I haven’t knitted since I was a little girl. I didn’t enjoy it as I could never get the hang of tension, so it was always wiggly and uneven. It’s only just recently that I decided that wanted to try again – and if I was still no good, I’d never knit again. I wanted to knit something useful though, yet simple. On searching for different ideas, dishcloths seemed a good idea.
There seems to be a fad for knitting dishcloths, at least there is a mountain of dishcloth patterns to be found on Ravelry. I didn’t find anything I liked. They were all too fussy and ‘prettified’ for a cleaning cloth. So I decided to knit a plain stitch version. I found out that there is a ‘dishcloth yarn’ that can be bought for the job. It’s 100% cotton and is durable, absorbent and you can use bleach with it. I’ve yet to test mine out, but I’ll let you know how it goes. The dishcloth yarn I found on eBay comes in white or ecru/cream colour.
I cast on 46 stitches on 4.5mm needles (US 7) and knitted 60 rows in plain/garter stitch. Of course you can make it as big or as small as you need. It turned out surprisingly well and I managed to keep it even. Not bad after about 30 years of not knitting.
*My mum knitted dishcloths during World War Two for the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service). It was an initiative her school got involved with. She said the weave was looser than mine as they knitted them on larger needles. On doing lots of searching online, I found out that this made the dishcloth quicker to dry and easier to clean – so therefore more hygienic.
So there we are, my homemade dishcloth.
*As an addendum, my mum has sent me an email about knitting cloths:
We knitted the dishcloths in what was then called ‘spider stitch.’ It was a very open and some girls who knitted loose made it look like very open lace. Otherwise it looked really good. I think the reason why we had to make it in the spider stitch was so that it was easier for the cloth to grab any food stuff off plates, dishes, saucepans etc as we only used soft soap in the washing up water or the harsh soda. It still took a lot of hard rubbing with the cloth.
The kind of cloth you have just knitted was used for cleaning and wiping the water off the floor when we had finished scrubbing each patch. It was good for soaking up the water on the floor.
Here’s a tutorial for Spider Stitch