Dishing on the cloth
Wednesday July 23rd 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

I ran a quick errand yesterday and then turned my car over to my daughter–and after she’d left, I realized I’d left my knitting bag in there.  I’d been going to block that project last night, she didn’t get home till late… ! But it’s just as well.  If the recipient saw it here, it would instantly tip her off. She knows that yarn, and she knows me.  Later.

I got a message this morning: the hubby was stopping by in, oh, about 45 minutes, with some friends from work.  Just so I knew.

It is amazing how fast the knitting can get ditched and the cleaning get done when need be.

And so I shall tell you of this dishcloth, (now that they’ve come and gone), well faded in its old age.  Just don’t look too closely at the back of it right now.ditched sweater dishcloth

Back when my kids were in elementary school, I had a friend empty her closet of all her yarns and give them to me–seven bags’ worth, including large garbage-sized bags.  She told me good wool yarn was cheap in her native Germany, that she’d bought a lot over the years during various trips home, but she’d decided she was just never going to actually use it.  (The ironic thing now is that she recently got back into knitting, now that she has grandchildren to make cute things for.)

I in turn knew a young single mom of very little means who loved to knit, and asked the friend giving me the yarn if this would be okay with her; she was thrilled with the idea.  So.  Having once lived in grad-student-wife poverty, knowing what it was like to only be able to wish to make nice things, I in turn gave a lot of that yarn to this young mom: knowing I could replace what I liked and that here was a one-time opportunity to let her have some really nice materials to work with without feeling like a charity case from me.  Good yarns, with pride kept intact.  Perfect.

But I did keep a few nubbly-textured cotton skeins, and this was at a time I was doing a lot of Kaffe Fassett-style multicolor work.  So. I started into a cotton sweater.  I wanted to wear it to visibly show my friend I was grateful for her generosity.  Because I certainly was.

The further along I got, the more I dragged.  Too wide.  Didn’t want to frog it.  Not quite my colors.  Nubbly, I realized, was just not my style anyway.  Finally, I was reading the Knitlist one day, and someone there said something about knitting dishcloths. My first reaction was, why on earth would anyone put in the effort to knit something to get all grubby and gross in the kitchen?

My second was a sense of relief at the thought, that, I don’t have to knit that sweater anymore!  I can totally justify and make good use of the work I’ve already put into it!  Hey!

I intended to frog it down to the beginning of the armscye, but in a fit of why-should-I-be-patient-with-this-anymore, simply cast off right where it was.  And ever since then, I have had this, um, unique dishcloth. It really was a nice bit of intarsia work once.  You can’t really tell anymore.

Someone mentioned that bamboo yarns have anti-microbial properties, so I guess they would work well as dishcloths.  I can see that. I just haven’t been able to make myself try it yet.  Knitting one, so far, has been enough.  It works for me.

And you should see my kitchen right now.  The hubby’s co-workers did.

8 Comments so far
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The collective subconscious must be at work again, my next project is a knit dish towel. I know it pains some to clean with knitting, but I’d really rather do that than waste paper towels.

Sometimes a project must be stopped. I have more than a few items that should have been cast off and turned into waste receptacles.

Comment by Michelle 07.23.08 @ 3:37 pm

That was a nice gesture to give all that yarn to your friend! I always appreciate it when someone dis stuff like that for me when I didn’t have a whole lot.

Comment by Amanda 07.23.08 @ 5:01 pm

Alison, I feel like you do. I want to give only quality yarn as gifts or knit with quality yarns for presents.

Great story!

Comment by Joansie 07.23.08 @ 5:45 pm

One of my most treasured possessions is a knitted cotton washcloth, with a purled heart. It came as a gift from a far-away friend with a cake of hand-made rose and lavender-scented soap that made silky soft bubbles. It arrived not long after I left my first husband, and I felt loved every time I used it. The soap is long gone, but the washcloth is kept for any time I need to wash some sadness or pain away.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.23.08 @ 5:49 pm

To think of all the hours of knitting fun (not to mention how many garments it was made into) you gave the young mother..very cool. 🙂

Your “dishcloth” is quite unique. I knitted over 100 last year ’cause I just couldn’t stop myself. Sigh. I’m better now. 😉

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 07.24.08 @ 5:14 am

Me, cotton, and dishcloths seem to have a love hate relationship with each other 🙂 I dont like knitting them and cotton bothers my hands so we purchase our dishcloths for 2bucks for 15or so dishcloths and I knit what I like 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 07.24.08 @ 5:56 am

Thank you. I didn’t think anyone else understood why I don’t care to knit dish/wash-cloths. I most certainly can’t imagine using sweet, soft bamboo for a “rag.”

Comment by Channon 07.24.08 @ 11:44 am

Aww cute story. I def. know about grad student poverty. True that.

Comment by Alicia 07.24.08 @ 2:02 pm

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