Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Disposables: Knitted Washclothes

Paper towels are incideous things. They are so simple, right there, and easily thrown away when they get all gross with something you never want to touch or think about again. However, they are also completely overused. When potty training Guadalupe, you dang well better believe there were many paper towels used to pick up certain disgusting messes. But, when it comes to something as simple as wiping down The Barracuda before he goes to bed, before he eats a snack, before he comes to sit down at the table, before he does most anything (he is the dirtiest five year old boy) paper towels are a complete waste. The same is true for wiping down counter tops, or when eating a meal.

In come these snazzy little numbers I have begun to stack in the bathroom and probably in the kitchen as well. Made from 100 percent cotton Lily 'n' Cream Red (a.k.a. Poppy) they do the trick quite nicely and knit up in only an hour or so. The pattern is simple, just a standard stitch; no yarn overs, slip stitches, or knit forwards. Two balls of Lily 'n' Cream will yield 3 washcloths making the price just about a dollar a piece. Being so cheap and quick to knit up, if they get stained in the kitchen it isn't a big deal.

Also helpful is the slightly lacy pattern of holes and raised nubs. The nubs not only scrub off the Barracuda, the holes help when he then throws the discarded washcloth in a wet heap in the bathroom or other corner of the house. I've found they dry quickly and can be used several times in the bathtub (provided there is hanging up and no heap throwing) before I need to throw them through the washer.

There is probably a name for this stitch, but I do not know it. I call it "twice knit" since "double knit" was already taken. I stumbled upon the concept when I was making a blanket of various patterned stitches and I needed another one. After repeating the same technique for three or four rows I decided I like it. Now it is used regularly.

It is another wonderfully simple pattern. This one doesn't even require purling! All that is necessary is to knit each stitch twice. You knit it once, standardly, then place your needle back under the stitch and knit it again. Doing this over and over, creates a lacework pattern.

You need 1 skeins of 100% cotton yarn, 2 size 8 knitting needles, and about an hour.

Cast on 36 stitches.
Knit the first row.
Twice knit all remaining rows until 9 inches long (or desired length).

How to Twice Knit
First, knit your stitch normally. You can now just slide it back onto your left needle and knit it again or you can follow the pictures below. I found it faster to use the method diagrammed below, but either way works. Once the stitch has been knit from the left needle to the right needle, stick your left needle back under the stitch (the one you just knit).
Now, you should have something resembling the first image below. Next, wrap the yarn around the right needle (the bottom needle) as if you were going to knit the stitch normally

Once the yarn is wrapped around the bottom needle, hold it with your finger so you can pull the yarn under.
Now slide the bottom needle (still holding the wrapped yarn) to the front and through the stitch.
Slide the stitch off of the lower needle, and you are done. By knitting each stitch twice you are adding an extra row to each stitch before you hook them together. This is what creates the holes and gives a lacy effect.

1 thoughts:

Karen Sue said...

I want to go home and try this!! I've been doing the holey y/o to increase for a couple of years. Tried one this summer with a pattern, but on smaller needles it took me forever! I don't know that I can knit them in an hour, but I'd like to try. Are you a fast knitter? I'm just stumbling through as a beginner. Guess I'll use what I have tonight...I may even have some red to get me reved up!!
Thanks for inspiring me. I can sew for a bit tonight to start with, because I'm under a little time pressure there, then knit it is!!

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