Posts Tagged ‘washcloth’

Update from the Knitting Classroom

January 15, 2015

After being on hiatus for about a month, my weekly knitting class has started up again, and the New Year seems to have infused everyone with energy.

Pam, a novice but nonetheless fearless knitter, finished her first project: a cotton dishcloth (or face cloth) with a “butterfly” pattern. I love this free pattern, especially for a first project. The new knitter learns how to:

  • detail of knitted butterfly dishclothcast on
  • knit, purl
  • follow a pattern
  • make seed stitch border
  • create these nifty “butterflies”
  • bind off

All in a 8″ x8″ square (larger or smaller to suit one’s taste).

The finished product, ready to wash dishes or bodies, wipe up spills, and repeat as needed.

knit cotton butterfly dishcloth

After finishing a pair of socks for her brother and three chunky GAP-tastic Cowls for her daughters, Judy couldn’t stop herself — and created her first design in the process (although she doesn’t think she did). A friend of her youngest (16) requested a red cowl, but Judy doubted that the teen would wear an all-red cowl and, truth be told, didn’t want to buy yarn to make it. Instead, she decided to use the cream bulky wool that she had and added a strand of red sport weight from her stash. I think the result is fabulous and am quite sure the selfie-snapping recipient agrees.

chunky Gaptastic cowl

Class time

March 22, 2014

I’ve said before how much I enjoy teaching knitting, and my current class is no exception. Once a week, these six intrepid women gather around the table, needles in hand, patterns laid out and personally annotated, and they dive into their projects. Chatting, whispered counting (34, 35 — damn, I’m supposed to have 36!), an occasional curse, and laughter abound.

Everyone gives a little update and has a question or two about how to proceed (dropped or added stitches are common). We break after about a half hour for a brief lesson — how to join yarn, how to bind off, different ways to cast on, common pattern abbreviations — and then it’s back to the individual projects.

Rachel announced that her tween daughter turned up her nose at the North Face knock-off hat — with cables! — that her mother had created. We admired the hat and commiserated over the fickle fashion tastes of children.


She’s also working on a luscious infinity scarf for the same daughter. If she doesn’t like this one, I’d invoke the “two strikes and you’re out” rule. Although, given my soft heart and love of knitting, I probably wouldn’t implement said “rule.” I don’t know what yarn she’s using. I’ll check and let you know.


The highlight of the past week, at least for me, was Erin’s first finished project — a small cotton washcloth (or dishcloth) in a variety of stitches: garter, stockinette, seed. She cast on, tinked back to correct errors, switched stitches every once in a while, learned that starting or ending with garter stitch will keep the edge from rolling, and bound off.


She’s justifiably proud, don’t you agree?



Lemons into Lemonade (in a knitting sort of way)

October 18, 2013

Friend Rachel, who’s one of the students in my knitting class, had nearly finished binding off her cotton “butterfly” washcloth when she encountered an extra loopy stitch. You know, the last stitch of a row that can be a bit wonky, the one that can leave you with an extra bump after binding off.

Demonstrating that she really is a fearless knitter (in addition to being an intelligent, generous, and witty woman), Rachel deftly turned that odd stitch into a little loop so as to hang the cloth. Turning a mistake into a design element — love it!


WTF does WYIF mean?

October 16, 2013

Several of the students in my knitting class want to learn how to read a pattern, so I’ve started them off on a delightful cotton washcloth. Washcloths are great first project because (1) there’s a high probability you will finish (unlike a scarf which can be interminable), and (2) they provide ample opportunity for learning new stitches and reading a pattern.

After the first class, Rachel emailed with a question, “I’ve done my 4 rows of seed stitch for the border. Can you tell me what sl5p wyif means?”


This was the ideal opportunity to reinforce a key rule of following a pattern: read the entire pattern before you begin. And take notes, right on the pattern. Rachel did a lovely job of this. See those four checks next to each of the seed stitch border row instructions?

Don’t be shy. Use a highlighter to mark all instructions related to the size you’re making. Circle, flag, or (my favorite) star those details that you want to be sure not to miss — like “do this and that for 16 rows and, at the same time, bind off two stitches at the beginning of each row.”

In the washcloth pattern, as in most patterns, special stitch combinations are defined at the start of the pattern — a pattern-within-a-pattern, of sorts. There it was:

sl5P wyif = slip the next 5 sts as if to purl with yarn at front of work (this forms a yarn strand on the right side of the fabric).

This is the point at which a knitter must speak aloud, slowly and clearly while following the instructions word for word. It usually takes me two or three talk-throughs before I understand what I’m to do. I find it best to do this while alone or at least at home, where I’m less likely to be interrupted by someone asking “what did you say?” Because then I’d have to stop and explain and then start all over again!

Rachel figured it out — while hanging out at her daughter’s soccer game, no less. She even sent a photo when she got home. Look at those bands stretching across 5 stitches!

IMG_00000093 (1)


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