For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Gifty!

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Dear Ann,
[Note to skimmers. If you stay with this post, there is a free pattern in there somewhere.]
Hey there. IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!!! Hanukkah is in full swing, but I can handle Hanukkah. Hanukkah requires one Unnecessary But Greatly Desired Electronic Item (To Be Purchased By Dad), plus 7 small items such as: Croc buttons (still looking for here’s the Israeli flag Croc button I saw recently–how cool would that be as an embellishment for the national shoe of Israel), CDs (although CDs are obsolete technology, I persist), paperback biographies of US Presidents (reliably thrilling for a boy here), and craft materials (although Model Magic is hard to wrap, it’s the It Gift for a girl who has rendered the Trojan War in the medium, causing serious red ink in the Model Magic budget but hopefully earning her teacherly adulation). (Tip: If you are giving Model Magic as a gift–and why wouldn’t you be–the best color is white, because you can make it any other color with felt-tip markers. Color on the surface of the clay and work it in; repeat until you get the desired shade. With a gold marker and a toothpick, you can get Helen’s hair just right.) By Day 7 or 8, expectations get so low that we can give them a pencil or stick of gum. (Last night, we gave stickers. Got a big “woo-hoo” for the stickers.)
But Christmas is another category altogether. Christmas wears me out just thinking about it. Christmas is particularly difficult in families that also celebrate Hanukkah and whose kids have adequate supplies of presidential biographies and Model Magic to begin with. And then there are all those other lovely people upon whom one would bestow a seasonal token of affection, if only one could think of one. What to give? We have questions; the Internet has answers.
The Bomb
That cleverboots Mrs. Lear is doing bath bombs that smell like grapefruit and sweetgrass! She’s using this recipe. Bombs away!
Chocolate
Chocolate is never a wrong gift, unless it is not good chocolate, and even chocolat ordinaire qualifies as a guilty pleasure. Be careful, though: the bacon bar is not for everybody. If you gave someone a Hannukah gift, err on the side of caution and give them the Woolloomooloo Bar instead. Whatever it is, the Woolloomooloo is pork-free.
Oh Yeah. You Could Knit Something.
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Nothing goes better with a bath bomb or a bar of weird chocolate than a washcloth. And not the same old washcloth you gave last year. Even though your chums are begging you for more Ballband Dishcloths, mix it up a little and suprise them with a BRAND NEW DISHCLOTH DESIGN. Here, in the extended entry portion of this post, is a free pattern for the Lobby Dishcloth. I have roadtested this dishcloth and it’s a winner. It would also make a great blanket if you just kept going…and going….
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Homekeeping Tip: Whether a cloth is a dishcloth or a washcloth is entirely a matter of which room you put it in. Once you’ve put it in one room, though, you can’t change it to the other one. That’s a rule. Nobody wants to wash her face with a dishcloth, or vice versa.
Now HERE’s a Fab Idea
Save yourself all that messing about and just get ‘em a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters’ Guide. Have you heard of it? It’s AWESOME. A surefire people pleaser. (And a great stocking stuffer, if you have extra-wide stockings at your place.)
Sorry for the commercial, but despite our poignant letter to Santa, it doesn’t look like we’re getting an ad in the New York Times this year. Maybe next year!
Merry merry everybody!
Love,
Kay
P.S. There should be an “Unsuggestions” list as well. Tops on my personal unsuggestions list is the Dearfoam “Opera”. I think they must be joking about the “opera”, right? Even a very old lady does not want her house slippers to scream “old lady!” Proceed with extreme caution when buying slippers of any description. It is so very easy to go wrong. Ask yourself, “Why not chocolate?”
P.P.S.
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Once again we were given the privilege of injecting jelly into our friend Aliza’s delectable kirschwasser-infused sofganiot. I can’t decide what was my favorite moment from Aliza’s Hanukkah party on Friday: the kids all doing the traditional Hebrew dance “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”, or Aliza screaming about how disorganized she was, how her stove is worthless because it was not frying right, how she’s going to do it COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY next year, and in the same breath saying, “Listen—do you hear the kids? They’re having a GREAT TIME!” From “kvetch” to “kvell” in 2 seconds flat.


