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14 December 2015

Doing Dishes

I'm still racing hard in the Christmas knitting derby ..... hoping to cross the finish line, even if it is at the last minute!  And although I do love knitting socks, I find I have to take a break now and then from such fine yarn and small needles, to give my thumb joints and wrists a rest.  (Thank you, Mr. Arthur Itis.)  So I've spent the past few days trying my hand at a new project:  dishcloths!  And, as with socks, I'm hooked.  They're so easy and quick, and they knit up in no time.  Diehard crochet friends report that they, too, can turn out these little gems in the blink of an eye.

Living on the farm, an hour away from a local yarn shop, I depend quite a lot on Pinterest (and blogs) for inspiration, and Ravelry or Patternfish for patterns.  I started my search for a dishcloth pattern on Ravelry, and after just minutes of searching, I found some holiday themed designs that just suited my mood.

The first one I tried was the most intricate.  (I have a bad habit of doing that.)  "Ho Ho Ho Snowman" is designed by Alli Barrett of Knitwits Heaven. It features the words "Ho ho ho," in which the O is part of a snowman.  The pattern was $2.00, and easily downloaded in PDF format.  No chart is included, but Alli provides excellent written directions -- all knit and purl, no tricky increases or decreases.  I didn't get a photo of my own work, but if you click on the pattern name above, you can go see Alli's design for yourself.  It's really cute!  I passed this one on to elder daughter.

My second one, "Moose," is designed by EZCareKnits.  The designer offers patterns both on Etsy and Ravelry.  I chose it because younger daughter loves moose (or is that mooses?), and I thought she'd like a Christmas red dishcloth with a moose on it.  With easy written instructions and nothing more complicated than knit and purl, this one came together in just a couple of hours.  Here's a photo of my project:

The colors in the photos today are a little too saturated -- the actual items are a bit less vivid , but you can clearly see the elements of the knitting!

The third dishcloth I made is for a friend who went out of her way to help younger daughter through a difficult day.  This lady is a fantastic baker, and unfortunately has had to cut back on her baking business to focus on her "day job" and on family members who are ill.  This one was also designed by Alli Barrett, and is called "Cupcake Shaped Dishcloth".  This one is a bit more tricky, as increasing and decreasing is required to obtain the proper shape; but an intermediate, or even advanced beginner knitter, can easily accomplish it. This one, like the others, features a written pattern (no charts).  I have to admit, I fiddled with the pattern and added some duplicate stitching to make the cherry on top red; when you view the pattern, you'll see that the cherry is suggested with purl stitches, and is the same color as the frosting.  This pattern was $2.00, and well worth it.  The end result is charming.

Last night, I began another dishcloth by Louise Sarrazin, called "Christmas Tree II".  I'm doing this one in a Christmas green color, and haven't decided to whom I'll gift it yet.  I have no photos, but if you click on the pattern name, you can go see the pattern at the designer's Ravelry storefront.  The pattern was $1.50.

Now, the technical details.  For all the dishcloths, I used 100% cotton yarn in a worsted weight.  I already had some "Dishie" yarn by Knit Picks, and to that I added some Sugar & Cream from Walmart.  Dishie is the more expensive of the two, but I honestly like it better.  The yarn twist is tighter and less likely to separate, and the "hand" of the yarn is softer and more pleasing to work with.  That said, I didn't have any difficulty integrating the different brands, as I did in the cupcake cloth.  They played together nicely. ;)  I used a 4.5 mm needle for my first three projects; however, the one I'm doing now is on 3.75 mm needles, and I like the tight gauge much better.  It shows off the shadow knitting to greater effect, in my opinion.

So there you have it, my foray into dishcloths!  I foresee myself doing a lot more of these in the future.  They're quick, easy, fun, and handy to have on hand for impromptu gifting.  But now, having spent an hour chatting with you, it's time to get back to socks ............
PS.  I'm putting links to these pattern designers in my Links list, in case you'd like to go see what else is on offer!

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