The typical green scouring pads are what we used to use for cleaning the dishes. In the new attempt to remove disposable items from our house, specifically plastic ones, these green pads are gone. In their place are the new green scrubbers in our life.
These little knitted numbers are 100% cotton making them incredibly durable and incredibly absorbent. They work just as well as the old ones and don't scratch up all the pans. The best part is that at a price of $1.79 for 120 yards you can knit up three compared to spending over a dollar a piece on Scotch Brite. I've also found that they last longer than the plastic ones because they don't wear down to a smooth green blob like the others tend to.
The pattern is incredibly simple and even a beginning knitter can handle creating these scouring pads. As long as you can knit and purl, you're set! I use Lily's Sugar 'n' Cream yarn, but any 100 percent cotton will due. Ours are Lily 'n' Cream Lime (now known as Hot Green).
The pattern for our scouring pads was derived from one posted at Little House in the Suburbs. However, there's is a bit more on the pretty side, whereas I wanted ours to be significantly more durable. So there has been a bit of tweeking, a few more added scrubbers, some size altering, etc.
You will need 1 skein of 100% cotton yarn. 2 size 5 knitting needles and 1 double pointed size 6 needle.
At first, I was a bit nervous about the mention of a cabling needle. Cabling is significantly above my skill level and quite a bit intimidating. Not only that, I didn't even own a cabling needle. So, some testing out of options and a bit of trial and error led me to using one double pointed size 6 needle instead. However, you can use any object that is long and skinny like a knitting needle - pencil, pen, marker, hair pin, piece of doweling - but seems to work best if the object is about six inches long. All you basically need is something to hold the stitches for a bit.
The instructions on making a scrubber are below the pattern.
Cast on 29 stitches.
Knit a complete row
Purl a complete row
Knit 5 stitches, create a scrubber, knit 5 more stitches, create scrubber...continue till the end of the row.
Purl a row.
Knit 1 stitch, create a scrubber, knit 5 more stitches, create scrubber, knit 5 more, scrubber....till the end (you should be left with a one stitch remaining after the last scrubber.)
Purl a row.
Knit 5 stitches, create scrubber, knit 5 more stitches, create scrubber....continue till the end.
Purl a Row.
Knit 1 stitch, create scrubber, knit 5 more stitches, create scrubber, knit 5 more, scrubber...till the end.
Purl a row.
The pattern basically entails knitting one row, purling one row, knitting, purling, etc. On the knitted rows you alternate between knitting in five stitches before starting to make scrubbers and knitting in 1 stitch. There are always five knitted stitches between each scrubber. You should never be making scrubbers on a purled row.
Making a scrubber:
The scrubbers are places where yarn has been wrapped around three stitches and then the stitches are knitted, leaving sort of a bubble of yarn over the top.
This effect is created by transferring three stitches onto the double pointed needle. You don't need to knit them, just slide them over onto the double pointed needle.
Next wrap the yarn around the double pointed needle (and the three stitches) counter clockwise somewhere around five to seven times. Wrap the yarn so that it fits nice and snuggly, but don't try to strangle the stitches.
Now, knit the three stitches off of the double pointed needle one by one. Continue knitting five more stitches and repeat the process.
What you should have when you are done are nice rows of scrubbers alternating across your scouring pad.
Being cotton you can re-wash them over and over in the laundry whenever they begin to get ooky or smelly, and they store well in the drawer along with all the other dishcloths. Voila! Homemade scouring pads, without the plastic or the landfill!