Lobby Dishcloth
While I admire a dishcloth with a clever picture or stitch pattern, I also want a dishcloth that’s tough enough to scrub counters and keep its shape over many washings. A dense, ridgy garter or waffle stitch works just great.
This pattern was inspired by the terrazzo, stone and metal floor of the 1929 apartment building that I live in. There are so many colliding miters, squares, and chevrons laid into this floor that it must have been a challenge even for the master tile setters of the Art Deco period. Now a small corner of this masonry is immortalized in a dishcloth, using striped corner miters in combination with Barbara Walker’s “Parquet Squares” pattern.
While I’m waiting for the elevator, I’ll keep staring at the floor, looking for more dishcloths.
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FINISHED MEASUREMENT
Approximately 8 inches square
MATERIALS
Peaches & Creme worsted weight 100% cotton in at least 2 solid colors. You will need approximately half a skein of the main color and a smaller quantity of the other color(s) to make one dishcloth.
1 set US #6 or #7 straight needles
1 16-inch US #6 or #7 circular needle (for optional edging)
1 crochet hook (for optional edging)
1 stitch marker
GAUGE
18 sts/36 rows = 4″ in garter stitch
PATTERN NOTES
The edging is optional and can be created using either a circular needle or a crochet hook.
The pattern refers to Colors A and B because the mitered squares are striped. Needless to say, you can use more than two colors and change them at will. I used four colors for my set of three. (Matchy!)
The dishcloth is constructed in 4 square units. The first unit consists of 4 small squares that are knit onto each other, after which the remaining three squares are attached.
PATTERN
Unit 1 (Mini-Parquet): Using Color A, cast on 9 sts. *Knit 9 garter ridges and on next RS row, BO all sts but do not cut yarn.** Turn this square one-quarter turn to the right, and pick up 1 st in each garter ridge. (9 sts).
Rep from * to ** 2 times, to knit the second and third squares of this unit. Do not cut yarn.
You now have an L-shaped piece formed from three 9-stitch squares. With RS facing, in the angle of the L, pick up 9 sts in the garter ridges of the last square knitted, place marker, and pick up 9 sts from the cast-on edge of the first square knitted.
Next row (WS): Knit.
Now change to Color B and work a striped garter-stitch miter into this corner by working a double decrease on every RS row as follows:
Row 1 (RS): Knit to 2 sts before marker, SSK, K2tog, knit to end of row.
Row 2 (WS): Knit.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2, alternating Colors A and B and carrying the color not in use up the side of the work, until there are 2 sts remaining. On next (WS) row, K2tog and fasten off but do not cut the yarn. (If you have done it right, you should be using Color A, but this is not crucial.)
Unit 2 (Plain): Turn the work one-quarter turn to the right, and using Color A, pick up 18 stitches (the first 9 in the garter ridges of the mini-miter, and the second 9 in the remaining garter ridges). Knit 18 garter ridges. On next RS row, BO all sts but do not cut yarn.
Unit 3 (Plain): Repeat the instructions for Unit 2, knitting Unit 3 onto Unit 2.
You now have an L-shaped piece formed by the first 3 units.
Unit 4 (Striped Miter): Using Color A and with RS facing, in the angle of the L, pick up 18 sts in the garter ridges of the last square knitted, place marker, and pick up 18 sts from the edge of the first square knitted (the mini-parquet unit).
Next row (WS): Knit.
Now change to Color B and work a striped garter-stitch miter into this corner by working a double decrease on every RS row as follows:
Row 1 (RS): Knit to 2 sts before marker, SSK, K2tog, knit to end of row.
Row 2 (WS): Knit.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2, alternating Colors A and B and carrying the color not in use up the side of the work, until there are 2 sts remaining. On next (WS) row, K2tog and fasten off.
OPTIONAL EDGING
Using a contrasting or coordinating color, create an edging either by working single crochet all the way around the cloth, or as follows using a circular needle.
Pick up sts along all 4 sides of the cloth. When you get back around to the first stitch you picked up, purl this stitch and bind off all stitches purlwise.
Weave in all ends and wipe off the counter.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
With Ann Shayne, Kay Gardiner is a co-author of the blog masondixonknitting.com, and the book Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters’ Guide, which contains patterns for dishcloths and other items for the home as well as for kids and adults and just for the sheer fun of knitting stuff. Ann and Kay are working on a second book and blabbing daily on their beloved blog. Stop by!
Copyright 2006 Kay Gardiner

