I have knit a washcloth.
It’s a very nice one, and it only took a little while last night, and I think it’s quite pretty and lovely and I had planned to make it for a while. I plan to make quite a few of them actually. I ordered a cone of Sugar and Cream cotton to do it – I’m telling you that so I’m clear that this wasn’t a whim. Yesterday I decided it was as good a time as any to start churning out a stack of them, and two things happened. First, a knitting friend of mine asked what I was making while we were on the phone. "A washcloth" I told her, and then she didn’t say anything. "A nice one." I said, still waiting for her to answer. Finally, after what I suspect was the amount of time it took her to pick herself up off her DPNs, she said "Is it lace entrelac or something?"
Fast forward about an hour, and my mum was here for supper. After we ate, I fetched my knitting out to the garden and she asked what I was making. "A washcloth" I answered, and spread it out for her to see.
"Oh." She said, and I watched her search for words. "Isn’t that a bit…rudimentary for you?"
That was two people inside of an hour shocked I would be making a washcloth, and you know, that surprises me a bit. I like a feat of knitterly-daring-do as much as the next knitter, and I’m experienced enough to pull of whatever I like (I think) but why would that mean that I left the world of simple things behind? I dream of giving away stacks of lovely, hand knit washcloths this Christmas, tied up with pretty ribbon and paired with lovely soaps, and I can tell you exactly why.
In my mother’s bathroom (and lots of other bathrooms in our extended family) there is a small pile handknit washcloths. I made them about ten years ago, and they’ve enjoyed just about constant use since. They are totally ratty and used up, and that flatters me as a knitter. Who wouldn’t want their work appreciated almost daily? She loves them. Same goes for my Aunt Yvonne – she’d rather use a handknit one over a store bought, she thinks they’re nicer, wash better and last longer, and I think she’s right. What’s nicer than a hand-knit thing that you can pitch in with the towels on wash day?
I love surrounding myself (and other people) with useful, beautiful handmade things that are long lasting, high quality and remind people that knitted stuff isn’t just window dressing. So, why not knit a washcloth?
(PS. Because someone will ask, and even though I swear you don’t need a pattern, here goes. Using worsted weight cotton and 4.5mm needles, cast on some stitches. I use about 30-35, but this one is 31. Choose a stitch pattern you like. This one is Bee Stitch, but you can do ANYTHING. Whatever goes in the middle, I like garter stitch borders, because I like them nice and square and finished looking. I knit six rows, then keep the first and last three stitches in garter throughout. Knit until it’s just about a square, then knit six rows. Cast off. Glory in the useful thing you have wrought. Ignore naysayers. They don’t understand how useful your skills are going to be after the zombie apocalypse. They’ll be washing their faces with rags and leaves while begging us for a washcloth. We will be as Gods.)