“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Weekend (Dishrag) Knitting

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Dear Ann,
Let’s review our current Situation, Summer 2006.
You: living in a tin-roofed shack. No doubt rendering squirrel fat as we speak. (“Kids, we’re having tacos tonight!”)
Me: communicating with the world via princess phone. My current telephone number has LETTERS. Do you remember the sound of a princess telephone ringing? Not princess-like at ALL. It rings like a death in the family, every time. Oh, and ‘opprima el numero dos?’–I’m not doing much opprima-ing these days. It takes me 10 minutes to dial a number.
But I know you don’t want to hear about my problems. (I know because when I call you every day to tell you about my problems, you go all Southern Magnolia on me. ‘Oh, that’s TOO BAD. You’re a mess; oh that’s just a SHAME.’ You soothing-murmur me ’til I shut up; it’s quite a technique.)
The past couple of weeks I’ve been spending more time than usual on the subway. You know what subway time means: dishrag knitting. What else are you going to knit while communing with your fellow sweaty New Yorkers?
After I wrote this post, a few concerned friends remarked, in a constructive and loving way, that I seem to be stuck on the Ballband Dishrag. Implying, in a constructive and loving way, that I lack imagination and zest in my dishrag knitting. I got the feeling that I should be doing better, trying harder, and not knitting so many of the same dishrag.
I don’t agree. Not everybody cares about their dishrags (some people just DON’T CARE). But I do. I like a nice thick, scrunchy, waffly dishrag. From a Quality-of-DIshrag-Life point of view, the Ballband is the best. As for the IQ-Level-of-Dishrag-Knitting, I’m never bored with the Ballband because it has such a groovy rhythm and because I am always fiddling around with the colors, even when, as now, my dishrag cotton cupboard is sort of bare. (The pastels are the official bottom of the dishrag cotton barrel.)
dishragsofjuly.jpg
This week’s dishrags. The one on the left is the current fave. Due to its quilt-osity and Gee’s Bendiness.
But anyhoo, even when I don’t agree with criticism, I do take it to heart and stew about it day and night. So I came up with a new dishrag.
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The New Dishrag.
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The New Dishrag in situ. I’m calling it the Ninepatch.
I’ll tell you straight out that I know the Ballband, and the Ninepatch is no Ballband. The Ninepatch suffers from a troubling lack of Waffle Factor. It’s a pretty little shmatta, it’ll wipe your counters just fine, and it has some fairly obvious potential for adaptation to quilt-knitting, but it’s no threat to the Dishrag di Tutti Dishrags. The main advantage that it has over the Ballband is that it’s quicker to knit, and you get to knit miters, which is always thrilling. So here goes, a humble pattern for all you dishrag lovers out there. Knock yourselves out!
The Ninepatch Dishrag
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Materials: Dishcloth cotton yarn, worsted weight (I used Peaches & Creme OF COURSE), in 2 or 3 colors. (Patch 7? I found that bit in the bottom of my purse with cookie crumbs stuck to it.) A pair of US 5, 6 or 7 needles. A seat on the subway (optional).
Instructions: Use the numbered photograph above as a guide to the order of knitting the ‘patches’. There are zero seams.
Patches 1, 2 & 3
Patches 1, 2 and 3 are knit in a continuous strip.
Patch 1: CO 12 sts. Knit 12 garter ridges. Cut yarn if you are going to change colors for Patch 2.
Patch 2: Change color if desired (or stripe the first color with a new color, in which case don’t cut the first color.) Knit 12 garter ridges. Cut yarn if appropriate.
Patch 3: Change back to the first color. Knit 12 garter ridges. BO all sts.
Patches 4 & 5
Patch 4: Pick up 12 sts in the row ends of the garter ridges on one side of Patch 2. Knit 12 garter ridges and BO all sts.
Patch 5: Repeat the instructions for Patch 4 on the other side of Patch 2.
You now have a piece of knitting that is in the shape of a cross.
Patches 6, 7, 8 & 9
Patch 6: In one of the corners of the cross, pick up 12 stitches along one side of the corner, 1 stitch in the corner itself, and 12 sts along the other side of the corner. (Note: in the photograph, the stitches were picked up on the WS, for decorative effect. (Because I am a little bit country, and a little bit rock & roll.) If you pick up on the RS, you need to knit the WS row before continuing, so that your decreases will be on the RS.)
With RS facing, place a marker (the locking type that can be opened and stuck onto a knitting needle, or a little bit of contrasting yarn) just before the center stitch (if you are counting stitches, this is Stitch 13, the stitch in the corner).
With RS facing, knit a miter into this corner as follows:
Row 1 (RS): K to 2 sts before the marker, SSK, K1, K2tog, K to end of row.
CORRECTED ON JULY 20, 2006:
Row 2 (WS): Knit to 1 st before marker, P1 (this is the center stitch), K to end of row.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 3 sts remaining. On the next row (WS), slip 1 purlwise, K2tog, PSSO. Fasten off the remaining stitch.
Patches 7, 8 and 9: Repeat Patch 6 in the remaining 3 corners of the cross. Crochet an edging around the dishrag if you’re feeling nutty.
Happy weekend and happy dishragging!
Love, Kay
P.S. Please alert me to any misnakes.

