This time of year, as surely as hurricanes threaten coastal areas and dogs lie down on the sidewalk and refuse to move one more step, you will find me wracking my brains to design an entry for Janet Nogle’s Dishcloth Calendar. My entry-in-progress for the 2010 edition is most intriguing. So intriguing I am taxing my skill set trying to make it work. It will work, dagnabbit! And it will work elegantly!
But late summer also reminds me that I am free to release to the world my contribution to the 2009 Dishcloth Calendar. It’s a straightforward, swatchy sort of dishrag, inspired by my twin passions: linoleum floors and stitch dictionaries.
Here you go, dishcloth knitting freaks of the world. Have at it! Please post your Linoleum Dishcloth results over on Ravelry, where there are already some very nice examples.
(Copyright Kay Gardiner 2008)
The styles and artifacts of the 1920s and 30s never cease to fascinate. From futuristic Art Deco furniture to the pastel prints of the era’s housedresses, there is always something interesting to look at. This dishcloth was inspired by the geometric patterns of linoleum floors, which were popular through the 50s and beyond. I searched through stitch dictionaries for a pattern reminiscent of linoleum tiles, and found this interlocking diamond motif in several sources.
A bonus: this is a slip-stitch pattern, so it results in a scrubby cloth with an attractive woven appearance on the wrong side. It’s quite simple to follow the row-by-row instructions, but once you get going, it’s a pleasant challenge to work this pattern from memory, following the diamonds as they expand and contract.
Yarn: Peaches & Creme worsted weight, 100% cotton, 2½ oz (71.5g), 122 yds (112m), 1 ball each in solid colors A, B and C.
Size 7 (4.5mm) needles (or size 6 if you knit loosely like I do)
Using A, cast on 43 stitches. Knit one row.
Row 1 (RS): Using B, k1, *slip 1, k9; repeat from * untill 2 stitches remain, slip 1, k1.
Row 2 (WS) and all WS rows: Repeat the previous row, but place the yarn in front when slipping stitches.
Row 3: Using A, k3, *(slip 1, k1) 3 times, slip 1, k3; repeat from * to end of row.
Row 5: Using B, k2, *slip 1, k7, slip 1, k1; repeat from * until 1 stitch remains, k1.
Row 7: Using A, k4, *(slip 1, k1) twice, slip 1, k5; repeat from * until 9 stitches remain, (slip 1, k1) twice, slip 1, k4.
Row 9: Using B, (k1, slip 1) twice, *k5, (slip 1, k1) twice, slip 1; repeat from * until 4 stitches remain, (slip 1, k1) twice.
Row 11: Using A, k5, slip 1, k1, slip 1, *k7, slip 1, k1, slip 1; repeat from * until 5 stitches remain, k5.
Row 13: Using B, k2, slip 1, k1, slip 1, k3, *(slip 1, k1) 3 times, slip 1, k3; repeat from * until 5 stitches remain, slip 1, k1, slip 1, k2.
Row 15: Using A, K6, *slip 1, k9; repeat from * until 7 stitches remain, slip 1, k6.
Row 17: Repeat row 13.
Row 19: Repeat row 11.
Row 21: Repeat row 9.
Row 23: Repeat row 7.
Row 25: Repeat row 5.
Row 27: Repeat row 3.
The dishcloth consists of 3 repeats of this 28-row pattern. For the second repeat, substitute C for B. For the third repeat, change from C back to B. Using A, knit 2 rows and bind off on the RS.
Texture variation: On WS rows, except for the first and last knit stitches of each row, work all the knits as purls. This results in a smooth stockinette on the RS, and WS rows are faster to work because it is not necessary to switch the yarn from back to front each time a stitch is slipped. Because I like to maintain some scrubby texture on the RS, I alternate WS rows between purl and knit rows. But my favorite is still the original, all-knit version.
Color variation: Substitute variegated shades for the solids, and watch what happens. The diamonds emerge in a shimmery way. Warning: if two variegated shades share a color, it’s easy to lose track of the pattern. Recommended for licensed and experienced practitioners of this pattern (i.e., people who have already knit one).
Wishing you durable dishcloth fun,