Okay, here's a little post that might be embarrassing for me to share with you. But if we can all act like adults, then it will be fine!
Slowly, over the last few years or so, I've been growing increasingly environmentally aware, as I think many of us have been. There are so many messages in the media about climate change and consumerism causing terrible damage to our Earth. As a result, I've been finding myself switching off everything at the plug or even unplugging items when not in use, recycling like a madman, turning the heaters down, and so on.
A friend back in Vienna sent me a present of a dishcloth a few months ago and I had been using it in the sauna for a while as a gentle scrubber, when one day it came to my mind that I could use it as...toilet paper. Loo paper, bog roll, toot paper, call it what you will, it all does the same job and we all need to use it from time to time!
Sorry Sarah! I'm sure that when you were making that pretty purple dishcloth, you weren't intending me to do this with it!!
Now, it's important to note that I'm only talking about using dishcloths as a replacement for toilet paper when one makes, let's say 'a short trip to the bathroom'. For 'long trips to the bathroom', I don't feel that dishcloths are appropriate and I think that most of you will aggree with me.
So after a 'short trip' to the bathroom, I always give the cloth a good rinse and hang it to dry over the heater in the bathroom and so it's usually dry by the next time I need it. When I first started using it, I was worried that it might start to smell after a while, but I can confidently say that it emits no foul odours!
So now that I've been using my 'toilet cloth' happily for a while, new ideas have started popping into my head about what one can do with the humble dishcloth. I'm aware that many folks use them as facewashers, and I myself have a couple of hand towels that are in regular rotation.
But what about an old-fashioned handkerchief?
When I walk outside in the cold for anything longer than a couple of minutes, my nose starts to drip, and I've found myself either using a tissue, or, if a tissue can't be found, a mitten - ew!!! (what a horrible thing to admit...but I know that I'm not the only guilty one!) So instead of wasting a tissue or making my mittens all yucky, why not make a really nice cloth handkerchief? And it can just be rinsed out at the end of the day and be right as rain the next day for more nose-wiping adventures.
The way I see it, it's a win-win situation. Cloths can be used time and time again, so there's no paper being thrown away, and they're enjoyable to make!
There are so many lovely patterns, they're small, quick and generally easy to make. Another good thing about making dishcloths is that you can use them as a form of technique practice. It doesn't have to be fancy; you can even make simple garter stitch squares, but concentrate on your tension or perfect a new knitting method (see this post for the knitting method that I'm practising!). They're wonderfully portable, you can experiment with new stitches, or, if all else fails, they're good for using up those scrap yarns. Last but not least, they're nice as little gifts for special people. :-)
Cotton is a good fiber to use for these projects, and a nice tight tension is best for top absorption.
Alright, without further ado, here are a few nice patterns from the net, all of which are free, and fotos which aren't mine but the appropriate credit is given to the creators.
This round dishcloth designed by Amy Carpenter, is free here.
Foto thanks to Adelle (find her here on Ravelry)
These butterfly cloths, designed by Nicole Randome of Purple Duckie, are free here.
Foto thanks to Jamie (find her here on Ravelry)
This doily style dishcloth, by designer unknown, is free here.
Foto thanks to Cheryl (find her here on Ravelry)
This gartrelac dishcloth is from Criminy Jickets, and is free here.
Foto thanks to Diamond (find her here on Ravelry)
This ripple dishcloth, designed by Leanne from To Knit is Divine, is free here.
Foto thanks to Vicki (find her here on Ravelry)
These crazy dishcloths designed by Kimberly, are free here.
Fotos thanks to Kimberly (find her on Ravelry here)