A few years ago, I started knitting dish cloths. Being a busy mom, business owner, wife, etc, I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I do enjoy knitting, and I like projects that don’t take too long.
One of the first times that I met my now mother-in-law, Barb, it was at her house. We were in the kitchen and I was helping with the dishes after dinner. She had a loosely knit dish cloth she was using, basically for everything. Washing dishes, wiping the counter clean, etc. I had never seen one before, and I thought it a bit strange. Sponges were my go-to for all of that.
Turns out that Matthew’s Aunt Jean made them and gave them to everyone as gifts. Aunt Jean was so lovely, funny, vibrant, and warm. She was at all the family gatherings, and I was always happy to see her.
Almost two decades later, I decided to pick up the torch and start knitting these dish cloths. My mom-in-law Barb swore by them, and I needed a fun and easy knitting project.
The first one I made was actually quite complicated, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a quick and easy knitting project. I won’t make that one again. I think I gave it to my niece Joelle.
I did a little poking around on the internet, and found a pattern that I really liked. It has a basket weave, much tighter than the ones that Barb used to use, and I liked the texture of it. It wasn’t too complicated. This is the pattern that Sue likes best. She says they are good and tough.
I started giving these as gifts. I’m not sure how this happened, more than two decades later. But yes, I am now the aunt that gives hand knit dishcloths as gifts. And the recipients either love them and get hooked on using them, or they use them in different ways. My sister Jane uses hers to put under a candle. She says, “It’s too pretty to use as a dishcloth!”. So I sent her an ugly one that had some mistakes in it. Not sure what she’s doing with that one.
Later, I looked into finding the pattern for the dishcloths that Aunt Jean used to make. They were a slightly looser weave, and had kind of a lacy border. My friend Kate’s mom had a pattern for it, so I got it from Kate. I wish I had gotten to meet Kate’s mom (she’s the one that made the great snickerdoodles). I think I would have really liked her.
The dishcloth with the lacy border is the one that Barb likes best. She really likes red ones, but said that they fade into a not-very-pretty color after several washes. So I looked into that as well, and figured out that the quality of the yarn really matters. Yarn made with high quality dyes. I found the best yarn of all for these dish cloths.
Now Barb tells me, very emphatically, that I make the best dishcloths. She usually repeats this a couple of times. I like the way she says it. And it is her birthday today, so happy birthday Barb! I’ve got more dishcloths coming your way.
As you can see, you will have to turn your skein of yarn into a ball for easy knitting. You can have them do this on a machine at the yarn store, or you can enlist the help of your family members, which is what I do. All of my sweet family members have helped me. There’s something kind of wonderful about the process.
Now, for those of you that can’t imagine wiping your counter clean with a hand knitted dishcloth, that it might be too pretty, or somehow too special, please wipe that idea out of your head. These are made to be used. You might just feel a little extra special while doing your chores. You might just remember the person that knit that dishcloth for you, and have some warm and fuzzy feelings. Your eyes will rest on something beautiful, you will feel the natural fibers in your hand, and you will feel loved.
And here’s the beauty of it: when they get dirty, you toss them in the laundry and they come out as good as new. And they even get a little sturdier and tougher with every wash.
Thank you, Aunt Jean.