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57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. Of course, you know I’ll be mutating this into a baby bib toot sweet. (Anything to take me away from knitting the 50 mile border strips on my log cabin blankie – it is stripping me of my will to live) Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  2. emerging from the dust, and clutching a new dishcloth pattern tightly in her hand. you’re my hero, kay!!

  3. I love the way your new found love of quilting (which was my old love) is impacting your knitting. Ninepatch in knitting? Who knew it could be so cute and functional and actually look new, innovative! I’ll be knitting one as soon as my Baby Moderne is done. Watch the KAL for many iterations. Thanks for the pattern (and many hours of enjoyment).

  4. I love the way your new found love of quilting (which was my old love) is impacting your knitting. Ninepatch in knitting? Who knew it could be so cute and functional and actually look new, innovative! I’ll be knitting one as soon as my Baby Moderne is done. Watch the KAL for many iterations. Thanks for the pattern (and many hours of enjoyment).

  5. Oooh – this is the perfect solution to all the odds and ends of dishcloth cotton I keep hoarding (’cause, y’know, I can’t throw ANY leftover bits of ANY thing away.) And if I find any misnakes, I’ll let you know. ‘Course, I may be dead if they’re cottonmouth (hehe, cottonmouth!) misnakes, but I’ll scrawl a note in blood for ya and tell hubby to send it on.

  6. Perhaps it is a higher level of creativity you are called to by confining yourself to the space of a dishcloth.

  7. Looks like it’s time to whip out the cones of Peaches & Creme–I feel a mitre coming on!! Thanks for the pattern, Kay!

  8. Kay, I love it that you’ve gone all “quilty” with your knitting. Combining two sports…..like cross trainging or something.

  9. Great dish rags and the 9 patch… back to basic quilting again… the phone cracked me up!! Haven’t seen one of those in so long! LOL

  10. Cute – I love the ninepatch – it’s so clever. I need a sink (I’m a college student, no kitchen for me) so that I can start knitting some dishrags that I can use- I’m sure it’ll inspire more creativity when I’m knitting them for myself.

  11. Waaay fun! I love this way to use up the bits and bobs of dishcloth leftovers! I’m thinking of making a couple of truly “scrappy” ones…with a little bit of everything.
    Thanks!

  12. According to the trailer I saw before Pirates 2 today, all the misnakes are on the misplane. Maybe you can make a “crazy quilt” dishcloth with all of the really tiny scraps (the cookie crumbs can be left on as the embroidery bits).

  13. Ahhh, the Kay and the Mitres. You’re amazing, you know? But is that REALLY the phone you’re using day-to-day at the mo? Respect. I can’t even remember numbers these days now the phones do it for you.

  14. Very cute warshrag! I am showing my age here (47!)…my phone number when I was a girl was WHitehall91742. And in the early 80′s, I lived in such a small town that around town you only gave the last four digits of your phone number because everyone had the same first three!

  15. Oh, wow! The new dishrag is great. I gave my sister a ballband washcloth last weekend as a gift — she said “what do I do with it.” I said, wash you face. She replied, “I can’t wash my face with this, it’s too nice. I’ll frame it.”

  16. OK (I mean Oh, Kay) here’s why this is perfect: I’m invited away for the weekend, and being the slubby sponge I am I arrive sans hostess gift. Now, I can knit poolside (95+ in NYC? Sorry.), impress them with my mitering prowess, and leave them with something to remember me by. You rock.

  17. Love the mitered dishrag! Thanks for the pattern I will have to try it out.

  18. Somehow I don’t think the phone color was inspired by Matisse but the Ballband dishrags are! Love the new pattern!

  19. DUDE! I’m sitting in Loopy in Chicago last night and you and Ann were ALL THE RAGE! I, of course, flashed about my one degree of separation: MET them, honey, I’ve packed boxes with them!
    ANYHOO, there were dishrags galore. One of the girls in the SnB circle had some super cute dishcloths made out of Blue Sky Cotton. Very nice. She’s using them for her face instead of her dishes.
    It was like you were THERE! Miss you.

