Making crochet washcloth and dishcloth
Even though the weather is still freezing in New York, spring is not that far away. Time to change to cotton yarn and brighter pastel colors. I have heard of Dish Cloth a lot in crochet and knitting world, but never tried to make one, until now.
Dish cloth, Wash cloth, or Spa cloth are basically the same thing. They are usually made of pure cotton or cotton blend fiber. Cotton absorbs water well, cleans skin or dish well, and is environmental friendly. I used to think why bother making pretty cloth and use it to wash dirty dishes. Does it work better than store bought product? Does it worth the effort? After I start making one, I can not stop making more.
There are so many beautiful colors for cotton yarns, mostly machine washable and dry-able. I started with a worsted weight pure cotton yarn and a simple crocheted circle with a loop to hang. It is the size of my palm and great for washing faces. My 8 years old daughter saw it and she wanted one, so I crocheted a heart shaped pink and green one. Now she really enjoys washing her face. Then my 2 year old son saw it and asked for one, so I made him a bear head shape. He is overjoyed. And of course I have to try new stitches for "dish cloth". So I practice the "star stitch" (here is a link to Star stitch Youtube video). It turns out very interesting with multi colors.
There are many reasons to make your dish cloth or wash cloth:
First, they are easy and quick to make. You don't need advanced skills, just use the basic stitches and it will be functional. It can be done in a couple of hours.
Second, any size and shape will work. You can custom it anyway you like to match your decor or style.
Third, it only takes small amount of yarn. You can use leftover yarns, or combine different yarns for stash busting project.
Fourth, experiment with new stitches and techniques. It's a quick practice before committing to bigger project. Fun to try out new stitches too.
Fifth, more environmental friendly than store bought product. Less shopping, more self reliance.
Sixth, very meditative to just sit down and crochet or knit something without pattern. Add a row of chain stitches to make a loop for hang drying, add an outline and it is done.
Challenges and tips
1. Cotton yarns are rougher and more stiff compared to wool based yarns. It is a little harder to slide over wood or bamboo needles. The trick is to use metal hook or needles. Makes a big difference to me.
2. Because of the nature of cotton yarn, it is harder to hide the yarn ends. When weaving in the yarn ends, try to make a logical pattern so it does not look too obvious. For example, I weave in yarn end in a circle for circular washcloth. Or split the yarn end and weave into 2 directions to reduce the bulk.
3. Cotton absorbs water so well that it takes longer to dry. It is a good idea to use cotton / acrylic blend yarn for quicker drying, and softer to crochet or knit. Knitpicks.com has some nice and inexpensive cotton blend yarns.
Crochet pattern for basic circle
Here is a basic crocheted flat circle pattern. There are many ways to crochet a circle and here is a basic one I like.
To start a circle without leaving a hole in the middle. There is a method called Magic ring or Magic loop. There are a lot of tutorials on Youtube if you are interested. But I find the following pattern works as well to close the hole in the middle of circle.
1. Chain 2 stitches.
2. Make 6 single crochet stitches in the second chain from the hook. Place marker to indicate beginning of each round (move marker up each round). Pull the yarn end tight to close the hole in the middle of circle.
3. 2 single crochet in each single crochet stitches, repeat all around.
4. (single crochet in the next single crochet, 2 single crochet in the next single crochet)*, repeat * all around.
5. (single crochet in the next 2 single crochet, 2 single crochet in the next single crochet)*, repeat * all around.
6 for every new round, continue adding one more single crochet stitches before the 2 single crochet in one single crochet stitches, until you reach the desired size.
7. Slip stitch into the next stitch and fasten off.
Crocheting your own wash cloth or dish cloth does take some effort and time, but the luxury of using handmade product, customizing to your own color, shape and pattern is priceless.