Dish Cloth Pattern
The pattern I currently use for the dishcloths I make is:
Cast on 6
Rows 1-3: Knit, slipping the first stitch.
Row 4: Slip first stitch, knit 2, yarn over (yo), knit to end
Continue row 4 until you have 50 stitches on your needle
Next row: Slip 1, knit 1, k2tog (Knit 2 together), yo, K2tog
Continue this pattern until you have 6 stitch left on your needles
Knit 3 rows
If you want, you can create a hook by chaining 30 stitches with a crochet hook and attaching before cutting thread. If you do not have a crochet hook you can make a plait or just tie a strand the appropriate length in place.
The pattern is pretty simple and easy to remember, it is a slightly adapted version from a very popular one online. Whilst it is quite easy being not just simple knit stitch is quite hard to teach just using an instruction booklet, whilst in person it would be possible. It is still though a begineer level project. It is always my suggestion for a first knit as it is so simple and practical, whilst not too big of a project, such as a scarf.
I considered whether making it as a starter kit where you simply plain knit a square would be a good idea instead of having it as beginner. My first issue is that it takes a long time to cast on, compared to 6 stitches they would need 35 to make a square a similar size. Plain knitting (garter stitch) is not as attractive overall as a square and is just very plain. I find that it gets very dull knitting garter stitch and found I was wishing the dishcloth to be over much earlier than it was. People also tend to cast off quite tight on their first knits before learning the technique or other methods. This does not matter on 6 stitches but on 35 it could really alter the shape of the dishcloth. In the past I have bound an item off too tight and it is so disheartening after spending so long on a project.
It is a much simpler pattern-
Cast on 35
Knit 50 rows or until square
One of my big issues with this kit idea is I do think that learning to knit is best taught through books, but instead via videos or in person. It also almost always excludes left-handed people who cannot move the yarn the same way.
Videos are not an option for me, I know my voice is difficult to understand and I also have a lot of scars on my hands which would be distracting. It is also a very overdone area with thousands of videos existing where people teach you how to knit and I would not be adding anything different by making my own.
Testing these have meant I am confident in setting the kit as a basic level kit instead of as beginner or learn to knit as it is not the best method to learn and the difference in patterns greatly effects the quality of the product created.
I looked into how much yarn to provide and possible sourcing of them and other materials. A dishcloth takes 25g to make and you can buy balls this size. Balls this size are also available in a wide range of colours but cost a similar amount as many 50g balls or the 100g cheap dishcloth cotton balls. 25g seemed too little to be in a pack when it would need all of the rest and would not allow for mistakes or if anything went wrong. As the idea of the yarn is being sustainable the source of the yarn would be more important than the quantity. I then looked for recycled yarn and found Rainbow cotton yarn
This yarn was all suitable for dishcloths and the wide variety of colours was great. All the yarn is oeko-tex certified and more information on this was aavailible at-
The OEKO-TEX® certification demonstrates that the yarn is free from harmful substances and made in a sustainable way, reducing the negative impact on the environment.
I looked for needles as I knew bamboo ones would the ones needed for beginners in the packs. Bamboo needles are great as they do not bend like plastic pairs and have good grip so the stitches are unlikely to slip off. As you gain experience as a knitter your needle choice changes to suit you, and can even vary depending on yarn or project.
I was unable to find any 4mm bamboo needles at a suitable price online. I know that you can buy pairs for £1 in Poundland yet was unable to find any at this price, even before delivery.
The yarn ordered put a kibosh on this for over a month as I wanted to try with friends researching what instructions and guidance was needed, but it took over a month for the yarn to arrive, rather than the 4-6 days I had paid for. This was very frustrating. I already had new 4mm bamboo needles from magazines and bought from Sue Ryder whenever they came in in new packs.
All these issues that where arising due to lockdown made me realise just how much this works in person and not online. Whenever I have told people about dish cloths I have had to sell them to them, promoting there qualities. It is not a kit that somebody would seek out online, and would probably skim past. I am not able to sell them in person for a long time. The majority of people are unable to knit but as sustainiblity is a growing concern teaching sessions in person as a workshop, especially if promoted at appropriate venues would be the best option.
I do always knit dishcloths and decide to vary up whilst simplifying the pattern slightly by integrating some simple crochet. Cast on 4 like before, slip 1 and then inc into the second stich before knitting to end. Repeat this until there are 42 stictches in total. Then start slipping 1, knit to tog and then knit to end until 4 stitches. Cast off. This leaves a much planer edge on the dishcloth but is neaher overall and simpler to remember. To make it look more attractive I then crochet around the edge, with a 20 chain at one corner for a hook, using different colour cotton. This I think looks smarter and more attractive than the other method and is actually simpler, but you need to be able to crochet to do it which stops most people.
In Dave Lynches talk he mentioned how if he isn’t going to be paid his day rate he needs to feel passionate enough about what he is going to do, and want to do it enough, to do it for free. I think that this was really useful advice with the dishcloths, as I feel passionate about them but people will never pay an amount that is liveable for my time, instead I should use them as promotional pieces or loving gifts, so as not to devalue my self-worth.