I’m wildly excited for our upcoming dishcloth knitalong. I’m going to try to keep a lid on it and stick to the information you will need to join the fun, but no guarantees: the dishcloth and dishcloth-adjacent ideas keep coming, so I might digress.
Who Is this Knitalong For?
—If you like a quick summer project that won’t get you over-insulated
—If you like practical knitting that helps get the chores done
—If you’re between big projects and looking for a quick hit of Something Completely Different
—If you used to subscribe to the Dishcloth Calendar in the early oughts, when that was a (glorious) thing
—If you like trying new stitch patterns in a small format
—If you momentarily or permanently lack gumption for knitting Things That Are Not Square
—If you have a dwindling stash of handknit gifts suitable to accompany a bar of fancy soap
—If humble handmade dishcloths remind you of a beloved balabusta or battle axe from your childhood
—If you identify strongly with Cinderella
—If you’re looking for fun times with fun knitters
. . . then the Kitchen Sink-along is for you!
What Will We Knit?
Dishcloths and other handy, homely items for scullery or spa.
Any pattern is eligible. We have a few ideas for you, and we welcome your suggestions. The fun of this will be in the exchange of dishcloth wonders and marvels, so get ready to share!
If you’ve never knit a dishcloth before, or are looking for ideas, here are a few for starters.
Grandma’s Favorite (top right, white). This one needs no pattern, but if you want a pattern, you’ll find it in Skill Set: Beginning Knitting, simply because it’s the best way we know to teach a new knitter how increases and decreases change the shape of knitting. This is my favorite washcloth for babies, a great way to welcome a newborn.
The mighty mighty Ballband. (the ones on the left). It’s called the Ballband Dishcloth because we first found it in real small print on the inside of the label of a ball of dishcloth cotton. We loved it so much that we sent the pattern and two balls of cotton out to editors with our very first book proposal, so they’d know who they were dealing with. I’ve knit a quizillion of them. My favorite ballband recipe these days is the mini one I learned from Nashville’s own Kelley Dew: cast on 33 stitches, and work 9 rows of “bricks.” It’s quick to knit, quick to dry, and cute as heck.
The latest and greatest. This one did not start out as a dishcloth pattern, but it’s a dishcloth now! While traveling, I was knitting on Nancy Marchant’s Honeycomb Scarf from MDK Field Guide No. 21: Brioche. As the broken rib brioche stitch pattern emerged, it struck me that its reversibility, suave density, tidy edges, and ultra-flatness made a perfect fabric for dishcloths, hand towels, place mats—even rugs. It’s so good, and good fun to knit. For the dishcloth pictured above in green and white, I cast on 33 stitches, and from there I followed the Honeycomb Scarf pattern exactly. This one is in Rowan Handknit Cotton, my go-to dishcloth yarn. But I’m also seeing it in Euroflax Mini-skeins, for that ultra-classy, heirloom washcloth people love to get as a gift. You know, the one where they say, “But it’s too pretty to use!” And you say, “Oh shucks,” but secretly you agree: it’s too pretty.
Linoleum Dishcloth. (top center). I’d almost forgotten about this one, until this one arrived in the mail from a sweet pal. And now I want to get my mosaic knitting groove on and make a stack of them again.
Log Cabin Cloths. This series of 6 cloths for kitchen or bath is designed to teach all the essential skills of log cabin knitting. Find them in MDK Field Guide No. 4: Log Cabin. (The Ninepatch with Miters is particularly good for using up tiny leftovers.)
Bodhi Leaf Washcloth. Speaking of linen! These lovely leafies are so fun to crank out. You can size them up a bit by making them in Handknit Cotton or Creative Linen, hardy and long-wearing alternatives to the hardy and long-wearing Euroflax Mini Skeins.
There are so many other good choices. Share your favorites!
The official start date is July 15, and we will go for two weeks, through July 29.
To join the fun, just start knitting dishcloths. No sign-up is necessary. All yarns are welcome, and we have some great ones in the MDK Shop, which has always been a dishcloth-friendly place.
To be eligible for prize drawings, post a photo (as many as you like), either in the MDK Lounge, or on Instagram, where the official hashtag will be #MDKDishclothKAL, so be sure you use that tag. Once you’ve covered the official one, feel free to hashtag your heart out. I particularly like #morningdishies (thanks, Katharine, for that one) and #kitchensinkalong.
Frequently Asked Questions
No kidding, we’ve already been asked these questions, and I’m sure there will be more as July 15 approaches.
Can we start knitting now? Yes! Pregame this thing! As long as you post your photos by July 29, you’ll be in the running for prizes. The more people knitting, the merrier, so get the word out by sharing your dishcloths with the world. Don’t sleep on a finished dishcloth.
Does it have to be dishcloths? Nope! As long as you stick to the handy home knits and homely hand knits, you’re good. We’ve specifically okayed: hand towels, soap holder thingies, scrubbies, potholders, and swiffer covers, and heaven help us but somebody surely will knit a cozy for their toaster oven. We’re interpreting dishcloth as a broad, conceptual category. No sweaters, though, unless you plan to lie down and mop the floors with your body—and we’d want independent documentation of that.
Is crochet okay? Given the storied history of crochet in the home, and specifically in the kitchen, we say yes. Crochet away! This is a chance to learn crochet, to practice crochet, and to celebrate crochet, one of the best ways to play with yarn. For one thing, it would be hard to make a toilet paper cozy in the shape of a ballgown, with a Barbie in it, without crochet-based engineering. We’re not going to stand in the way of that.
Prizes? The prize offerings are still in formation, but we can say this: they will be different from other KAL prizes. We’re talking heavily thematic, domestic arts-oriented prizes here. We don’t rule out spin mops, fancy rubber gloves, and other humble necessities of life. Think: O-Cedar. Casabella. Barkeeper’s Friend. Maybe some OXO if we’re feeling upscale. The main goal is to make ourselves laugh.
And knit a ton of dishcloths.
Prize awards will be more or less random, but things that always catch our eye are: quantity, quality, novelty, rarity, absurdity, and most importantly: joie de vivre. It’s hard to define, but we know dishcloth joy when we see it.
People, get ready. A dishcloth knitalong is coming. Prepare ye the cotton, the linen, and the cotton-linen blend yarns, fire up the percolator, and let’s get going!