Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How I got hooked on crocheting dishcloths


I've recently been doing two things that I never thought I would: Crocheting dishcloths.

I've never had the patience to work in fine yarns and I associate crocheting in thicker yarns as ugly and old-fashioned. Very 70s. In a non-cool way. As for dishcloths - why would anyone want to put their time and effort into creating a rag to wipe up dirt?

Then someone sent me a knitted dishcloth in a swap. It was made out of the most butt-ugly white, orange and brown variegated yarn I had ever seen. I tossed it to one side on the kitchen bench and forgot about it.

Several weeks later I spilt coffee on the bench and was casting wildly around for something to wipe the mess up with. I grabbed the dishcloth and used it to absorb the excess coffee. It was really effective. It was soft and useful and absorbent. And it rinsed out easily in the sink. I tossed it in the washing machine with the towels and it came up good as new.

A light-bulb went off in my head.

I grabbed an odd ball of ugly cotton yarn from my stash and knitted up a square in moss stitch. The knitting was fine but the colours looked terrible. As a lovely absorbent dishcloth it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, however, I hated the knitting; it was boring and took forever and the cotton yarn was stiff on my fingers.

For some reason a few weeks later I was playing about with some of that yarn and a crochet hook. I've never really learnt how to crochet but I can do a basic chain and sc stitch. I looked down at my handwork and discovered that the ugly yarn actually looked a hell of a lot better crocheted up than knitted. And crocheting was certainly faster than knitting. I wasn't very good doing the turning chains at the end of each row but who cared if the edge of my dishcloth was a bit wonky? It was just going to hide in a draw and come out to wipe up coffee stains. As I finished my square, I had a brainwave. What if I did a final sc row around the entire perimeter of the square? That would neaten things up.

Two dishcloths later I had the idea of finishing my final sc circuit with a chain of about 10 stitches that could be formed into a simple ring tag, making it easy to hang my dishcloth on a hook in the kitchen.

And that was it. I had designed the perfect dishcloth for me. One that was easy and fast and fun and could be done while concentrating on an enthrawling movie or tv show.

I bought a few bags of cheap cotton yarn "odds and ends" on sale. I adjust my dishcloth size to suit the yarn available. Sometimes I do the final circuit in a different yarn. Sometimes I do several circuits. Whatever I feel like.

I still haven't perfected doing a neat turning chain, despite hours pouring over diagrams and instructions in "Crocheting for Dummies". But I am getting better and better at fudging and covering my mistakes. And I relax knowing the in the worst case scenario, it will still be fine for wiping up the kitchen floor.

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