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Dear Ann,

I’ve been jittery all week, overexcited for MDK Summer Camp, which is tomorrow! This summer’s camp theme is dishcloths, my most favorite kind of summer knitting. And we’re not making just any dishcloth, we’re making Lorilee Beltman’s simple, endlessly variable Sinkmates pattern, in a new-and-improved version she cooked up just in time to kick off at camp. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be in the thick of it, happy as clams, cranking out mini-Sinkmates, learning Lorilee’s tips and tricks, and forgetting about the heat and humidity for a few blissful hours.

Although MDK Summer Camp sold out in a hot minute, this is post is not meant to generate FOMO. Rejoice, dishcloth-knitting peoples of the world! Lorilee has just published the Sinkmates Suite pattern on Ravelry, so everyone who wants to join the fun can grab a few skeins of Rowan Handknit Cotton and their needles, and plop down in a shady lawnchair. The pattern includes 8 variations on the basic mitered design, so completionists are in for a really good time. (One version is inspired by the beloved Ballband Dishcloth that started you and me on our dishcloth-knitting path.)

May I Brag?

I mean—who’s gonna stop me? Last spring, in a moment of wild enthusiasm, I volunteered to knit the photography samples for the 4 variations of the Sinkmates Suite pattern that we would be making at MDK Summer Camp. I signed on to knit the 4 full-sized dishcloths, plus the ridiculously cute mini-versions of the cloths that we would be making in camp, to learn the techniques.

In early May, reality finally did catch up to me, and I ended up having to make my 4 full-sized cloths and 4 minis in a matter of days, so that Chris Sharp could take photos of them in Nashville. It was a tight deadline, especially if I didn’t want to send damp knitting in the mail.

I had a fabulous, if slightly feverish, time. As I knit, using the 6 shades of Rowan Handknit Cotton that we included in the camp boxes, I started to wonder: how many cloths and mini-cloths could a person get out of 6 skeins of Rowan Handknit Cotton, if a person wanted to do that?

So I made 8 full-sized cloths, and 8 minis. I was able to make them as written, without resorting to any scrappy strategies.

Here there are on the kitchen table, kinda-sorta-almost dry.

And here they are in Nashville, after Chris worked his magic.

Hey—is it just me, or is our palette Barbie-esque? It’s in the air!

Speaking of scrappy strategies, I’ve still got some scraps in reserve. I’m going to deploy them tomorrow, and see if I can get 4 more minis out of those 6 skeins!



PS Our virtual workshop in August is filling up with happy cowlers! Click below for details.


  • Wait, wait, there is a ballband version!!!! Just got my vacation knitting figured out.

    • I also use fingering weight yarn for my cloths, since I don’t cook with meat or grease, I don’t tend to have a lot of trouble. But I ran some after every use and run them through the dishwasher.

  • I’ve made these with sugar and cream cotton and with regular cotton and they get completely ick as soon as they get wet. Obviously, a kitchen has grease around and even boiling them in a pan with dish soap leaves them, well, icky. Any suggestions as to what kind of yarn to use so it will not be greasy or unwashable?

    • My brother had a small trucking business, & to get the grease out, my SiL would add a cup of ammonia to the wash water. Because it cuts grease

      I have dust mite allergy, & my sheets have to be washed in hot water & ammonia anyway, so I add them to that load

      Also, when you’re done washing dishes, load them up with detergent, squeeze to get it foamy & empty any water, then hang it

    • I find food gets caught in the garter stitches and that’s what makes them FUNKY!

    • I’ve knit dishcloths with all sorts of cottons from $1.99 peaches or sugar and cream bargain balls to leftovers from high end skeins and also from hemp and linen and bamboo blends and I’ve never had a problem with keeping them clean. I rinse and hang after each use and throw them in the washer when needed, usually with a warm wash load. If I remember, I pull them out to hang dry before the load goes in the dryer but the dryer’s fine as long as you don’t use fabric softener every time (reduces absorbency). I’ve used a vinegar/ warm water soak if a cloth gets particularly funky, maybe that would help with greasey ones?

