Easy Colorblock Knitted Washcloths (or Dishcloths)

Easy Knitting Colorblock Washcloths-6 designs shown

Whether you use them as dishcloths or as washcloths, knitted squares are a useful and popular project for knitters of all skill levels. Who doesn’t love a beautiful, soft hand-knit cloth to pamper their face, or a cute and sturdy cloth for that thankless chore that is kitchen cleanup?

This collection of six knitted washcloths (or dishcloths) helps you brush up on your knitting skills.  Links to video tutorials help you with unfamiliar techniques. 

Easy Knitting Colorblock Washcloths or Discloths-6 designs shown

With these patterns, knitting garter stitch was never so rewarding! Relax into the meditative rhythm of all-over knit stitches and enjoy the beauty of color. 

Beginning knitters will be comfortable knitting stripes, then progress to knitting on the bias. After that, step up to the joy that is a mitered square. Garter stitch intarsia techniques take you from beginning to intermediate skills in easy steps. There’s no purling needed!

This post contains affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra. Many thanks to Trailhead Yarns, who provided the yarn for this project. 

Easy Knitted Colorblock Washcloths by Edie Eckman- rolled up

The free pattern for the easiest cloth, Team Colors, is presented below. Buy a printable downloadable pdf of all six patterns, and knit your cares away.

CTA Buy the Pattern

The Yarn

Use a cotton or cotton-blend fine- or light-weight yarn to make these soft and absorbent projects. The pattern calls for five colors, so this is a perfect time to try out a colorful pack of mini skeins!

Basket of 5 colors of yarn ready to knit

For the cloths pictured I used Trailhead Yarns Appalachian Trail Yarn Crew mini-skeins. Appalachian Trail is 65% cotton, 35% nylon. I used about 108 yds [99 m] each of five colors to complete all six washcloths. 

Other knitters who tested the pattern had good success with Cascade Ultra Pima Fine, Ultra Pima DK, or Premier Yarns Cotton Fair.


Finished Dimensions

The finished size will vary based on the yarn and needles you use, and your particular gauge. The washcloths shown measure about 6 3/4″ [17 cm] square. 

Size is not crucial in this project, but if you substitute yarns, choose a needle size that results in a fabric that is not too dense and not too loose.

Easy Colorblock Washcloths arranged in a basket

Materials

Fine-weight yarn: approximately 40 yds [36.5 m] each of two colors (Color A & Color B) for the Team Colors cloth below.

US size 2 [3 mm] knitting needles or size to obtain appropriate gauge

Gauge

30 sts and 22 rows = 4″ [10 cm] in garter stitch in fine-weight yarn

See note above about gauge.

Instructions

Team Colors

With Color A, long-tail cast on 50 stitches.

Rows 1-23: Knit. You have 12 garter stitch ridges. Cut A.

Rows 24-75: WIth Color B, knit. You have 26 garter stitch ridges in B, Cut B.

Rows 76-99: With Color A, knit. You have 12 garter stitch ridges in A. 

Bind off. Weave in ends. 

What’s Next?

Knit: Basics & Beyond offers links to help you improve your knitting skills.

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

My First Scarf
Easy Two-Toned Pillow
Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

Join a New Yarn with Standing Crochet Stitches

Standing Double Crochet

Standing Double Crochet
Standing Double Crochet

A standing crochet stitch allows you to join a new yarn or a new color invisibly.  The technique is easy as pie, even for beginners. Once you see it, you’ll never go back to “join with slip stitch, chain” again!

Read on for more information and how to work standing single crochet, standing double crochet, and standing half double crochet. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the video tutorials.

What is a standing crochet stitch?

A standing crochet stitch is just a term for any stitch that has started “in the air” rather than from a previous stitch. You simply begin with a slip knot on the hook, then make the stitch called for in the pattern.

You can use standing stitches anytime you would otherwise join the yarn with a slip stitch, then do a turning chain or build-up chain to reach the level of the current (or new) row of stitches.

Why “standing”?

While the technique itself has been around for a long time, a lot of crocheters don’t know about it. In patterns, the instructions would be “Join (yarn) with sc in first st,”, or “Join (yarn) with dc in first st.” They were just telling you to do this standing stitch technique.

When I was writing Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, my research didn’t turn up a a generally accepted term for the technique, so I called them standing stitches because they stand on their own without relying on a turning or build-up chain to connect them to the piece in progress.

