Lord, accept my gratitude for the time, materials, skill and physical ability to make this humble dishcloth.
May it help bring cleanliness and order into the life of the one who uses it, and through this may it bring them peace and calm.
Have you ever noticed how both knitting* and washing dishes are calming? For me, both activities are contemplative and restorative for my soul. They are windows of opportunity to reflect and express my gratitude for blessings received. I suppose that’s why dishcloths are one of my favourite projects. I’ve written before about how each project represents a block of time – they are time made tangible – and I feel like my quiet time has also been productive. But that is not my focus today. It’s about how making and using such a humble object has many benefits, both to the maker and the user. There’s a particularly satisfying twist if you’ve made your own dish scrubby or cloth, exactly how you like it.
I pray when I knit and when I do the dishes. I pray at other times also, but these two activities are recurring themes in my life. It’s a way for me to ground myself and regain perspective, during a humble activity, with humble objects. The dishes never end, and neither will my need for humble, utilitarian objects like my dishcloth.
So what do these two activities have in common? Both use repetitive motions that are easily done while your brain is on “auto-pilot”, freeing your mind to wander and relax. Both are also done in relative comfort (gazing out the kitchen window, or, relaxing on the couch.) For knitting, this only holds true if you are working an easy pattern that can be memorized, not some crazy all-over cable or intricate lace pattern. The patterns I post here have easy stitch repeats and basic stitches.
Knitting has been used as therapy in the past and is widely regarded as a way to improve mental health. I personally find it a great help for reducing anxiety and depression. I’m also not the only one who finds washing dishes therapeutic – Mark Mason wrote about it in this article, The Tao of Washing Up, in The Spectator: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-tao-of-washing-up
*I use the term knitting loosely – I feel the same sense of calm when I crochet.
Here’s an easy pattern for a dishcloth. May you, the knitter, find a sense of calm and peace as you work this pattern and satisfaction with the finished object.
Candy Sprinkles Basketweave Dishcloth
Knitting needles: 3.75mm
Yarn: Any cotton, medium/worsted (4) weight yarn, such as Bernat Handicrafter. Shown here with Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Twists in Candy Sprinkles. My sample used nearly all of one 1.5oz/42.5 gram ball.
Gauge: Approximately 22 stitches and 34 rows to 4 inches square. Gauge is not critical, but try to work tightly to make a firm and durable fabric. Use smaller needles than the ball band indicates.
Finished size: Approx. 8.25″ wide by 8.5″ high.
Basketweave pattern: This pattern is a multiple of 5 stitches and 5 rows. To make a wider (or narrower) cloth, use a multiple of 5 stitches. To make the cloth longer, work in multiples of 5 rows.
Cast on 45 stitches.
Rows 1-6: knit. These rows form the bottom garter-stitch border.
Row 7: (Knit 5, purl 5) four times. Knit last 5 stitches.
Row 8: (Purl 5, knit 5) four times. Purl last 5 stitches.
Row 9: repeat row 7.
Row 10: repeat row 8.
Row 11: repeat row 7.
You have now finished the first basketweave “band” of five rows.
Row 12: (Knit 5, purl 5) four times. Knit last 5 stitches. This is the same as row 7 but just in case, I wrote it out again.
Row 13: (Purl 5, knit 5) four times. Purl last 5 stitches.
Row 14: repeat row 12.
Row 15: repeat row 13.
Row 16: repeat row 12.
You have now finished the second basketweave “band” of five rows.
Continue in this manner until the cloth has 12 “bands” of basketweave stitch, as in the photo above. This will be 60 rows of basketweave pattern.
Top border: knit the next five rows. Bind off knitwise, fasten off and weave in ends.