    • I’ve been using cloth dishcloths my whole life, for me the trick is to have a lot of them, so that I can start each cleanup sesh with a fresh cloth and it can go into the laundry basket afterwards. My mom and gran espoused a vigorous wringing technique; so the only time mine get smelly is when somebody else (AHEM) leaves them sitting wet, and then I’m on their case about not knowing how bacteria works!

      • I knit almost all my dishcloths out of fingering cotton. They dry fast over my faucet. They take longer to knit but they are super practical. And they wash up well.

    • I use the scrubby yarns in dark colors. The light colors discolor – permanently.

    • Same. I also have a ton of two different Purl Soho cottons that I’m wondering if I can combine here … though the Rowan cotton looks gorgeous!

      • I have knitted and crocheted several dish clothes. Given them as Christmas gifts to the kids. I always wring out wet cloths. After a day or two – into the washer with the towels. Plan to make some more. Need to some quick gratification. Been working on an Afghan. I need a break.

  • I plan to use my dish cloths as “wash clothes” in the shower. Fun!

    • Have you previously used dish cloths in the bath? I made several cloths for the bath, but haven’t liked using them for that purpose. I love making them for washing dishes. I’m wondering if I’m the only one who doesn’t like these for the bath. All of my “bath cloths” have moved to the kitchen to join my dish cloths.

      • I use a kitchen cotton ball and cloth in the shower for my face. I find it to be textured enough and not rough but linen would be lovely too.

      • I’ve used them before–they’re not bad. I think I’d probably like them in linen for the bath better, but I have yet to try that.

  • What do you do with the minis?

    • I have small hands, I love mini’s.

    • The minis provide a way to get through more learning faster during our class time. I do keep one at my desk for cleaning my screens, and I have another in my actual camping kit for outdoor dishwashing.

      • I have a really dumb question, but here goes. I knit the homework icords for the minis, but am I supposed to do a knitted bind off (looks wierd) or just pull the yarn through the last three stitches? (Both ways are shown online.) I know I am overthinking this – I have counted my stitches umpteen times to make sure I have 12-8-12. Want to be ready for tomorrow!

    • Look at them adoringly while you’re making “squee” sounds!

      • Hah! Yes! 🙂

  • I am excited about camp tomorrow. Had to try it out when I recd my camp box and messed it up the first time (got a triangle instead of a square) but noticed if I followed the directions as written (and not as interpreted by me!) that I got the desired square. Looking forward to tomorrow!!

    • Geometry, right? Wait til you see the crazy one I saved for a “don’t be like me” example for camp class.

      • 😉

  • ooh- ohh, what a little photo stylin’ can doo- ooh (And you know I am buying this sweet suite toDAY for some summer dishcloth production…) bises

  • I am SO EXCITED for tomorrow!

  • I’m going through a tough time and these are the perfect solutions to all of my woes

  • I missed signing up for summer camp (insert bereft sounds). BUT I bought the Sinkmates Suite on Ravelry and will be knitting along in solidarity. There are so many great colors of Rowan Handknit Cotton. Diving right in now.

    • Can’t wait for tomorrow! I like to use dishcloths on the handles of hot lids and to hold my dishwasher open a crack when it finishes. I have learned that if I want to use them as true dishcloths, they have to be ugly. Then I don’t mind if they get stained!

  • I’m very excited for camp tomorrow! I’ve been knitting washcloths for the last two weeks (you can never have enough). I’m doing a modification of the Penrose bag pattern. I gave my daughter the first one, she was thrilled. She’s already trying to figure out which one of the camp washcloths she wants. Hint: whichever one I give her, she knows how to knit, too!

  • I love love love these dishcloths! (and the little grabber cloths).They are totally worthy of Barbie and her dream kitchen.

  • I use them as facecloths knitted with a cotton/linen blend (aka washcloths) in my bathroom. I love them.

    • I make all of my dish cloths from a linen/cotton blend in DK weight. They are less stiff than cotton alone and also dry faster in the dryer. I’ve made dozens of them in this yarn and really like them.

  • I am SO excited about this. I’m so tired of sponges, even the cellulose ones. They just feel wrong. I grew up with my mom and grandmothers using dishcloths. Thanks for all of the ideas in the comments on keeping the knitted dishcloths clean and non-funky!

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