  20. I’m a new-ish knitter, returned to the fold after being a knitting dropout about 7 years ago.
    I’ve made three ballbands so far (plus a girl and a boy baby kimono). Can’t wait to try this nine-patch so’s I can practice the miters and picking up stitches…without having to commit to an afghan.

  21. I can’t stop laughing at that phone. I cannot stop. You are killing me.
    And Matisse WISHES he’d gone for dishcloths instead of painting. WISHES.
    Off to pick the possum that landed dead on the doorstep last night. OH NOT REALLY. We’re really doing less carrion than we did last summer.

  22. Only the magnificent Kay could make the same damn dishrag in 40 different colors exciting. Every time I see another dishrag on this blog I have to work very hard to resist knitting one. Eventually I will cave. I know it like the sun rises – I just don’t know when. You, my dear, have panache. Go forth. Wash your dishes in style.
    xox,

  23. Wonderbar!

  24. No freakin’ WAY! I just got acquainted with the Ballband. I’m staying true. (I ordered 20 balls o’ dishrag cotton. You’d be so proud.)

  25. “It rings like a death in the family…” I love that! So where do I get peaches and creme yarn – seriously, I can’t find it.

  26. I don’t see any “misnakes”, but I see some more dishrags in my knitting bag! Thanks!

  27. Thanks for the dishrag pattern, but where do I find the Peaches and Cream yarn?

  28. Peaches and Cream is at Hobby Lobby if you have one nearby. Girls, she said two of my favorite things: NO Seams and Miters! What are we waiting for? ***Running to find Peaches and Cream*** Thanks Kay!

  29. OMG what a co inki dink, i can’t believe it. i’ve been working on domino knitting with my dishrag cotton just like that! even using a DD backed with a purl stitch to make a chain up the middle. great minds think alike.
    p.s. i’m so very happy to see others calling the thing a dishrag, not a face cloth.
    great pattern. i always, i mean always have a dishrag on my needles.

  30. I’ve got mine 5/9 done and have just started the mitered corners. I’ve wanted to try the miters, but just don’t “get” knit blankets/throws… So this is perfect :)

  31. Does anyone have a good website to show me how to make a crochet edge? I think that would tie everything together nicely…
    TIA!

  32. Lovin’ the Ninepatch–it’s way better than the Frankencloths I’ve been making with leftover dishrag cotton!

  33. I love yer ballbands … keep ‘em coming! It is the most excellent of dishrags, I must agree.

  34. Peaches and Creme can be found at Walmart in my neck of the woods. My family won’t accompany me to the Walmart, so I have to sneak off on my own. But then, they aren’t fans of the warshrag either.

  35. I managed to avoid joining the horde of knitters making the ballband dishcloth, but damn if I couldn’t avoid casting on for this one right away. I finished it this morning.
    Pic Here

  36. I love it, lol My mother quilted me a beautiful quilt of 9 patch.. This is so special.. Thanks.. I for one love your dishcloths.. now to order more cotton… I ran out & its tooo dang hot to go shopping.. let the mailman bear the heat or better yet the cute UPS guy…hehehehe

  37. NOTHING beats the ballband dishcloth, no matter how cute or innovative.

  38. I just left the CGOA/TKGA conference where I took two classes on Mitered Squares. Both in crochet, one class with a regular hook and another with the double ended crochet hook. As I was sitting in class I was thinking how to practice my newly learned skills with dishrags. And the first chance I get to a computer, I see you’ve already done it. We must be on the same wavelength. But then again I’ll try it with a hook.

  39. You make me feel so much better about knitting all of those dish cloths. I seriously can’t get over them. I love them. They always fit. No problems….thanks for your comradarie.

  40. Kay, I love the new dishcloth, but it doesn’t look as cushy. As for the phone, we recently moved and the two phones that we hooked up were my husband’s grandmother’s old phone and one that I was given as a gift (also rotary). When the cable guy came (who obviously wasn’t old enough to know what a rotary phone was), he said, do they work? How long does it take to dial? These CAN’T BE YOUR ONLY PHONES!!!!!

  41. Love that new dishcloth pattern – Thanks! Already whipped one up :)

  42. I love rotary phones. There is a certain commitment required to make a call, which can be a good thing. Plus drunk dialing an ex is a lot harder. That can be a VERY good thing.

