Thursday, June 7, 2012

Knitted Dishcloths


I don’t have a dishwasher, and I always say it’s because we don’t have any room for one in our little kitchen, but the truth is, I really don’t want a dishwasher.  Now, definitely there are times when I wish I could just throw those scrambled egg pans behind a door and magically they would emerge sparkling and new, but mostly not.  Mostly, I kind of enjoy filling the sink and washing them by hand.  Of course, after twenty-plus years of this, my hands are utterly destroyed.  The kids do their share, too; in fact I recently wrote “WASH YOUR DISHES!” on a chalkboard on the refrigerator, as a gentle reminder to them about those late-night nacho pans, and they invented a new version of Rock, Paper, Scissors, based on their favorite TV show, as a means to decide whose turn it is, which is the most hilarious thing ever.  I wish you could see it, you’d fall over. 


I guess sometimes it’s a little bit onerous to wash dishes by hand.  It can be meditative and nice in the sudsy warm water, but it can also be a pain, so I make pretty dishcloths.  I think it sweetens that regular chore a little, and I try not to care when I find one all shredded up in the garbage disposal because someone let it go down the drain.  I try to see that as an opportunity to make more.  Yeah.  That’s it. 


The pattern is “Grandma’s Fan Dishcloth” from this book, and it’s really just a knitted doily, which I can’t believe I never thought of before.  Washing the dishes with a doily!  Why not? 


It’s pretty, and it’s useful, and it’s interesting to make, too.  Win.


  1. This is lovely!!!

    Luv Jane XX

  2. Speaking from bitter experience dishwashers HATE scrambled egg, cooked cheese and so i take to half washing everything anyway. I also quite like washing up but I don't like using a bowl and wash everything extravagently under a running, scorching hot tap so for me dishwasher washing up is a cheaper more environmentally sound choice! Did you use cotton for the cloths? Lily. xxx

    1. I once saw an episode of Rachael Ray where an expert totally tried to persuade a guy that a dishwasher used fewer natural resources than one sink full of soapy water, and I thought it was such a load of I see how it could be possible! I never stop learning, never.

      I used Tahki Cotton and some kind of Berrocco cotton, both fingering weight and US 3 needles. :)

  3. Such a joke to think egg pots could be clean after a dishwasher cycle!! Bet defense for eggs is a cold water soak and then tackling them by hand.... I've a dishwasher and always do egg pots and plates by hand!!! Not much of a knotter these days but I do crochet and these are inspiringly beautiful... was working on pot holders for my sister just a few weeks back and think I will make some of these for us both! SO VERY ATTRACTIVE AND COMPELLING!

  4. yes, i think it's lovely to wash dishes with such beauties!!!
    xxxxx Alessandra

  5. I have a dishwasher and never use it. I like to do dishes by hand. I make my dishcloths, and love them too. Yours is so pretty!!
    Hey, just saw your quilt in previous post. Oh so yummy. I love to use wool batt!!!

  6. What a surprise to see your lovely new header. My kids are out of school for the summer - I came home from work yesterday to find the sink overloaded with all the dishes they had used for all the food they had eaten. Your knitted cloths are lovely. Best wishes, Tammy

  7. Oh, how beautiful the colors are!
    What material did you use? I actually don't knit, but I could crochet some…

    Best wishes,


  8. rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock?? =) (Big Bang geek here lol)

    my "dishwasher" is my own two hands as well, for mostly the same reasons, in fact.

    Avon's Silicone Glove hand lotion is a wunderkind on keeping hands from becoming shriveled up remnants of their former loveliness!!

    I can't say as I would be *brave* enough to use something so pretty for such a dirty job

    1. LOL! We love that show at my house, and that's probably where they got the idea to invent a version based on "Avatar: The Last Airbender". The move for "water" is my favorite, and is best demonstrated while standing--so hilarious. And then they can never remember what defeats what and have to consult a chart...dang, it's funny. :)

  9. In my late teens, a family friend gave me a knitted dishcloth and was highly amused when I expressed awe and great appreciation for her gift. She then taught me to knit the simple pattern she had used and I have been making and using and giving away dishcloths ever since:)
    Your pattern is so special, Kristen, that washing dishes with a dishcloth made with it would be an honor!
    For most of the 15 years we lived in NY on the west bank of the Hudson river, I chose not to replace our broken dishwasher [but used it as a spot to hid various messes from time to time:)]
    And you message on the fridge is a great idea I may try out!
    Joy to you and yours,
    Gracie <3

  10. I do have a dishwasher and run it faithfully every night, but I wash all the pots and pans by hand. I really love it when everyday objects are both beautiful and useful. Yes, they might get ruined and worn out, but all the pleasure you get from using them remains:)

  11. I read once that Agatha Christie came up with her best book ideas, staring out the kitchen window while washing dishes. I bet she didn't have such pretty dishcloths as yours. And speaking of murder mysteries... I too am also guilty of killing off many a dishcloth in the garbage disposal.
    p.s. Forgot to mention in my last comment that your new header pic looks great!

  12. Really pretty. Almost makes me want to do dishes. I think I may have to find this book and make a few of these. It would add a touch of class to my tiny kitchen!


  13. Very very pretty. I wish I could knit!!

  14. wow!!!!......really very,very pretty!!!!
    what for yarn did you use?
    i like your blog!
    have a nice sunday,
    blessings regina

    1. Hi Regina, I used Tahki Cotton (light, I think? of course the label is gone) and something from Berroco, also missing the label. I'll never learn to keep the labels, I don't think. Anyway, it's just fingering weight cotton. :)

  15. If I could knit anything as pretty and lacy I don't think I could use it to scrub pots, but it certainly would make pot scrubbing a much nicer activity. We're a dishwasher-free house too - I think it's a good time for a chat with either your dishwasher pal, or your drying-up pal!!

  16. I really enjoy your blog. I like the change you have made, too!
    Your dishcloths are so like an old knit doily pattern I got from my grandmother's things. I am sure I can use it and perhaps adjust for size. What a fabulous idea!
    I used to hate using my pretty things in a way that would wear them out or stain them. Now I realize that is part of the treasure they are. To be useful and make your life lovely.
    I have a dishwasher and use it once to twice a year. I scald things in hotter water in it at that time, and it keeps it cleaned out and running well. Otherwise, I prefer washing everything by hand. I just enjoy it so much. It is comforting, especially if things were scraped and rinsed as people finished with them.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us again.

    1. I absolutely agree, washing dishes is very comforting! Don't let my kids hear me say that, or they'll never wash another spoon...

  17. I love your blog, it makes me happy! I am constantly astonished by your creativity & the speed at which you complete your (many) projects!
    Your items are also absolutely beautiful!
    Hugs from the UK! :) x