Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Knit a Dish or Wash Cloth

Sunday Afternoon Dish Cloth - Get the pattern below!

Experienced knitters may not think much about how to do a simple project, like a dish or wash cloth.  New knitters, however, probably don't know where to start.  I know I didn't.  So, if you are a new knitter, here is a tutorial for you.  If you aren't a new knitter, then here is a quick and easy project if you need a little instant gratification.

There are really no rules for knitting a dish or wash cloth - you can use whatever stitch pattern you like, any size needles, make it big or small, it's all up to you.  You don't even need to make a gauge swatch or block the finished cloth.  I like to make dish cloths to get familiar with new stitch patterns, or just make it up as I go.

There are many yarns to choose from: Lily Sugar and Cream, Lion Brand Cotton Ease, Bernat Cotton Tots, Lion Brand Baby's First, Patons Grace to name a few.  If you are just going to be using your cloth to do dishes, I recommend using a cheaper cotton such as the Sugar and Cream.  You can use the same for a wash cloth, of course, but if you'd like to pamper yourself then use perhaps the Patons Grace or another nicer cotton yarn.

I usually use the needle size called for on the ball band; if you would like a denser, tighter fabric then try a smaller needle, and a larger needle if you'd like a less dense fabric.  Of course, you can always do a small swatch in the yarn you like with different needle sizes to see what results each gives you.

Now, pick a stitch pattern.  There are many to be found on the web, or if you happen to have stitch pattern books, grab a cup of tea ( or something stronger ), sit back, and spend time looking through them.  Maybe there is a stitch you like but have been afraid to try - now is the perfect time to give it a whirl!  Since cloths are so small, there won't be much wasted time if you end up not liking it and can easily frog it and try something else.

Once you have your stitch pattern, you are ready to cast on.  Use any cast on you like.  I like to add borders on my cloths - you do not need one, but if you are going to do a stocking stitch fabric, a border will keep the edges from curling.  I usually like to knit the first 2-4 rows in seed stitch, and then keep a 4 stitch border on each side in seed stitch.  A simple garter stitch border will also do nicely.   Depending on which yarn and needle size you choose, the number of stitches cast on will vary.  In the Sugar and Cream yarn, 40-45 stitches gives me a large sized cloth; 30-35 makes a cloth that is a bit smaller and is just a tad bigger than my hand and feels most comfortable to me.  I cast on depending on what mood I am in that day.

When the cloth is as long as you want it to be, bind off.  If you have added a border, knit as many rows on the top as you did along the bottom edge and then bind off.  You can use any bind off you like, and then weave in the ends.  You can also make a loop to hang the cloth if you wish.  Just cut an extra long tail, about 6 inches or so (better to have too much than not enough), and then single crochet to the end of the tail and attach it to the corner of the cloth.

Now go use and enjoy your new cloth!

Here are some links to stitch patterns:
The Weekly Stitch
Knitting Pattern Central

If you aren't quite ready to design your own, you can find patterns at the links below:
Knitting Pattern Central
Dish and Wash Cloth Mania
Knits by Rachel

I made the cloth in the picture in about an hour, on a Sunday afternoon, so that is the name I chose for it.  This is a smallish cloth - I find it easier to do dishes with something that is relatively the same size as my hand, as opposed to having a lot of extra cloth flopping around. You can view and download a PDF the pattern for the cloth I make in the video here:

1 Ball cotton yarn РI used Peaches and Cr̬me

US size 6 needles

Finished cloth measures appx. 6-1/4 x 5-1/2 inches

Gauge is not important here

Cast on 30 stitches

Row 1: *k1, p1
Row 2: *p1, k1
Row 3: [k1, p1, k1, p1] k6, p10, k6 [k1, p1, k1, p1]
Row 4: [p1, k1, p1, k1] p6, k10, p6 [p1, k1, p1, k1]

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 eight more times.

Row 13: [k1, p1, k1, p1] p6, k10, p6 [k1, p1, k1, p1]
Row 14: [p1, k1, p1, k1] k6, p10, k6 [p1, k1, p1, k1]

Repeat Rows 13 and 14 eight more times.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 nine times.

Work Rows 1 and 2 one more, bind off.

And here is the video tutorial on how to knit a dish or wash cloth.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Twice Knit Knitting

Double Shot of Caffeine Mug Rug (Instructions below)

Twice Knit Knitting is a type of Double Knitting.  I just recently came across this technique; it is briefly mentioned in The Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook.  I was immediately intrigued, and an amazon search turned up Twice-knit knitting, by Lee Gilchrist.  This is not a new book, however apparently not a technique that is widely used these days.  I only found one or two blog references in my search for information.  

