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.)
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.
The New Dishrag.
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
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!
P.S. Please alert me to any misnakes.