Thursday, 10 March 2011

My perfect dishcloth

I think I have found it. I spent a few months back last year experimenting with a crochet  hook and knitting needles and some spare DK cotton that I had lying around. I never chanced upon a pattern that I particularly preferred, but the texture and ease of crochet definitely won over the slower growing, smoother, knitted ones. I also learnt that I favour a square cloth, not rectangular, and no more than about 8 inches wide. Finicky I know, but conditions have to be just perfect if I am even going to contemplate washing up, sigh. Perhaps that was the beginning of the end of my love affair with two pointy sticks?

Most of last year's experiments are looking a little worse for wear, but considering the abuse they have been subjected to, they are doing remarkably well. Still, many are too large or small; and I want to introduce a little colour to the kitchen sink. Last week I opened my stash, took out a ball of 4-ply cotton and began to experiment again. The stitch pattern I settled on this time is called 'spider stitch' according to part 13 of the Art of Crochet, though I remain sceptical, because to me spider stitch has always meant a filet lace background with a large spider like window motif in the centre. Whatever its actual name, worked in 4-ply on a 4mm hook it gives a nice open fabric (quick to dry) that still has some texture too it. The edges are tidy and firm, straight at the top and bottom and slightly scalloped at the edges, which means it doesn't require edging.



So, now for my own (current) favourite 7 inch(ish) dishcloth:

*Nb - these instructions are written using UK crochet terms*

Using 4-ply cotton and a 4mm hook, chain 36 stitches (or any multiple of 2 to achieve preferred size - if you must mess with perfection : ) )


Foundation row: 1 dc, 1 ch, 1 dc into 3rd chain from hook. *Miss one Ch sp, (1 dc, 1ch, 1dc) into next chain, repeat from * to last ch, 1 dc, turn. 

Next and all subsequent rows:  Ch 2, *(1 dc, 1ch, 1dc) into next ch sp, repeat from * across row to turning chain, 1 dc into back loop only of turning chain.


Continue until cloth can be folded exactly in half, corner to corner - this should give you a square dishcloth.


I am going to try the same stitch pattern out in DK to see if the results are the same, but at the moment 4 ply seems to be a winner. The texture is very soft, worked in a bamboo or soya cotton mix yarn it would make luxurious face cloths. Nice, quick gifts to work up and keep around just in case. Bring on pay day, I want some nice bright colours to experiment with.

10 comments:

  1. Oh, I like!

    I think I've got some 4ply-ish size cotton yarn in my stash - if I have, I'm going to try to give this a go this weekend!

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  2. I prefer crochet too. I'll have to give this one a try. Thanks for posting.

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  3. Glad you likey!

    I should of mentioned they are quick to make - about two hours with a few distrations. Simple enough pattern to do whilst watching TV or chatting away, too.

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  4. it never occurred to me that you're English so the instructions are english Doh! Anyways, as I presumed they were American, mine is a little more open than yours but makes up really fast! I`m not sure what the yarn is but it`s perlised and so I will have a slightly shiny dishcloth, I will try an English version one next!

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  5. Queen of String - sorry, I should have specified UK terms. It is us who are out of step with most of the rest of the world! I will add a note to the pattern now.

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  6. I,too, have been experimenting with various styles and threads for my dish cloths.I made a few with regular crochet thread and sent them to a couple of my blogger friends. One friend thought they were doilies.I vowed to send them one of my latest cloths made with a heavier thread.I have tried various stitches and think I have finally found the right one or at least a bettewr one.I do love making them.

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  7. I love making these things and will try out your pattern. Usually, I knit, but I agree that the more open crochet patterns make for quicker drying, and the texture is good, too.
    Two things: First, have you found that the cloths shrink lengthwise and make your square into a rectangle? The knitted ones do that, I know. Two, watch the colors; I made a pretty sage green one once that has been a yucky yellow gold since the first time it hit hot water and detergent.

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  8. Sorry for the late reply

    Sawn61 - doilies are due a revival anyway, I feel! Making something both useful and beautiful is a lost art.

    Dianefaith - this one doesn't seem to have changed shape noticeably, but most of my previous knitted ones did over time. I have had a few colour runs too, but I enjoy looking at the colours whilst I crochet, even if they don't last!

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