Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dishrag (Detail)

Inspired by the lovely handmade dishrags I saw in the eponymous book from the good folks at the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, I recently made a simple garter-stitch cloth from a small stash of cotton yarn I've had in my hoard for more than a decade. The yarn is Classic Elite Provence, made in Greece for a company based in Lowell, Massachusetts, where a fair amount of spinning was done, back in the day. The color is called Lapis.

The idea behind the dishrags in the book is to teach beginners that it's okay to actually use hand-knit items – they don't all have to be kept in acid-free tissue paper as heirlooms. I've never had a problem using the things I make, but I do sometimes tend to hold on to things for a long time, waiting for the perfect project to use a piece of raw material (be it a hank of yarn or a writing idea). So for me this dishrag is a little reminder that sometimes it's best to find the most useful thing we can do now with what we have on hand, rather than waiting for perfect to come along.

It's also nice to have this beautiful, soft, drapey piece of cloth that I made myself, with great pleasure, to use on more mundane tasks like getting pureed spaghetti and cheese off of Dahlia's plate.


nicole said...

Back in the day I used to be on a lot of knitting mailing lists and other such pre-social-media things where people would absolutely swear by cotton knitted dishtowels. I was horrified, because at that point I was barely willing to wear my own handknit scarves and just graduating into the sweater category...very much of the "keep it in tissue paper" mindset. But then I tried one. And it was. Awesome. Super drapey, super effective, and also super cheap (in terms of yarn).

These days I've mostly given up knitting as I don't have the time or energy to do big projects, but your post has given me some impetus to do a few dishrags. We could use them around the house anyway!

Jake Miller said...


I've never made a sweater, but I really like making socks and baby hats.

Neither of them requires much yarn, and you're probably better off with an affordable superwash or acrylic than anything too fancy.

Baby hats can be totally brainless, so they're great for making while watching TV (not to mention for delighting all of your friends who are breeding) and socks can be wonderfully fussy, slow projects that provide lots of distracting (or meditative work) without taking over your life.

I also like little projects because nobody has to feel bad if they don't get a ton of use out of the little socks that you made, whereas an unworn (or ill-fitting) handmade sweater can have a lot of bad karma.

Were these prehistoric lists you were on e-mail or snail mail newsletters?

nicole said...

Oh yes, socks, I do love socks. I was afraid of DPNs forever but once I got over that socks became my primary activity. I've even knitted them in movie theaters! Also, agreed about the ill-fitting sweater problem. Ugh.

Anyway, they were e-mail lists. Pretty sure it was KnitList which I guess is still around as a Yahoo Group.

Jake Miller said...

@NIcole: Re: socks at the movies: are we talking stockinette round and round on circular needles or turning the heel in a Fair Isle pattern on dps?

nicole said...

Stockinette on DPNs only! I'm definitely not that impressive.

Jake Miller said...

DPNs in the dark is pretty impressive, even in stockinette.

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