New Kitchen Washcloths

Stack of Washcloths

Bear had a great Aunt who made us a couple of handmade washcloths as a wedding present, and I have to confess, back then I could not understand why you’d go to that much trouble for a washcloth when paper towels are so cheap. Ten years later, I always smile to myself when I pull that washcloth out to wash the dishes with. Oh younger me, how silly you were to not appreciate the indestructible glories of a handknit.

Those first washcloths have finally given up the ghost, so I thought it was time for a whole new batch of them. They are hands down the very very best things to use to wash dishes or wipe counters. The yarn makes all these lovely ridges that are great scrubbers, they are tougher than any sponge out there, they’ll never scratch anything delicate, and they just get tossed in the wash so no nasty little germ factories like what normally sits by the sink, and no dead trees. For relatively little effort you get a healthier family, healthier home, and healthier planet. Win, win, win.

Basketweave washcloth
I’ve made tons and tons of the fantastic washcloths from the gals at Mason-Dixon and they are really great, but I absolutely detest weaving in ends, and that one requires a lot of it. But it has that great texture, and I really wanted to keep that.

I also really prefer the process of crochet to the process of knitting. It’s easier on my hands, it goes faster, it’s more mindless for me, but crochet creates this big bulky fabric, and knitting can create this lovely smooth fabric, so I usually go for the knitting. This was a perfect project for crochet – bulky only works in it’s favor – and I could seriously crank out the yardage in a hurry that way. I found this basketweave stitch and knew it was perfection.

I used Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton. Out of 3 balls I got two washcloths. Here’s my quick pattern:

Chain 29

DC in third chain from hook and 26 times more to complete the row. Ch 2, turn.

Now starts the Basketweave pattern:

Row 1: Back Post Double Crochet (BPDC) (see below) 3 times (the 2 chains from the last row make your first stitch) [Front Post Double Crochet (FPDC) (see below) 4 times, BPDC 4 times]* repeat * twice more, Ch 2, turn.

OK, all that sounds terribly confusing, but really you’re just making seven blocks of four stitches, alternating the Front Post and Back Post stitches.

Row 2: FPDC 3 times, [BPDC 4 times, FPDC 4 times]* repeat * twice more, Ch 2, turn.

Row 3: Repeat row 2. I think you’ll see here that you just FP the FP’s and BP’s the BP’s until it’s time to make a new square.

Those three rows create the square. To make the square that alternates it, you just have to flip the FP’s and BP’s. So the next square would go like this:

Row 1: FPDC 3 times, [BPDC 4 times, FPDC 4 times]* repeat * twice more, Ch 2, turn.

Row 2: BPDC 3 times, [FPDC 4 times, BPDC 4 times]* repeat * twice more, Ch 2, turn.

Row 3: FPDC 3 times, [BPDC 4 times, FPDC 4 times]* repeat * twice more, Ch 2, turn.

Then you’d have your second row of squares, so you’d go back to that first way for the third set of squares.

I hope that makes sense. If it doesn’t just reading through it, then try it as you crochet. It’s really simple, I think it will just pop out at you as you work it.

OK, now there’s those special stitches:
These work just like a double crochet stitch, but instead of going through the loop, you go around the post made by the previous row. Which direction you go around the post, makes the stitch either push forward, or pull backwards.

Back Post Double Crochet:
Yarn over, and insert the hook from the back

Back Post Double Crochet Step 1

Go around the post and push the needle back towards the back. Yarn over and pull it all through.

Back Post Double Crochet Step 2

Then treat it like a regular double crochet. Yarn over, pull through two loops. Yarn over again, pull through two loops, leaving one loop on the hook.

Front Post Double Crochet:
This works exactly the same way, except you come at the post from the front, around the post from the back, and then through to the front.
Front Post Double Crochet

If you know how to crochet, you can totally do this. Just read as you’re working instead of trying to make sense of it all. It really doesn’t make sense unless you’ve got the crochet right in front of you.

I meant to do this project in the Spring. It just seems like a Spring kind of project, new washcloths, perfect to have ready for all that Spring Cleaning, but when Spring was here I was busy working on Halloween projects. I got all turned around trying to work ahead for magazines, and I really didn’t enjoy that. I’ve never realized before how much the season affects what I’m inspired to do.

This timing worked out OK too though, because after all that Halloween madness, I needed a seriously mellow palate cleanser, and this was just right to work on during this never ending sickness.