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43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Woolloomooloo is great, but my personal favorites are the Barcelona bar (salty! sweet! YUM) and the Red Fire bar (deliously good with a great pinot noir).

  2. Evelyn, your going right to the top of the It Girl list. You’ve tried more than one? More than once? Often enough to know what to pair them with? Oh my.
    Thanks for the note, I owe you one…
    Happy Hanukkah everyone! And merry shopping!

  3. I’m with you on the washcloth adventures! I got “iced in” this morning and spent the unexpected knitting time on dish/wash cloths in a new (to me) pattern: King Charles Brocade. Made one in Sugar and Cream variegated and have just started a second in a solid color with some leftover egyptian cotton, name forgotten.
    Washcloths make such perfect little projects – and gifts. Worthy of even the *first* day of Hanukkah :)

  4. The traditional Hebrew dance..Soulja Boy?!?! BaHAhaha!! Love it! And I love all the menorahs in that first picture..

  5. Ooooooooooohhhh beautiful menorahs! We’ve Advent Candles going at our place but they don’t hold a candle (!) to those menorahs. :O) And thanks. I always wondered how they got filling in doughnuts and other filled delectables. Thanks for clearing up that mystery! Happy Chanuka!

  6. mmmmmm. chocolate. the site is awesome, and I’m guessing you can vouch for the chocolates?
    the menorah picture is beautiful!

  7. I was hanging on your every word. I swear! and I plan on using that kvetch to kvell crack in the near future! See you Monday!

  8. So happy to see the jelly infuser again this year. Because I have collected 2 years of Christian Christmas guilt for not getting it together to make/finish/give a gift to my boss, I am celebrating Hanukkah for her. BB warshrags were day #1; tomorrow tops it off with the menorah pillow from handknit Holidays. And I love the Bee House teapot. DD#1, newly graduated and even more recently employed at a Chicago-area tea shop bought one for my present. I’m trying hard to forget which one I suggested, so I can be surprised when I open it. If she gets it out from under my desk here at work in time (the tea-osk is in my building).

  9. I’m highly amused by the concept of a Woolloomooloo Bar. Round my neck of the woods (Sydney, Australia), a Woolloomooloo bar is something sailors on shore leave get thrown out of at 4 am.

  10. Jelly injector? JELLY INJECTOR? I must google this now. I imagine it’d work like what I really need- a pastry cream injector. The pate a choux with pumpkin pie filling did *not* work well with a regular pastry bag nor the pseudo-injector pastry needle-thing.
    Injector… hmmm…

  11. Israeli flag Croc buttons???? Oh, pretty please, if you do find these, will you share your source? I never until this moment realized that such a thing was missing from my household, but now I can’t overlook the gaping hole in my life.
    Small Offspring at my house got the Muppets Season 1 DVD for Hanukkah, and is enraptured. I’m pretty tickled myself, as I revisit the magic hour between bathtime and bedtime, when I got to comb my hair and watch Kermit and Fozzy.

  12. Happy All the Days!
    Though we are no where close to being Jewish my husband has been lighting a menorah to enrich the holiday experience. He’s an original I will say.
    And Miss Kay? Your copyright date is for 2006.
    Thanks for the pattern!

