Cotton in the kitchen

ELOOOmanator's diagonal knit dishcloth

My fascination for dishcloths continues…I am trying to make things from my Ravelry queue nowadays, and this has been on it for a while now. It’s a variation on the diagonal knit pattern, from eLOOManator and I used about half a skein. Details in the usual format:

Yarn: Lily Sugar n’Cream in Yellow. Remains of the skeins I used for my dishcloths last year. Here is my Ravelry page for the project.

Needles: Denise US #6 (3.75mm?)

Pattern: eLOOManator’s Diagonal Dishcloth (Ravelry link) Her webpage doesn’t appear to be working does not seem to give the pattern (she’s more interested in weaving with small looms), and she’s given the pattern on the Ravelry page, which isn’t allowed, so it might vanish any time. If you want it, now’s the time to grab it!

Time: Overnight

Size: 9.5″ x 9.5″

Extra #1 I love how the cotton makes the stitches really stand out. What a nice bright colour it is, too! I still have about half a skein leftover (there were originally 2 full ones). Both sides look good, see:

Side 2

Another item off my queue was finished in Agra (although I started it in Cochin). More cotton, again for the kitchen.

Kitchen towel

And the specs:

Yarn: Lion Kitchen Cotton in Navy. I have about three skeins and used about three-fourths of one for this. Here is my Ravelry page for the project.

Needles: Denise US #6 (3.75mm?)

Pattern: Kitchen towel (Ravelry link) from the Dishcloth Boutique, pattern here. The Dishcloth Boutique site works for me sometimes, sometimes not.

Time: Two days

Size: 10″ x 13″

Extra #1 I was doubtful initially about using a dark colour, whether the texture would show up well or not, but I’m happy enough with the product. Haven’t put in a button yet, but then I have a nail, not a towel ring to hang it from.

I still have about 65 projects on my queue. How many do you have and how old is the oldest? Mine dates from my joining, about 8 months old, but I hope to have it finished shortly.

They’re small and you learn new stitch patterns. What’s not to like about dishcloths? I love them! Bring on the cotton!

Garter love

A friend sent me some gorgeous DK cotton yarn and as usual, I was stumped on what to make with 114 yards. Inspiration struck via Ravelry, and I crossed two three projects off my queue with great joy. I don’t know what it is about garter stitch, but I like it immensely. Also, give me variegated yarn and I think “dishcloths!”

The first one is the popular Garterlac cloth:

garterlac dishcloth

The photo is small, because it came out a bit fuzzy (so what else is new?). The details in my usual rigid format:

Yarn: Narvik Young Touch Cotton DK (I cannot find a website for it)

Needles: Denise #6 (~4mm), actually a bit too large

Pattern: Garterlac dishcloth by Criminy Jickets

Time: Very quick.

Size: 7″ x 7″

Extra #1 Very well-written directions, just follow them blindly, even if they seem odd. I didn’t have to refer to the extra Flickr tutorials.

#2 When a pattern says “Cast on loosely”, you better believe them! My beginning is somewhat unsightly because my cast-on isn’t quite loose enough :(

#3 I could possibly have used a smaller needle for a neater look

#4 The Narvik Young Touch is a tad too sophisticated for a dishcloth, I suppose, but what would you do with 114 yards of variegated cotton? No, seriously, I’d like some ideas.

Having about half the skein left, I decided to tackle another of the dishcloths on my queue and that was this one:

4 corner dishcloth

Yarn: Narvik Young Touch Cotton DK in shade 7517.

Needles: Pony 2.75mm straights

Pattern: 4 corners dishcloth by 1870 pearl

Time: Overnight

Size: 6″ x 6″

Extra #1 Nice and easy. A bit like my Short Rows Rectangular Cloth, but different. My wrapping, turning and finishing has apparently not improved in the year since I made that one, it appears.
#2 I like garter stitch, what can I say? And the play of the colours is always fascinating.

#3 I still have some yarn left over…

And here’s the last of the yarn:

Tribblet

Yarn: Narvik Young Touch Cotton DK in shade 7517.

Needles: Pony 2.75mm straights

Pattern: Tribble by 1870 pearl

Time: About an hour or less

Size: 6″ at the end of yarn (recommended size is at least 8″). That’s why I’m calling mine a Tribblet :D

Extra #1 Fun! Dang if I know what to do with it, though!

Desperately seeking

Brioche in two colours

Denise. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! The thing is, my Denise set has gone missing, and try as I might, I can’t remember when I saw it last. I remember showing it to Ruth in London, and in Vizag beginning Jacque‘s pattern on it, but here in Cochin? Nope. Now all I have are two pairs of tips (the one I’m using for Jacque and another 6.5 mm pair I have in a UFO), plus 3 cables (one ultra short, one medium and one longggg – on second thought, that last one might be two joined cables, which would mean I have one of those joining thingies) and two end doodads. If anyone can remember where I put the set, do please tell!

