Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dishcloths: The Perfect Beginning Knitter Project

I am out of town this weekend, but I wrote most of this post before I left, and am posting it from my Mom's in Birmingham. I am so excited to talk about all of the first knitting projects that I am working on! In my last post I shared with you my very first completed knitting project: A dishcloth. The pattern that I use for my dishcloths is "Grandmother's Favorite," and can be found all over the web and on Ravelry.
Grandmother's Favorite: An overview of a Really Simple Pattern

(Please bear with me as I am still learning all the correct knitting lingo.)
This pattern calls for size 6 or 7 needles. You start out by casting on 4 stitches, knit 4 stitches, and then on each following row you knit 2 stiches, do a yarn over in order to increase (which also makes a pretty eyelet hole), and then knit the rest of the row. How simple! The pattern calls for you to do so until you have increased up to 44 stitches on your needles. Then on the next row you knit 1 stitch, knit the next two stitches together in order to decrease 1 stitch, do a yarn over to increase 1 stitch, and then knit the next two stitches together in order to decrease 1 stitch.
Now, while you are decreasing 2 stitches (one stitch less in the row per "knit together"), you also increase 1 stitch when you do the yarn over, so that in all you only lose 1 stitch in the row. (I think that if you did it differently, such as just knitting two together one time in order to lose one stitch, that you wouldn't get the little eylet hole that the yarn over gives you, so the edge of the second half of the dishcloth wouldn't match because it wouldn't have the eyelet hole from the yarn over.)
Okay, that was a mouthfull, but hopefully made sense. :)
Beginner's will learn a lot with this simple pattern.
What's really neat about this pattern, is that, like my friend Sarah said in a comment on my last post, you learn so much while doing it. You learn how to knit, how to increase by doing a "yarn over;" and how to decrease, by knitting two stitches together. Of course, there is also casting on and binding off.
The only basic that you don't learn with this pattern is the "purl" stitch. I think that this may be a plus, though, because if you are a beginner, it is good to keep it simple. Like I said in previous posts, I have done knitting before, but just never got into it, and never progressed. I was able to get some good, though sporadic, experience with the simple knit and purl stitch, however. But even for me, already knowing the basic two stitches, it was great to just practice the knit stitch without having to also purl. It is nice to just take one step at a time...get used to one thing at a time. It makes thing simpler and less intimidating, too.
Six Reasons the Dishcloth is the Perfect Beginner's Project

I believe the "Grandmother's Favorite" Dishcloth pattern is the perfect beginner's project for six reasons:
1. It is Simple and Easy. (Even a beginner can memorize the pattern and won't get confused. It is not complicated.)
2. It is Quick. (For me, one of my personal discouragements that kept me from getting intoknitting was the length of time it takes to finish a project. This quick project solved thatproblem for me. Depending on the time devoted to knitting, you can finish this in 1-4 days the first time tried, and of course you get faster over time.)
3. You Learn a Lot. (As mentioned above.)

4. It is Not Intimidating. (Because this is a small project, and doesn't take a long time to make, it is not "scary" to think about making a mistake. If you do make a mistake, then it is reassuring that it is "only a dishcloth." You can rip it out and not feel like you are ripping out a lot of work. Also, since it is "only a dishcloth" you can live with the mistake if it is not too bad, and not feel like it is a big deal. There is no reason to fear making mistakes with this or any other knitting project really, and it really takes the pressure off.)
5. It is Fun! (These dishcloths are fun to make, not only because of the above 4 reasons, but also because you get to practice knitting! You can make a quick and easy knitted project that you will love to give away or keep to use yourself. They are great as a dishcloth or wash cloth, and they are pretty too.)

6. It is Easy to Modify. (My Mom taught me how to make these, and she knits up to 55 stitches before decreasing her rows, instead of the 44 that the pattern calls for. I used to think, wow, what a variation! That was until I found out about all the other variations that people do with this pattern. Some variations include: Making different size dishcloths, just using different size needles and number of stitches (thanks Mom and Lisa!), making blankets, making shawls, and more. All you have to do is vary the needle size and the number of stitches, and you can make all kinds of things. Of course, you can also change the type of yarn and make additional changes to the pattern as you desire. Your options are almost endlesss. Just let your creativity take over!)