I love it!  Below are just the very basics of Twice Knit Knitting.  There is a special cast on and bind off used for this technique.  I recommend ordering the book if you would like to learn a bit more about Twice Knit Knitting.  The book, as I said, is not new; the cast on and bind off are explained, along with the types of stitches created and there are a number of patterns.  Some of the pictures gave me a good chuckle :0)

In Twice Knit Knitting, you are working each stitch twice.  You might think this uses more yarn and time, but it does not.  The act of working each stitch twice interlocks the stitches so that they actually do not unravel!  You can use bigger needles and finer yarn for quick knits; the smaller the needle, the more dense your fabric will be.  A very dense fabric is great for pot holders or hot pads, garments should be knit with larger needles so the fabric will have some drape to it.  As with any knitting, swatching is the best way to find out if you like the way the fabric looks and feels using a particular yarn and needle size.

Double Knit On:
This is your cast on - you need two stitches to start
The book instructs you to begin with a slip knot, then using the knitted cast on method, cast on one more stitch.  I do not like slip knots - so I cast on two stitches using the long tail method.  

Then, to cast on additional stitches, you are going to do a 'modified' knitted cast on.  Always work with the first two stitches on the left needle.   
Begin with two stitches

Knit into both stitches to make the 3rd stitch
The third stitch before placing it on the left needle

To make the 4th stitch, you will again knit into the first two stitches on the left needle
Always work with the first two stitches on the left needle to make the next stitch

Double Front Knit:

To work a row of knit stitches, as with the cast on, you will always be working with the first two stitches on the left needle.  The big thing to remember now is that you do NOT want to drop both stitches from your left needle - you will only be dropping the first stitch.  Leave your second stitch on the left needle so you can work it again with the third stitch.  Remember, in Twice Knit Knitting, each stitch is worked twice!

The first double knit front stitch has been made.  The new stitch is on the right needle; you can see the loop of yarn between the needles - that is the first stitch from the left needle.  The second stitch remains on the left needle.

In this picture, you can see I have worked the first two stitches on the left needle and created a second stitch on the right needle.  The first stitch has not yet been dropped from the left needle.

I have now dropped the first stitch from the left needle - it is the loop of yarn between the needles

Continue working the next two stitches on the left needle, dropping only the first stitch each time until you come to the end of the row.
When you come to the last two stitches, work them together as normal, dropping the first stitch, and then simply knit the last stitch by itself.

Double Purl:
To work a row of purl stitches, you again will be purling the first two stitches on the left needle together, dropping only the first stitch from the left needle.

Making the Double Purl stitch
The newly made stitch on the right needle, before the first stitch has been dropped from the left needle            

Now the first stitch has been dropped from the left needle, and I am ready to now make the second double purl stitch

Binding Off for Twice Knit Knitting:
This works much the way a standard knitted bind off works, with the exception that you will always have 3 stitches on the right needle, and will be lifting the first stitch over 2, instead of 1.  So, work  three stitches (the bind off stitches are worked like double front knit stitches - knit the first two stitches from the left needle, drop the first stitch only, etc.), and then begin to bind off:
With three stitches on the right needle, I am ready to bind off my first stitch

Pick up the first stitch, pass it over  the second and third stitches

The first stitch has now been passed over the second and third.  Work another stitch from the left needle, then pass the first stitch on the right needle over the second and third.  Continue binding off in this manner until you reach the last three stitches.

This picture shows the last three stitches to be bound off.  Pass the first stitch over the second and third as normal

You will be left with only two stitches to bind off.  Simply pass the first stitch over the second, leaving you with one stitch on the right needle

Treat the last stitch as you would any final bind off stitch.  Cut the yarn, pull it through, and weave in your ends.

And there you have a tutorial on Twice Knit Knitting!  I do recommend purchasing the book; you will learn to do the Double Back Knit Stitch, along with the stitches created with this technique: Silhouette Stitch, Herringbone Stitch, Braid Stitch, and Graphic Stitch.  Apparently you don't even need to bind off if you don't want to, because the stitches won't unravel.  Also, you are supposed to be able to cut your finished piece as you would a regular piece of fabric.  I have not yet figured out how to do this, and don't see detailed instructions in the book.  I tested the cutting of fabric on a small piece, only to have it unravel!  So, while there is obviously a particular way this has to be done, I am not aware of it at this point.

If you would like to make yourself the Double Shot of Caffeine Mug Rug, here is the "pattern":

You will need either Sugar and Cream or Peaches and Creme Cotton yarn and US size 10.5 needles

Cast on 28 stitches
Work 4 Rows of Double Front Knit Stitches
Then work alternating rows of Double Front Knit and Double Purl for desired length (mine is 3.5 inches)
Next, work 4 more Rows of Double Front Knit Stitches
Bind off.  For the fringe, cut 4 inch pieces of yarn.  I used two strands in each of my cast on and bind off stitches, but you can use more strands and/or space them out along the edges to suit your taste.  Trim if you like, or leave the fringe wild and crazy!

Also, here is a video demonstrating the Double Knit On, Double Front Knit, Double Purl, and binding off.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October/November 2011 Knitting Books

Haven't done this in a while - here are a few of the books you can find out this month and next!