I have made some progress on the pattern as you can see above, having detoured wildly on both the crochet and knit fronts, by turning out these two FOs (now, isn’t that a rare word for you to hear on this here blog?). First up is the Gingham Country Tea Towel I had a bit of a duh moment with:

Gingham towel

Specs:

Yarn: Lion Kitchen Cotton (navy) and Sugar n’Cream (light blue)

Needles: Unknown plastic/resin (very flexible) 4.5mm circular and for the handle a metal circular that’s among my favourites, which is loose in the 4.5mm slot and won’t go through the 4mm (Is there a 4.25mm size in western needles?). Both needles courtesy Heide.

Pattern: Country Gingham Tea Towel

Time: About a week?

Size: Haven’t measured, but it’s a good size. It’s been immediately pressed into action in my kitchen.

Extra #1 Did two-colour double knitting for the first time, following a chart. Phoenix was good enough to hold my hand throughout and spell things out in words of one syllable! It was wonderful to be able to hound her interact with her on Ravelry. (If any of my readers want me, I’m MrsFife there).

#2 Got confirmation my finishing is terrible

#3 My floats are too tight and my wraps are too loose. Resolve that conundrum if you will

#4 Perhaps a thinner needle would have made the work neater

#5 Stopped the handle when I ran out of the light blue.

#6 I liked the grid stitch better than the gingham part (not to mention my work was neater)

#7 The original colour combo was scrumptious, and was what made me do the towel, actually. Also possibly, yarn which wasn’t 100% cotton might have fared better.

A great learning experience, though, overall. Five stars all around. Now for a crochet FO:

Acrobatic stitch

The details on this one:

Thread: Something called Fitpack, a twine from Jaipur that I bought in Vizag, in the philosophy of “any string will do to hook with”. It isn’t bad for bags and things, but I doubt any other colour would be available. On the other hand, I remember a crochet goods salesman telling me you can get cotton yarny type of fibre in Jaipur, so maybe the place is a hotbed of fibre.

Hook: The 2/0 (2mm) end of a Clover double-ended 2/0-4/0 hook. Nice and light.

Pattern: Acrobatic stitch from The Harmony Guides (the instructions are for a straight swatch, but I made up the decreasing on my ownsome). Pat yourself on the back, sweetie!
Time: One hour

Size: Seriously?

Extra #1 Nuthin’ much. There’s two more towels where that came from which need topping.

We now have a working washbasin, and the rains have stopped. Now all I need is some good roads, and we’re all set.

Water the flug

Houseboat on backwaters

Two weeks ago, we wrote a complaint that the washbasin in our bathroom was shaky. So two guys came (Malayalam only) and dismantled the whole thing, leaving the washbasin in the fire escape and the only word I understood was “nala” meaning tomorrow. Well, the tomorrow only came after a week or so, when 4 (!!!) men showed up to “put in a flug”.

Having given up on anybody ever replacing the washbasin, it took me a minute to understand that they’d come to do something about it. I let them in, they carved out a hole in the wall, put in some cement and a wooden flug (now you get it!) and went away, asking me to water it twice a day and Monday (yesterday) they’d come and put the washbasin back up.

I’ve been faithfully watering the flug, but alas, no one has come to complete the task. And so we roll.

In knitting news, I’ve been working on this pattern, which caught my eye. I’m using Lion cotton and Sugar n’ Cream. Although the designer’s work looks scrumptious, mine is definitely going to end as an Ugh. The problem might be that (a) I knit too tight therefore my floats are too tight, thus not giving that gingham look, (b) cotton isn’t slippery enough for the pattern (c) general shabby knitting.

Also, the handle is done in double knitting in two colours, which has me completely floored, me never having done double knitting in colours before. I’ve tried checking out the videos available online, but I wish someone would explain this particular pattern to me. I’ve finished the body of the towel and it only needs a handle now. There is a chart, but I’m not able to understand that very well. :-(

As you can see in the photo, it is still raining here. Apparently Kerala (and much of India) has had 20% excess rainfall this monsoon. Somebody forgot to tell the southwest monsoon that it must retreat before the northeast monsoon comes calling. We went on a cruise of the backwaters on Sunday, taking around the husband’s superior and family. That isn’t our boat, although ours looked identical. They do you for lunch. The boats have two bedrooms with attached bathrooms. You can hire them for the night as well. Food is traditional Kerala cuisine. The backwaters are used as the main media of transport in the region, and it was startling to see distance signboards we normally spot on highways. All in all, a unique experience.

