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I thought I would start an occasional series about a handmade home. You know, all those little touches that add personality and character and…well, a coziness that handmade things just seem to emanate.
One of my favorite and most useful handmade items in my home is the humble handknit dishcloth. I started making them when I first learned to knit and they are perfect beginner projects. They are not the perfect first knitting project, because the cotton yarn the is so wonderful for dishcloths doesn’t yield and stretch the way that wool does. And that stretching makes for a bit of a nicer knitting experience. So, learn to knit with wool. But once you have even the tiniest experience knitting with wool, then grab a ball of cotton yarn and cast on a dishcloth.
(Warning: I just pulled a handful out of the kitchen drawer for these photos, most of these are three or more years old. They are a both cuter and fluffier when they are new.)
Why handknit dishcloths?
Yes, you can buy a bundle of cotton dishcloths at Target for next to nothing, but where’s the fun in that? Handknit dishcloths have a beautiful texture that is great for scrubbing and if you use cotton, then they are very absorbent, which is great for wiping down counters and picking up spills. They are very eco-friendly, because you might just reach for a cloth like this rather than a paper towel, and they last a very long time. So functionally, I find them superior to store-bought dishcloths, but that is only the beginning.
What is the best yarn?
The yarn is so inexpensive. I have knit dozens and dozens of these and my go-to is simply Sugar & Cream cotton yarn. You can buy it at any Michael’s or Jo-Anne’s (with your 40% off coupon–so cheap!), or Amazon, of course. When I first started knitting them, I picked out kinds of bright colors that went with my kitchen. No more. Here is the thing: these things need to get bleached every once in a while. And those bright colors turn ugly fast once they are faded and bleached.
So, now I am strictly a white or “natural” cotton yarn person. This is my go-to yarn.
I’ve heard that Knit Picks Dishie is very nice as well, but I’ve never felt the need to stray from Sugar & Cream.
The fun part is trying out different patterns. Sure you can find a million free patterns on Ravelry, but you can also just practice different stitch patterns to see how you like them. And you don’t even need to really worry about ripping out mistakes. Dishcloths, remember?!
I have a few favorite patterns, and I have dishcloths in all shapes and sizes. Some of the patterns I made up, and some I have found online. Here is a little round-up of some of my faves:
- Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth (this is the one I started with, on the left in the picture above)
- Petal Dishcloth (this is the flower-shaped above on the right. So fun to knit!)
- Diamond Brocade
- Diagonal Seed
- Peas in Cream
- Spa Day Face Cloth (don’t let the name fool you! A dishcloth by any other name…)
Perfect for gifts
I have knit piles of these for other people. They are the perfect hostess gift, thank you gift, and if you wrap up some nice soap inside a couple, a sweet birthday gift for a friend. There was a time that I always had one on the needles, and I am thinking that I need to go cast on on right now.
If you cast one on, let me know and tag me on Instagram! (@kristin_esser).
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