Sunflower Season (Free Pattern!)
August 6, 2008
In the midst of submitting a pattern for the 2009 Dishcloth Calendar, I remembered last year’s design, which I am now free to share with my fellow dishrag-knittin’ freaks. It’s classified as a “Grade 2 (Impractical)” in the Dishrag Classification Manual. Meaning it’s pretty, but not utilitarian. I beg to differ! At heart, it’s a simple– albeit florally-reminiscent– counter mop. It puts on its dishrag pants one leg at a time. It will scrub its little heart out if you give it the chance. And if you leave it lying in the sink too long, it just might germinate.
(Copyright Kay Gardiner 2007)
Yarn: Peaches & Creme worsted weight by Elmore-Pisgah Inc., solid colors 1 ½ oz (71.5g) balls, each approximately 122 yds (112m), cotton], 1 ball each in the following colors :
B chocolate brown
C apple green
Note on yarn quantities: Although the pattern calls for four balls of yarn, it requires a total yarn weight of less than 2 ounces, so you can use an assortment of leftovers. Sunflowers come in lots of colors!
Size 7 (4.5mm) needles
Woven stitch pattern:
Rows 1 and 3 (WS): Purl.
Row 2: K1, *slip 1 with yarn in front, k1; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Row 4: K1, *k1, slip 1 with yarn in front; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
CENTER OF THE FLOWER
With A, cast on 28 stitches. Work Row 1 of the woven stitch pattern in A, then work rows 2 and 3 in B, then work rows 4 and 1 in C. Continue working 2-row stripes of A, B and C (changing color on Rows 2 and 4) in woven stitch pattern until piece measures approximately 6 inches from cast-on edge. Bind off loosely.
Using C and starting at any point on one of the 4 sides of the center of the flower, work 2 rounds of single crochet around all 4 sides of the center of the flower. (This edging will keep the center from stretching out of shape, and form a clean chain of stitches from which to pick up stitches for the petals.)
[Tip: To make the petals come out evenly spaced and without any gaps, try to pick up 27 stitches on each side as you work the edging. If you have a couple too many or two few, you can fudge this by increasing or decreasing in the first row of a petal, but it's easiest if you have 27 stitches on each side to begin with.]
For those not learned in the ways of crochet, use knitting needles to work the edging in cro-Kay, as follows: pick up 2 stitches, *bind off one stitch, pick up one stitch; repeat from * until you have gone around the edge twice.
Turn the center of the flower over so that the WS is facing. Starting at the upper right edge of the center and using D, pick up 9 stitches. [Tip: You can start anywhere on the edge. If you place the first petal so that it goes around a corner, you will get a rounder, more realistic looking flower. If you work 3 petals evenly on each edge, your sunflower will be more stylized and square in shape.]
Row 1 (RS): K1, *p1, k1; *repeat from * to end of row.
Row 2 (Ws): Repeat row 1.
Rows 1 and 2 establish the seed stitch pattern of the petals. On the next row and every RS row, decrease one stitch at the beginning and end of the row, maintaining the seed stitch pattern, until 3 stitches remain. On the next row (WS), slip 1 stitch, purl 2 together, and pass the slipped stitch over. You have just completed one petal. Cut the yarn, turn the piece over so that the WS is facing, and repeat the instructions 11 more times, for a total of 12 petals on all four sides of the piece.
Sew in ends. (Yes, there are a lot of ends. What is your point?)
So there you have it: Sunflower. It’s the tiniest bit fiddly, but fun and good. Also very seasonal. Go buy a bunch of local sunflowers with those Incredible Hulk stems, to keep you company while you knit. I would love to see these in non-traditional sunflower colors. My problem is that I like my dishrags to fit squarely in the Dishrag Drawer. I know this is uptight in the extreme, but I can’t help it. I may have to knit them exclusively as gifts. I also think they would make a great sewn-on motif for a baby blanket/play mat.
If somebody out there knows how to add this pattern to Ravelry, have at it!