One of the easiest ways to make a sharp decrease in your environmental impact is by making your own dish cloths! I have a whole drawer full of them, which makes it easy to have a fresh one every day! I love to knit, but I especially love to USE what I knit. The lowly rag that wipes your spilled jam or mops up crumbs from your home baked bread gets elevated to a new status when knit in funky colors in soft cushy patterns! Make a bunch, stop spending so much money on paper towels, and save the planet, one spill at a time.
How to do it
You will need:
- Basic knitting skills: cast on, bind off, knit, and purl.
- Cotton yarn, I like Lily Sugar and Creme, find it here.
- Knitting needles, I like to use size 10 for these patterns, with yarn doubled. Gauge is not terribly important as these are for cleaning, not clothing, but you do want a pretty firm fabric for the best scrubby power. If you don’t want to double your yarn, use a smaller needle and cast on more stitches as needed. These patterns are really, really flexible!
The absolute EASIEST way to make a dish cloth is to cast on any number of stitches you want, and knit every row (garter stitch) until you have a square or rectangle in a size you like, and bind off. This makes a nice firmly textured cloth that is good as a trivet or even a pot holder for a not-too-hot pot (like probably not for grabbing something out of the oven, but a hot lid or jar, sure)
To make a super scrubby cloth perfect for dirty counters, this is what I do:
To make a checkerboard pattern, start with two strands of your cotton yarn and size 10 needles. Cast on an even number of stitches in multiples of four. I like to do either 16 or 20 stitches because I like smaller scrubbers, but make it huge and have a hand towel! Your call. The checkerboard pattern is easy, in a four-row repeat.
Row 1 and 2: Knit 2, purl 2 across Row 3 and 4: Purl 2, knit 2 across.
Repeat these two rows until you have a square, usually this means ending after a row 2. I like to bind off in pattern, but do whatever you feel. Weave in ends. Done! Go swab up some mess!
The second way I like to make a quick dish cloth is in seed or moss stitch. This is probably my favorite stitch, it lays flat like garter stitch but has more textural interest. Cast on any ODD number of stitches. This is important for the pattern to look right. Every row you will K1, P1 across, and end on a K1. Repeat this row for as many rows as you want to make a square or rectangle of your choosing! Bind off in pattern, weave in ends, and wash a dish.
I love these dish cloths too because they are such a blank canvas for color play! It’s fun to mix and match, knit with two different colors together, or do stripes, half and half… The sky is really the limit. I have even dyed my own yarn (the rainbow shown above) and knit them with that. Over time the colors fade and the stitches get tighter, but the usefulness never wears off.