  13. Ours is an interfaith household as well. A lot of work this time of year, a lot of food and knitting. In December, every day’s a holiday!
    Blessings to you and yours.

  14. Unnecessary but highly desired electronic item purchased by male parent… check!
    Traditional Soulja Boy dance…. check! (AT Sunday school, to the klezmer music!)
    Chanukah Chocolate (a half-pound Special Bar at our house)… check!
    Very little holiday knitting going on–I’ll have to think about that (later)!

  15. Yaaaay!
    I’ve wanted the Lobby pattern since it appeared…last year? I tried to figure it out, but I was mostly too lazy.
    Thanks!

  16. thanks for the dish cloth love!!!!!!!
    we do the christian/buddhist christmas in this house. My daughter figured out just yesterday “why do we get presents if it is someone else’s birthday?”.

  17. I’ve got some cotton that’s screaming to be a washcloth. I might be able to finish these for Christmas. Love the menorah photos. And next year we might have to make some of those jelly donuts. This year, just latkes at our house. And lots of fun Hanukkah stories. My favorite this year…Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat by Naomi Howland.

  18. I have had Wooloomooloo Shiraz and I’m certain that was pork free too. I had to check the label on the bottle for the spelling (I just knew I took that photo for a good reason)

  19. Happy Chanukah! or….as my daughter calls it, “Christmachanukwanzaakah”! We celebrate both here too. Since I was a single mom for 8 yrs, the “traditional” latkes in this house are out of a box (yes, yes, I know). Anything’s good with sour cream and applesauce. And sofganiot? That’s an East Coast thing, I never heard of them until we began celebrating with some transplanted New Yorkers. No jelly doughnuts in Minnesota, I can tell you. And our custom was: dreidl and gelt on the first night and slightly fancier gifts each night with THE present on the last. There were always books in there (around #5) and one night each child got a quart of ice cream, can of Reddi-Wip, jar of cherries and a jar of my very own home-made (best in the Universe) hot fudge sauce, and the rule was they could have it whenver they wanted. (Usually the first breakfast after that they all ate about 1/2 of the stuff; the rest was eaten more expeditiously.) And my wish for you and yours (and all who see this) — may each of your days be brighter than the one before, during Chanukah and the rest of the year!

  20. A most wonderful, atmospheric, post. I love the feeling of almost sharing your delightful, busy, rich December. Full of love.
    I send some to add to the hugs.
    xxx

  21. I love the Barcelona Bar and, as an Episcopalian pork addict, Mo’s bacon bar is fast sneaking up on the Barcelona in the favorite category.

  22. Wonderful! I love the new miters and it looks like you all had a great Hanukkah get together. Thanks for sharing the new pattern!

  23. I am married to the Grinch who has suck the joy out of Christmas. Jesus is the Reason for the Season,bah humbug. So I get my joy at other people’s celebrations. The Grinch usually works a double over Christmas. All the better to be out celebrating. The pattern is great. I’ll whip up a few more to go with the 2 dozen I have already knit. When you visit as much as I do, you shouldn’t come empty handed. Home made and chocolate. Never enough chocolate.Cheers.

  24. I hear that book is pretty good. ;)
    And, is it traditional to have that many menorah(s)? One per person? (And what is the plural?) I’m seriously asking here, I have no clue.

  25. Now Kay, you HAVE listened to the words to “Crank That,” right? Not exactly PG. Cracks me up to go on Youtube and see all the Crank That videos with little kids doing the Superman in ballet class. So much for political correctness…….

  26. My kids ask for the oddest things for Christmas. Our ninth-grade daughter wants rubber bands and mechanical pencil lead. The seventh-grade boy wants duct tape. (Daughter got that for Christmas last year.) Years ago, I kid you not, The Daughter sat on Santa’s lap and asked him for peanuts and shoelaces. Nothing else. I can completely see being thrilled by stickers.