Here is an example of a modification/variation on the pattern. This is one of my Ravelry friends' projects. (Her name is Lisa.) It is a shawl that she made based on the "Grandmother's Favorite" pattern. Isn't it beautiful!?
Lisa's Shawl:

My Projects So far with the "Grandmother's Favorite" Pattern
I've already shown you my first dishcloth and first completed knitted project:

I knitted this with Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn, in red and white. I used size 6 bamboo needles (that my Mom gave me) and knitted to 46 stitches before decreasing. For some reason it turned out looking kite shaped instead of an exact square. I think this may be because I knitted a little looser the second half of the dishcloth. (My ends aren't woven in yet. My Mom is going to show me how to do that this weekend.)

After completing that dischloth, I knitted the same pattern again, with the same type of yarn, but in a different color: Potpourri Ombre. I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn, as it is a natural color with specks of color here and there. It was very soothing, and made me feel like I was knitting with yarn from a time gone by. I did make several mistakes in this dishcloth, though I am not completely sure what I did wrong. Hopefully when I see my Mom this weekend she can tell me. (If you are reading this and know, please write a comment and let me know your thoughts! You can see it on the bottom edge of this picture: The eyelets are going along horizontally, and then all of a sudden they move up some and then continue going on horizontally again. Weird! My guess is that I made a mistake in decreasing or increasing, but I really don't know.)

The next dischloth I made is actually a mini wash cloth for my cousin-in-law's baby boy, who will be coming along any time now. I used Sugarn n' Cream in a light green color. (Her nursery is in green, red, and yellow, with lions, monkeys, and camels). It came out well, and was super quick to make. I increased until 30 stitches on a size 6 needle.
Next, I knitted the full-sized dishcloth in blue and white striped Sugar 'n Cream yarn, increasing to the pattern's 44 stitches, on size 6 needles. This is my best dishcloth yet! I will be giving this to my husband's Grandmother Mary for Christmas. She loves blue! I loved knitting with this color yarn! It reminded me of being in a beach house, which is decorated in white, with big paned windows to the view of the sea. Outside you can see the beautiful ocean with blue/green waves, and a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds. The sand outside is decadent with sea water moistening it under your toes. I am also very comfy in cotton capris and sun hat. LOL! I really got into this yarn. I think knitting really has become an escape for me! :D

My Current Project
Now that I have made several of the "perfect beginner dishcloth," I am trying something new. I am making a dishcloth that includes the purl stitch, and shows a picture on it when you are done. I am making a dishcloth with a monkey on it (also for my cousin-in-law's nursery.) I am really excited about it. I am knitting on size 6 needles (of course!) and am using sugar 'n cream cotton (of course!) in yellow. At first my purl stitch was really really slow. After working on this pattern, though, I have noticed that my speed at purling is starting to pick up.

The pattern is by Lisa Millan and I got it from . I was specifically looking for a lion, monkey, and camel. I bought both the lion and monkey patterns that she had, which were $2 a piece. This seems really reasonable to me. A pattern is something that you can use over and over again, afterall. She also has a selection of free patterns, as well.
Other great dishcloth patterns can be found at . Some of these are free, but some are also priced at $2. Rachel also has a great yahoo group that you can join, where women KAL (Knit ALong). Both Lisa and Rachel have some really adorable dishcloths for you to choose from!
Here is my monkey washcloth so far (It's hard to make out the monkey right now):

Dishcloths and Wash Cloths are great for everyone to try.

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced knitting artist and designer, knitting a dishcloth can be an enjoyable knitting project. It is nice to relax, and start a quick project as a gift for someone in need of cheering up or for a special event, or even just for fun to use in your own kitchen or bath. Relax, pull out your needles and cotton yarn, and knit away to whatever destination your mind takes you to. I am planning on visiting my beach again, but then again, I really prefer the mountains of the Old Smokeys...
Have a great weekend!



  1. oh my gosh, how much fun! You're whipping out those dish clothes now, aren't cha? I do agree that they are totally addictive for all the reasons you mentioned. I've just bought some new Knit Picks CotLin, made of cotton and linen to do some different patterns. Wish me luck! :)

  2. I hope it goes well! What are you going to make? My Mom showed me Knit Picks the other day, and I am excited to order from them sometime in the future.
    Happy Knitting!

  3. I crocheted a baby blanket in Sugar n' Cream cotton, I love the feel of this yarn and it is perfect for a baby blanket.

  4. I love Sugar 'n Cream, too. It is so versatile. Cotton is great to work with, too. If I have to rip some rows out, I don't have to worry as much with losing all the stitches. I just picked up an old wool project on metal needles that I never finished, and it is slipping all over the place. I made so many mistakes in it last night, that I have to go to the knitting shop today to see if I can get some help. I think cotton and bamboo needles are great for beginners, like me. :)