I think that, by labeling the technique and having it become commonly used, we can help spread the information to crocheters everywhere.

Standing Single Crochet

Standing single crochet
Standing single crochet

To work a standing single crochet, begin with a slip knot on the hook, then work a single crochet into the stitch or space indicated in the pattern, as follows:

Standing single crochet step 1
Standing single crochet Steps 1 & 2

Step 1: Begin with a slip knot on the hook.

Step 2: Insert hook into first stitch.

Standing single crochet Step 3
Standing single crochet Step 3

Step 3: Yarn over and pull up a loop. Continue reading “Join a New Yarn with Standing Crochet Stitches”

Knitting Pattern: Molly Hat

Molly Hat Knitting Pattern by Edie Eckmandie Eckman

Molly Hat image

The Molly Hat is a joyous combination of pattern and color. Watch cheerful zig-zags appear when you pair bold variegated yarn with a ripple stitch knitting pattern. It uses several easy-to-master knitting techniques and is well within the reach of beginning knitters willing to try something new. You can’t help but be happy with your cheery chevrons!

MollyGirl Colorway Stutter

One Skein Love

I love love love one-skein projects, especially ones that use one-of-a-kind yarns or colorways. This design was a happy coincidence. I was preparing a new knitting class, Re-Imagining Ripples, and needed to make some class samples. I had just been gifted a “Crazy Hat Skein” of MollyGirl yarn in bright blues and greens: colorway Stutter. It really worked, and as you can see in the photos, it looks great on my friend Sarah.

Learn (or Teach) a New Skill

Knit the hat in the round on circular and double-point needles, or use your choice of alternative in-the-round methods like two circulars or Magic Loop.

For beginners who are comfortable with the knit stitch, this is the perfect next-step project. You’ll learn to knit in the round—a vital skill—and you’ll learn 3 types of decreases and two types of increases. Intermediate and advanced knitters will love the rhythm of the stitching and the portability of the project.

Knitting teachers, this one’s for you, too. Incorporate all those techniques into a class for your students. They’ll master those skills in just a couple of weeks, and you’ll all be proud!

The Yarn

The Crazy Hat Skein I used is less than a full skein of MollyGirl Rock Star worsted weight yarn, but I call for a full skein in the pattern because I’m not sure that the Crazy Hat Skeins are readily available. It took me all of the 150 yards [137 m] I had available, so be sure to check your gauge carefully.

You could use any worsted weight yarn with good results. The pattern is available from Ravelry.

What will your Molly Hat look like? Share your photos on my Facebook page.

CTA Buy the Pattern

Teach a Young Child to Knit

How old should a child be before they can learn to knit with knitting needles? Is six too young? What do you do when your four-year-old asks to learn to knit? How do you successfully teach a young child to knit? That was the dilemma facing me 20+ years ago.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide me a bit of income but don’t cost you anything.

Knitting Prerequisites

Past experience trying to teach a seven-year-old niece made me wary of introducing knitting too soon. I was trying to figure out how to say, “Sorry, you’re too young to learn” without squashing her dreams when her dad chimed in with, “When you learn to tie your shoes, Mommy will teach you to knit.”

A perfect answer! Tying shoes requires manual dexterity and is a great pre-requisite for knitting. Whew! This was going to buy me some time, or so I thought.

For kids, success in learning to knit has more to do with the student than the teacher. Knitting or crocheting takes a combination of (1) interest, (2) manual dexterity and (3) concentration—the ability to sit still and pay attention. Those things are going to happen at entirely different times for different children. There’s no point in trying to teach a child who doesn’t want to learn; it will just frustrate the teacher and the student.

An Historical Perspective

The Little Knitters by Albert Anker {{PD-1923}}

In days of yore, children learned to knit at a much younger age then they do today. In some cultures children as young as four knit socks, both to sell and to keep the family warm. During the World Wars, children knit for the troops. Take a look at the work of Swiss artist Albert Anker for adorable paintings of young people knitting.

Of course, modern children don’t have to knit socks out of necessity, but does that mean they can’t, if they want to?


The First Lesson

At home, said pre-schooler went off to school and returned three hours later with the news that she had learned to tie her shoes. Prove it, I said. She did. She had prevailed on a classmate—the youngest of eight—to teach her. Apparently when you have seven older siblings you learn life skills early.