Knits Extraordinaire
 - by Lena Maikon

-by Kara Gott Warner

-by Kari Cornell, Sue Flanders, Janine Kosel

-by Sharon Turner    **Just a note on this one.  I flipped through this in the store a week or so ago, and was excited when I first saw it because I love stitch pattern books.  My excitement waned as I saw the stitches though.  I didn't see any "new" stitches; practically all of them I have seen in my other books.  I have all of the Harmony Guides, the first two Walker Treasuries, Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, Essential Stitch Collection, among others (you can check them out in myLibrarything in the left sidebar).  If you have several stitch pattern books, I would pass on this one.  You probably already have these stitches in there, or they can be found online.  If you only own one or two stitch books, or none at all, then you might enjoy this one.

-by Iris Schreier

-by Sue Pearce

-by Lisa Shroyer

-by Barbara Sander

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Breast Cancer Knitting

I can't believe I forgot to post about this this year!  I was in Michaels this morning, and saw the Bernat set up with their pink yarn and patterns, and it reminded me.

Go to the Bernat website for their patterns and yarns for breast cancer awareness knitting.  Lots of nice stuff.

Here are a few more links with patterns:

Classic Elite Yarns -- this is for 2010, it doesn't look like they did anything for 2011 that I could find

Pink Ribbon Scarf

Breast Cancer Awareness Washcloth

Breast Cancer Prayer Shawl

Tit Bits - designed by Beryl Tsang, found at knitty

Breast Cancer Support Scarf - from Knitting Daily

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Podcast Episode 13

Hi knitters!  Here is info on what I talked about in this episode.  You can find links to all of the magazines I show in the 'Magazines' tab at the top of the blog.


I did not have Knit Simple or Knit n Style on hand, but those issues are also currently available right now.

The Knitter
Knitting Magazine
Simply Knitting
Knitter's Magazine
Filati Handknitting
Cozy Winter Knits - Special issue from Knitting Today!
Love of Knitting - Special holiday issue
Knitting Traditions - from Interweave
Knit.Wear - Also from Interweave

My latest purchase of Lucy Neatby DVD's

Sock Techniques 1 (Lucy Neatby: A Knitter's Companion)

And, the beautiful yarn, Silky Merino by Malabrigo, which I got from Jimmy Beans Wool.  Love this yarn, and can't wait to make my vest!

Finally, if you would like the pattern for Lemon Seed Lace, please visit my stitch blog,

That's going to wrap it up for now, or should I say, this is the Bind Off!  Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Adding Fringe

Hi all!  I am in the process of adding fringe to a little project I've been working on, and thought I'd share how to do it, incase you have never played around with fringe before.  Here is the video.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween Knitting Patterns and Stuff

It is that time of year again... my favorite time.  October, autumn... and Halloween!  Here are a few knitting patterns for your perusal.

Halloween Cat Dishcloth - from One Crafty Mama

Halloween Witch Doll - from Purl Soho

Happy Halloween Mitts - from Home Makers Insanity

Hallowig - from Knitty

Lacy Jack-O-Lantern Dishcloth - from Coats and Clark

There are oodles of other patterns out there, just Google or Bing away and you will find them.

Also, I will once again be watching my favorite Halloween movie several times between now and Halloween.

This is a favorite of my sister and I - for some reason we just love it and must watch every October.  It's fun and something you can watch with the kiddies, if you have any.

I think I mentioned last year, I have some black and orange Sugar n Cream floating around in my stash somewhere.  I never was able to track that down, otherwise I would have my own pattern posted here.  I will have to check again and if I find it see if I can come up with something quick.

I've been making an effort to finish up my UFO's that are lying around.  If you follow me on facebook, you may know that I finally joined the sleeves to my sweater a couple weekends ago!  Yay!  It was a lot less scary and much easier than I anticipated.  So, I now only have about 8 inches or so and it will be done!  I am a little apprehensive about doing the collar for some reason, but I am sure that will be like the sleeve fear - easier than expected!

I've also been thinking about breaking out the Kool-Aid and dying some yarn.  I have some Lion Brand Fisherman Wool that I'd like to dye some autumn colors - maybe brown, dark orange and orange-red.  I'd like to do that this coming weekend, if I have time.  I may need to do a Kool-Aid run to make sure I have enough of the flavors I need to get these colors.  I would like to try and get some deeper, richer colors this time than I have in the past.  I've heard coffee or tea will make a nice brown - I may have to do that in conjunction with the Kool-Aid.  Either way, I am excited - I love dying yarn!!

Well, fellow knitters, I am going to go and do some work on that sweater!  Here are a few pictures of where I am.  I will certainly be posting pictures once it's complete.  Hopefully by the end of this month!
This is the quite the order I wanted the pictures posted, but blogger is not cooperating and letting me arrange them how I'd like.  Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Sleeves with the underarm stitches on waste yarn to be seamed with the body later

Close up of the sleeve and body joined,  with the reserved stitches waiting to be seamed up later

Here is the body, with a portion of stitches reserved to be seamed with  the underarm of the sleeves later

This is just a close up of the body with the reserved stitches

This is a few rows after the sleeves have been joined