  43. I WANT THE PHONE! I am dying for the phone. Oh, the love for the phone!
    Ahem.
    Kay, if there’s anything I can give you, trade you, knit you, sew you, swap you…
    Yes, the dishcloth is fab. At first glance, I said “Wow – what an interesting design, with some just stripey action and the mitres pointing inthe corners and… how DOES she come up with it?” And of course immediately saw (before you even said, I swear!) that it was born of the desire for NO SEAMS. Friggin brilliant. Necessity the mother of and all that. Form, function. Fantastulosic. Rilly.

  44. Easiest mitres ever thanks to the stitch marker right before the middle stitch — no more counting stitches or rows. Love it, love it, love it; thank you, Kay!

  45. I too am reading The Unknown Matisse and knitting BallBand dishcloths. My aunt’s kitchen is red and white and she loves my handknit dishcloths. So what did she get for her birthday? A red and white ballband cloth and a white and red ballband cloth. My current BB cloth on the needles is white and swimming pool. When I stop regurgitating BB cloths, I will move on to the NinePatch! Thanks for the pattern –

  46. I’ve been knitting the BallBands with Sugar & Creme, which is nice…butit doesn’t come in those groovy colours like Peaches & Creme.
    I can’t find P&C anywhere in this burg (Vegas), and the company that makes it doesn’t sell it from their site.
    Where, oh where, can I get some of this delish-looking stuff?

  47. I guess I’m the only one on the planet, but I’m thinking there’s a slight omission in the Nine patch pattern. After completing my first (which was also my first miter), I noticed my miters didn’t look quite right. I realized it’s because they’re completely in garter, as the pattern states. How did you get your edges to have the stockinette “V” in the center? I adapted by purling the 3 center sts on the wrong side, but it’s still not perfect. What am I missing?

  48. What a cool dishcloth!! I love the idea of knitting a quilted pattern. Could you knit a double mitre in the centre square (a mitre from each bottom corner) so there will be an X through the centre square?? Maybe I’ll figure out how to do it.

  49. My Nine patch dish rag came out round? Now I did not follow the direction for the miter to the Tee because i am a novice hand knitter and i didi what seemed to be right. I knit 2 tog before and after the center st. A pic of the dishrag is attached.http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/diva27406/detail?.dir=38ab&.dnm=9d61re2.jpg&.src=ph
    TIA

  50. I am in the midst of dish rag knitting, too! Where can I find the pattern for the ones pictured (the cotton pastel ones)?

  51. OH Hurray, i love the jab that lead to the new dishrag that will use up the teeny tiny balls of cotton yarn that my dogs and cats have been fighting over.
    Love the ballband even more, though and am now cruising thru to finish my 27th.

  52. Cute pattern and thanks for posting it.
    “P.S. Please alert me to any misnakes.”
    Only mistake I can find is misNakes!
    I have your book and love it. I am working on a log cabin afghan now out of a stash that was given to me by an older relative. I also made a dishcloth and packaged it with the book for my BFFs birthday.

  53. I LOVE these dishcloths and I have so much scrap yarn these would be perfect!! Thanks so much for the pattern!

  54. I LOVE these dishcloths and I have so much scrap yarn these would be perfect!! Thanks so much for the pattern!

  55. I’m totally stuck on the dishrag after reading the “Mason-Dixon Knitting”. TOTALLY. I don’t think I’ll ever want to make another kind of dishrag, ever.
    I’m thinking about making sweaters in that pattern every time I’m knitting one, but always cast on another dishrag.
    I have reduced the size a bit though, to 39 stiches and 10 color bands after my partner (who often ends up cleaning up the chaos i leave on the counters) complained that the ones he was using were too big…

  56. I’m totally stuck on the dishrag after reading the “Mason-Dixon Knitting”. TOTALLY. I don’t think I’ll ever want to make another kind of dishrag, ever.
    I’m thinking about making sweaters in that pattern every time I’m knitting one, but always cast on another dishrag.
    I have reduced the size a bit though, to 39 stiches and 10 color bands after my partner (who often ends up cleaning up the chaos i leave on the counters) complained that the ones he was using were too big…
    you guys ROCK!

  57. I’m totally stuck on the dishrag after reading the “Mason-Dixon Knitting”. TOTALLY. I don’t think I’ll ever want to make another kind of dishrag, ever.
    I’m thinking about making sweaters in that pattern every time I’m knitting one, but always cast on another dishrag.
    I have reduced the size a bit though, to 39 stiches and 10 color bands after my partner (who often ends up cleaning up the chaos i leave on the counters) complained that the ones he was using were too big…
    you guys ROCK!