Did you ever think that I’d run out of handknit dishcloths in my kitchen? Me, Kay Gardiner, queen of the dishrag knitters?
Without exaggeration, I’ve knit dozens of dishcloths, well over a hundred. Even if you factor in all the ones I gave away, I have known the joys of a bountiful dishcloth drawer.
But time, and people spilling things on counters, take their toll on even the most robust among us. My dishrags eventually turned into literal rags. They went sort of grayish-brown and shaggy, but they continued to show up and work hard. Until they were more hole than cloth.
Things got so bad, Ann. I hate to admit this to you, but: A few months ago, I got some storebought dishrags. The handknit ones had well and truly given up the ghost.
When you’ve spent over a decade living in a dream world, wiping down the counters with handknit dishrags, it’s hard to go back to flimsy ones from the store. So it’s been bugging me, and I recently started quietly knitting dishrags again. I keep one in a go-bag, and knit on it whenever I’ve got a few spare seconds.
The One True Dishrag
All handknit dishrags go to heaven. They are all good. I’ve designed a fair few of them myself. But my go-to, old reliable dishcloth pattern continues to be the one I first met on the label of a skein of dishcloth cotton: the mighty Ballband Dishcloth.
In the original pattern, you cast on 45 stitches, and you work 13 rows of “bricks.” This is a nice, big cloth. It’ll do a lot of wiping. It’s a Good Thing. You will get years of service out of this version of the Ballband Dishcloth.
This Changes Everything
I had no notion that I would ever change my Ballband Dishcloth recipe. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But last summer, I saw that our friend Kelley Dew, my sister in devotion to the Ballband, makes hers a little differently. She casts on 33, and works 9 rows of bricks. Like this little one here:
Isn’t it cute? It looks like a traveling salesman’s sample of a Ballband Dishcloth.
Kelley’s Ballbands are extra fancy, with i-cord edging and hanging loops.
Photo: Kelley Dew. Left: Ballband Dishcloths. Right: Mitered Hanging Towel.
Kelley’s version knits up a lot faster, a plus when you’re sick and tired of store bought dishrags. It’s the perfect fit for my hand, and just as good at doing its scullery chores. A smaller cloth dries faster, too. I’m sold!
Pie dishcloth/towel is a section of the brilliant Lattice Have Pie Towel by Amy Marie.
My dishcloth drawer has a whole new lease on life! Stay tuned for a steady stream of mini-Ballbands. I’m calling them Kelleys.
Butterprint Pyrex bowl is from a thrift store haul of dear Martha Blom, who really gets me.
If you’re good, I might make you a couple.