Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I swatched...a dish cloth?

Measuring in a pinch
Lord knows I have been burned on many occasions by inattention to gauge. Several horrendous blunders come to mind, with perhaps the Thorpe hat that turned into something resembling a giant placenta being the most recent. Not swatching was the problem there, it was an easy enough mistake to identify. And I am trying to learn from my mistakes.
swatching a dish cloth?
When Larissa Brown, i.e. author of the most heavily anticipated knitting book of 2008, (Knitalong! Watch this space for exciting details!) put out a call for dish cloths for an upcoming art project, I knew I had to participate, because I'm sure she's putting together something really smart and intriguing. Her only specification was that the dishcloth had to be a 6 inch square.

Easy, right?

This sent me on a quest for the Perfect Dishcloth. Unfortunately my go-to pattern doesn't have the right dimensions, and since I was a French major, let's just say that the math skillz aren't where they need to be for a redesign. (This is a common leitmotiv for me and my knitting). Luckily there are whole dish cloth websites out there, sort of like Drops, but just with dish cloth patterns. I had no idea! Apparently there is a whole underground community of dish cloth knitters out there. I'm sort of fascinated.
Dish cloth (aerial view)
After way too much travail, a lot of trial and error, and a ridiculous amount of swatching (Really? For a dish
cloth?!) it started to dawn on me that at a certain point I had swatched more for this dish cloth than for the Klaralund, Cobblestone and Drive-Thru COMBINED. So I decided to break out and go free style. Yes, it's my first pattern. Later, Brompton. Step off, Marigold Socks. Bainbridge? Please. There's a new kid in town. I'm calling it 'The Perfect Dishcloth'. This very intricate pattern will one day be hailed as the greatest dish cloth in the history of the world. Now before you all crash the server trying to download the pattern à la the Fiddlehead Mitten incident, I forgot to write down the pattern before mailing it off, so you're on your own.
Dish cloth
The dish cloth escapade also earned me accolades from the Phrugal Physicist, who when told that I was knitting a dish cloth exclaimed just a little too enthusiastically "Gee, that's so useful!". "Excuse me???" "Oh, I mean everything you knit is useful err umm for you but, you know what I mean." As Kelly's Aunt Susan said , "No I don't, why don't you extrapolate...".

32 comments:

kim said...

I would knit a dishcloth if I could ever get past the whole immersing it in water and then getting food particles all over my hard work. Alas, it just icks me out. I, too, miscalculated my Thorpe and wound up with something that would fit a small grapefruit.

James said...

Does the handknit dish cloth make doing the dishes more fulfilling?

Nora said...

I hear you! I joined some bloggers knitting 8 x 8in squares for a blanket last year. Guess whose square wasn't included because it was too big??

SJ said...

On one hand I see the appeal of the knitted dishcloth -- it's fast, it's highly useful, and it might even make doing the dishes more aesthetically appealing -- but, on the other hand, as Kim said, why would you want to take your work and get it dirty and grimy? I'm trying to get over it, if only so I can get rid of the kitchen cotton in my stash.

Sophie said...

Heu, et cette lavette du siècle, là, très sophistiquée et tout et tout... elle est réversible??
(ouille! pas taper!)
;-)

Karen said...

Swatching?? For a dishcloth?? Pure madness, I say.

a friend to knit with said...

but see, i so get the 'how useful" comment. you can use it everyday ALL YEAR LONG! :)

kim said...

I don't make dishcloths, per se, but I do make washcloths. I actually really like using them for that purpose, plus it's a great excuse to buy fancy soap.

My dishes belong in the dishwasher, hence no need for a dishcloth.

Jennifer said...

ooh I contributed to a group afghan once and man, it was the most stressful little square I have ever cranked out. Group gauge is just too damn much pressure. BTW, go to knittingpatterncentral dot com and search on dishcloth - WOW

Veronique said...

Oh, I just spent quite a bit of time checking out that dishcloth website. It's useful in another way: you can try out a stitch pattern to determine if you want to make an entire sweater out of it!
As Sophie, I'd love to see the WS of your lavette :) I think it's reversible, right?

Michelle said...

My first knitting project ever was a dishcloth and I still have it and use it. Ah...the memories or learning to knit! There are actually several dishcloth groups on Ravelry, and I think I might have seen an anti-discloth group as well...Just checked and yes there is...it's called "I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a DPN than knit a dishcloth".

weezalana said...

Wow, kudos to you for swatching - repeatedly, no less - for a dishcloth! Which, erm, in and of itself, is just a big swatch, isn't it? ;)

It looks great! And yeah, I'd be holding that comment over Physicist's head all year.

Knittymuggins said...

That whole dishcloth subculture is crazy, right? I had no idea either until my mom asked me to make her one!

Your dishcloth truly is perfect and I hope Larissa has fun with it during her project ;)

knittymuggins

Amy said...

It *is* a pretty fabulous dishcloth. :)

Kim said...

All hail the dishcloth! I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

Vicki said...

I've totally used a dollar to measure knitting before. Usually to see how near/far I am from the toe of a sock.

Lovely dishcloth, madam designer :)

Jessica said...

LOL! That is one *mighty* fine dishcloth. :)

Esoteric Knitter said...

I don't really understand dishcloths but kudos to you for making the perfect one. :)

purlfriend said...

The things we do for love...;)

Sourire11 said...

There is a dishcloth subculture??? I must investigate.

peaknits said...

Easily the best knitted washcloth pattern EVER! Too bad there is no pattern...;)

tiennie said...

It's too funny that you swatched more for this than anything else!

KeanaLee said...

I love cotton dishcloths they last forever - great website.

Corinne said...

Yes, you have made one lovely dishcloth. I am one of those mad dishcloth knitters. Cranking them out like a mad woman, but to swatch one.....LOL....no never!!

Mintyfresh said...

the dishcloth to top all dishcloths! finally!

nova said...

The best dishcloth evah. Evah.

Robin said...

The dishcloth looks great - the repeated swatching cracked me up! Ugh on the "useful" comment.

ali said...

"Why don't you extrapolate?" LOL!!! He, he, he, I am totally going to have to use that one!!!

I have a problem actually washing dishes with my handknit washcloths... get over it, I know...

Happy knitting-
ali

pamela wynne said...

ha! so is the swatching thing going to catch on? Or was this a one-time thing?

Last week we were out of sponges and there were no clean dishcloths. My housemate (who was trying to get out of going to the store) said, "can't you crochet something up real quick?" And meant it.

Jodi said...

Lovely, practical dishcloths! My most recent group project really taught me an important lesson in gauge. I like using handknit dishcloths, just not making them. That cotton just ruins my wrists and hands.

Knitting Bandit said...

Love your "Perfect" dishcloth. I look forward to the pattern and my own swatch!

WonderMike said...

I haven't made one yet, but since I copy everything that you do, I'll be doing one soon. Maybe while you are eating croissants and drinking cafe au lait.