A promise is a promise; now I had to deliver a knitting lesson. Armed with a couple of size 10 Brittany double-pointed needles with rubber bands wrapped around the ends, a partial ball of Lopi—the only bulky wool I had at the time—and six stitches cast on, we got started. Using the “In through the front door” mantra, I demonstrated, then gave her the needles and guided her hands. After a couple of rows, she took over, and I was amazed at how quickly she got it. Having her say the mantra every time really helped.

What I didn’t remember until recently was that I made a videotape that afternoon! It’s not high quality, but here’s little Margaret knitting her first project—a doll scarf. Some of it is captioned. Note that with barely-3-year-old Little Brother chiming in at 1:04 with “Out of the…” (in response to “In through the front door”) and at 1:56 with “Once around the…”, he was on his way to learning the basics, as well.



Does It Last?

You might wonder if learning to knit at a young age means the child will continue knitting. My best advice here is not to worry about that. If the child is interested, they may keep going, but chances are the interest will be fleeting, and they’ll move on to learning other skills. After all, it’s a child’s job to gather experiences and explore as much as they can. They may even take a long hiatus and come back to the fiber arts in one way or another years later. Your job as a teacher is to encourage the exploration.

Teach Child to Knit Beginner Scarf
A first project. Notice how it gets much better toward the end.

Did little Margaret stick with knitting? The answer is no and yes. She finished the first project to her satisfaction, and then knitted one or two things over the next few years, but nothing that you’d call a Real Project.

Fast forward to college life. Knitting and crocheting was popular and knowing how to do both meant an immediate way to bond with a new group of people. Fiber skills eventually got her a job at Red Heart*. so that early knitting lesson did pay off in the long run!

*She’s no longer with the company, but she’s still knitting and crocheting.

Tips for Teaching Kids

  • Stay positive!
  • Keep the lessons short, relaxed, and focused on what they want to make.
  • Plan for immediate success. 5-6 stitches per row allows the work to grow quickly. You’ll have a belt, a headband, a doll scarf, a coin purse or a friendship bracelet without worrying about gauge.
  • Kids aren’t interested in perfection; they just want to explore new skills. Unlike adults, they are used to being in a learning mode all the time, and they will be happy to be making something even if it has holes and wobbly edges.
  • If the child loses interest, don’t push it. They’ll learn when they are ready.
  • If handling needles is too intimidating, try finger knitting until dexterity matures.


Resources

Read Larcenous Knitting Rhymes and Other Poetry


Sara Delaney Talks DIY Crochet Design + Giveaway

Design Your Own Crochet Projects Sara Delaney

Storey Publishing provided a copy of Design Your Own Crochet Projects for my review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. This page may contain affiliate links, which help support me, but don’t cost you anything extra.

If you’ve been following the blog tour for Design Your Own Crochet Projects, you’ve already heard from others about how Sara Delaney has made crochet design accessible. How she walks you through the process of using gauge swatches and plug-in templates, How she makes it easy to create your own crocheted accessories. How she provides a small stitch dictionary (cheering here!) to get you started.


Design Your Own Crochet Projects worksheetThose things are all great and important, but did you hear about the Online Crochet Project Calculator? Read the book to learn about the design process, and move on over to the calculator, and let it do the math for you. You must check this out!

image (c)JSipe

If you have been designing by the seat of your pants (i.e., try this, rip it out, try something else, rip it out, try another thing, now it’s kind of OK), Design Your Own Crochet Projects is the book you need. It has templates for socks, scarves, cowls, hats, mittens and gloves.

Design Your Own Crochet Projects Sara Delaney back coverI was lucky enough to see an early draft of the book, and was honored to be invited to write a back-cover blurb! I’m excited to see a good crochet design resource hit the market. I’m just sorry I didn’t think of writing it! Sara got to it first, and I’m happy for her.

 

Edie Eckman, Sara Delaney and Judith Durant

In October, I spent a couple of days at the Merritt Bookstore booth at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. And guess who was standing next to me all weekend? Designer/Author Sara Delaney! We didn’t have a lot of time to chat, but we did find a few minutes in a semi-quiet corner, where she could explain what makes Design Your Own Crochet Projects awesome. Watch the video for Sara’s low-down on stepping into crochet design.

Want to win a copy for yourself? Leave a comment below telling which part of crochet design you find the most challenging. One comment per person. A winner will be selected at random from the comments on November 20, 2017. U.S. and Canada residents only.

For other crochet design resources, check out this page.

Continue reading “Sara Delaney Talks DIY Crochet Design + Giveaway”