Friday, March 2, 2012

Easy Homemade Washcloths

Something I'm rather fond of doing is to knit up my own washcloths. I use them in the kitchen, to wipe up spills and clean off the grandkids' faces and hands; and in the shower they can't be beat because they gently exfoliate my skin while leaving it feeling soft and smooth. Plus, I love the notion that I made them myself. It really appeals to the old-fashioned spirit that's me.

I use various yarns--here are several inexpensive suggestions:
  • Pisgah's Peaches and Creme
  • Lily's Sugar'n Cream
  • KnitPicks' Cotlin or Dishie
These are washable worsted-weight cotton yarns (Cotlin is a washable cotton/linen blend and the linen makes this yarn wear like iron) and they can last through many machine launderings. If you choose to bleach them, however, the colors won't last, and in fact, even regular washings tend to make them look "well used" pretty quickly. But I make these cloths to be used, so that doesn't bother me in the least. Further, these washcloths take such a small amount of yarn and they knit up so quickly that I've found it's not a problem to simply knit up yet another one when I have a few spare hours. We are talking mindless knitting here, so these make excellent take-along projects to have on the go at all times. Or, say, after a long and hectic day when your brain won't function but you're still too wired to go directly to bed...this knitting will calm and relax you, and it's pretty hard to make a mistake.

So here's how I start:

With a #4 needle, I cast on 40 stitches. You can cast on any number you would like, but 40 seems to work for me size-wise. Then, I knit every row back and forth (garter stitch) until the washcloth is square. At this point my washcloth measures around 8 inches, but again, exact measurements aren't crucial. When I have a square fabric, I cast off.

Next, I fish out a crochet hook and some contrasting yarn. I use a size I or J hook, but you can use whatever seems to work well for you and whatever reasonably sized hook you have in your stash. You'll need the hook to be big enough to easily catch the yarn, but not so big that it's difficult to push through the fabric when you're making stitches.

I like to crochet a scalloped edge all the way around the border of the cloth and here's how I do that:

Starting a bit away from one of the corners I work around the entire perimeter of the washcloth in single crochet. When that's completed, I start a scalloped border by chaining into the first stitch on my new row. Then I skip one stitch and double crochet three times in the next stitch. *Skip a stitch, slip stitch in next stitch, skip a stitch, double crochet three times in next stitch*, etc. (Just keep doing what's between the *s above and that's all there is to it. Easy as pie!) When I get around to the beginning, I will often have to fudge things in order for the stitches to come out more or less even, but that's easy to do and the scallops are forgiving. And, let's face it, this is just a washcloth--to be used and washed and used again. It's not heirloom quality--it's a workhorse. In my book, that means I don't sweat it if things turn out less than perfect.

With not too much effort, my washcloth is ready to use:

Love it! And I hope you make one and find you love them too. Maybe before you know it, you'll have an entire drawer full of homemade washcloths..and then you'll have to turn your attention to knitting kitchen towels next. They're no harder; simply bigger.

Happy washing!

1 comment:

  1. My knitting skills are sadly lacking, but Sarah, my daughter, knits these every chance she gets. I love the scalloped border. (Maybe a good Mother's Day gift Sarah ;)