16 August 2007

Oh hey, I do remember how to knit

I made slippers:

Pocketbook Slippers

Don't look like much, do they? They turn into this when you put them on:

Pocketbook Slippers, in action

I saw a pair of these in one of the knitting groups on Flickr and loved them; they're small and clever and quick to knit, and a great way to use up odd bits of yarn. Pattern here

I also made a washcloth:

Orange Washcloth

The colour in real life is more 'Crayola' and less 'International Distress Signal' than what you see in the photo.

I'm of the opinion that washcloths (also known as dishcloths, but since I tend to use them in the bathroom rather than the kitchen, I call them washcloths) are close to perfect for summer knitting. They are small and quick, make something useful, and don't require one to have a lapful of yarn. They're cheap to make: one ball of Sugar N'Cream is enough for two basic washcloths. You can make them with cotton kitchen twine if you want. I tried making a scrubbie out of sisal twine once and don't recommend it; it's a perfectly fine scrubbie but it was too hard on the fingers to knit. Though making a sisal scrubbie on a peg frame or knitting loom or something might be easier on the paws.

I also like knitting washcloths because they're great for practicing new things. Lace. Cables. Working sideways. Working diagonally. Entrelac. (I am meaning to try out Criminy Jicket's nifty Garterlac Dishcloth). The fainthearted might quail from trying these things in large projects but washcloths are not intimidating.

And, if the new technique doesn't come out perfectly, it's no big deal. You haven't wasted hours of time or miles of expensive yarn, and the finished product is still useable. It's a washcloth.

For basic, I-need-a-washcloth-quick knitting, the Grandmother's Favorite pattern is also my favourite. Garter stitch is easy, and the diagonal working makes a neat little border.

When I'm feeling fancy, I use Chinese Waves instead of garter stitch, as I did in the orange washcloth; this gives a washcloth with a soft fluffy side and a firm nubbly side. There are other Chinese Waves dishcloths out there; my variation is just Grandmother's Favourite done in CW instead of garter. Since CW is a garter stitch variation, it's only slightly more complicated to knit than a plain garter cloth. The changes are thus:

increase rows:
row 1: k2, yo, *k1 sl1, rep from * to last 3 stitches (the yo and two border stitches of the previous row), end k 3
row 2: k2, yo, k to end of row

decrease rows:
row 1: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, *sl1, k1, rep from * to last 3 stitches, end k3
row 2: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end of row

Easy peasy. Nicer than terrycloth washcloths. Good to knit in summer.

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