: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K until 5 stitches remain, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K1. When you have eight stitches left, on the next odd row: K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, K2tog, K1. Knit the next row, then K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1. Bind off.
The second washcloth is even easier, though you have to do a little work to get started. Use your tape measure to determine the length of one side of the cute little diamond you just made. Now use your diamond as a swatch, measuring it on the diagonal to determine how many stitches fit into the length of one side. For your second wash cloth, cast on the odd number of stitches that is closest to that number. [If you are using the same yarn and needles as I did: Cast on 39.] K 4 rows. Then work a Holey Row: K1, then *K2tog, YO* until you’re about at the middle of the row, then K1, and *YO, K2tog* until 1 stitch remains, then K1. For the middle of the washcloth, work as follows: Row 1: Knit. Row 2: K2, YO, K2tog, K until 4 stitches remain, K2tog, YO, K2. Repeat these two rows until you’ve knit almost a whole square. Then, after a knit row, knit another Holey Row, then K 4 rows and Bind off. Ta-da!
These little Cotton Cloths are great for all kinds of things. When I heard they were ideal for washing crystal, I knew all the mums and grandmothers in my family would love them. But they also make nice face cloths because they are good for exfoliating. Geez, now I’m going to have to make myself some.