  27. My kids ask for the oddest things for Christmas. Our ninth-grade daughter wants rubber bands and mechanical pencil lead. The seventh-grade boy wants duct tape. (Daughter got that for Christmas last year.) Years ago, I kid you not, The Daughter sat on Santa’s lap and asked him for peanuts and shoelaces. Nothing else. I can completely see being thrilled by stickers.

  28. Do we get to see any photos of the lobby floor?

  29. Andrea took the words right off my fingers. Season’s greetings.

  30. We, too, are a biritual family at this time of year, and we, too, gave stickers for one night of Hanukah. Altoid sours for another. Could be worse. And FYI: if you haven’t listened to the lyrics while your sweet young things are cranking that Soulja Boy, don’t. You truly don’t want to know.

  31. Ah, yes, the Woolloomooloo bar…a really great way to get hemp into one’s diet, but not a great gift for anyone subject to random drug tests.

  32. Mmmm Sufganiot. I finally got a little into the spirit last night and lit up my oil menorah. If Chanukah with kids is hard, Chanukah without kids is harder. Mine are grown and away from home so its not as much an event as it really should be.

  33. another amazing dishcloth pattern– mwah!!

  34. The chocolate shop near where I work (the words personal chocolatier mean something to me) has the best salted caramels. It is the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
    Of course, I am not giving chocolates this year. I am mostly making cookies. Cuccidatti for everyone (except the people allergic to nuts).

  35. Um, you might want to subject that teapot to a radiological analysis. Some fiesta ware is very radioactive, I kid you not.
    The yellow is the worst, BTW. I see that one is green, but I’m not sure I’d be drinking out of it…..

  36. Woo Celebrating Chanukah and making dishcloths for all! That’s what I’ve been doing too! The Vortex 5, shortrows, DPNs. Woo.

  37. I was skimming along and was stopped dead at the mention of the bacon bar. While I can see that it may not be an appropriate Chanukah gift, I hope I find some in my stocking. I love those things! The Barcelona Bar rocks, too. Super yum!
    The washcloth is awesome, you crack me up.

  38. On your recommendation, I had my first Mo’s bacon bar whilst watching the Golden Compass this Sunday, and, well, I began immediately to compose a letter that commenced:
    Dear Junior Mints, I hope we can still be friends…

  39. I kept trying to post my comments, but was apparently “losing the connection”(so, what’s new?). Anyway, I just wanted to say how awesome was(and awe struck I was to see it), the light from the multiple menorahs (menorahim?). Such a beautiful, spiritual glow; lovely family. God bless.
    LoveDiane

  40. We celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, plus me and the girls have winter holiday birthdays (Nov 25, Dec 25, Jan 1), so even with any sort of restrained gifting, it’s easy to get burned out. I have come to embrace the “experiential gift” — ranging from going out for an ice cream after school on up to membership to a themepark or museum. Concert tickets, cooking/art/craft classes. These spread over the year better, you don’t have to go to a mall to get them and they don’t create a pile of garbage. A winning giving strategy in my book!

  41. Question: is the pictured dishcloth finished with a knit or a crocheted border?
    I worked a crocheted border around my first one last night, and it doesn’t look anything like the pictured dishcloth. I’m just trying to figure out whether this is because:
    A) I did it wrong
    B) the pictured dishcloths use the knit border option
    I really can’t tell which! If that gives you any clue as to the level of my crocheting skillz. (So sad, the skillz! So sad.)

  42. Hi gals – will you see a comment this late in the game? I am having trouble with this awesome border on the dishcloth – are you picking up these stitches with a circular needle? When I pick up it seems so tight going around the square. Help! Thanks!

  43. Hi gals – will you see a comment this late in the game? I am having trouble with this awesome border on the dishcloth – are you picking up these stitches with a circular needle? When I pick up it seems so tight going around the square. Help! Thanks!