Me, I’m a dry land creature, and while the life on so much water is fascinating to study and brood over, I much prefer less moisture. Water scares me. Nice for a break, though.

ETA: The designer is holding my hand while I attempt the handle. Progress shall be reported.

Sunshine

Sorry, I didn’t mean to throw a whine-fest and vanish. My internet gave out on me on Wednesday afternoon and was only restored last evening. I had to reprogram my wireless router after a year and that took me some figurative hair-pulling before I managed to hit just the right keys. We changed our internet plan from dead-slow unlimited to promised-fast limited. Let’s see how good that is, and whether having a limit on the downloads will reveal just how much flotsam I accumulate each month.

Thank you everyone for your comments on my last post. Ordinarily I would respond by email to each commenter, but this time since it’s been a while, I’m doing this wholesale. Thank you for all the offers to swap. Let me hasten to add that most of my swaps have been excellent and deeply satisfying (for me). Even the ones on Knitty where people haven’t bothered to comment on the swap satisfaction thread.

Also, I think I might have, even with my comparatively measly stash, reached SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy) status, purely because I often sit on my bed (which is my knitting/working on laptop spot) and just stare bemusedly at the general one-skeined, rainbow-hued, variedly-weighted and grossly-mismatched collection.

If it were all cotton, for example, I might open a store for handmade dishcloths (this might not be such a bright idea, because my aunt whom I bestow my works on thinks they are way too beautiful to be used as intended and instead drapes them on her telephone or in the showcase. There’s a limit to how many surfaces can be draped).

If it were all wool, I could neatly pack a few essentials and get myself admitted to the nearest mental hospital for thinking of wool and this climate in the same breath.

I have such things as two skeins of this yarn, two of this one, assorted Indian fun fur and acrylic, two disparate skeins of “Jiffy” and so on. What could I possible make that would reduce this stash? I do like just possessing these things, but in the interests of space and marital harmony, I’d like to diminish this stash before acquiring any more. As it is, the husband makes snide remarks about my “handiworks”. Mustn’t give him any more fodder.

We are waxing really eloquent once again today, aren’t we (and how often, Mrs S, do you find yourself unable to stop this verbal diarrhoea, he asked kindly as the tape recorder whirred in the background and she lay on the black faux leather couch in the sound-proofed consultant’s office. The brown fan had lashings of dirt, she noticed and worried it would affect her allergies. She’d have to weigh the benefits of the weekly shrink visit against being rattled by sneezes the whole of the next day, she decided.)

I thought I’d show you some bright things today. More dishcloths! In yellow! So here goes.
Lacy diamonds up close
Cables up close

Click through for more views of the lacy diamonds and the cables. The dishcloths are both from the Monthly Dishcloth Yahoogroup. In my forays into these and other patterns, I have rediscovered Judith Prindle. She used to be active on one of my crochet mailing lists. She now has a collection of free patterns for dishcloths and other things up. Nice stuff.

Here’s something a little bit different.

Crochet on the double swatch

That, me darlings, is a swatch of Crochet on the Double (or Croknit), with standard issue acrylic and a double-ended hook. I love the drape of this, so different from the can-stand-up-by-itself nature of my other Tunisian trials.  I must see if the drapiness will transfer productively to a garment or a slip-on potholder or something. For garments, nothing less than thread will do, I should think.

I have lots more to tell you, but I shall spare you for this post and come back later. The ‘more’ will involve screwdrivers, sewing machines, ugliness, books and cats.

Check out this link for one (my) interpretation of “All this and Heaven too”.

A certain sort of malaise

Warning! This post is whiny! Also there is Too Much Information. So the squeamish/fastidious/constructively employed amongst you might want to go away and come back another time.

[Removed to protect the er, innocent.]

On a completely different note, here is a view of a dishcloth I finished from the archives of the Monthly Dishcloths group at Yahoogroups. I joined up in January so I could use my lovely (yes, I’m serious) stash of Lion Cotton and Sugar n’ Cream that I got from a very satisfying swap at the Ville. No, I don’t use dishcloths and no, I do not intend doing all the KALs.

Smocked dishcloth close-up

The pattern (Smocked Dishcloth) can be found here. Someone over at Flickr thought it looks like an army of spiders marching. Suits me. It’s the reptiles I can’t stand.

I must be peculiar, but I like knitting with cotton. The stitches are firm and well-defined. Perhaps it reflects on how slowly and how little I knit. Because everyone else complains.

A few loose ends

Hand towels

Well, not really, but this here post will have a few of the odd FOs I always have. The first photo up there shows three handtowels I whipped up with some terry yarn I swapped for at the knittyboard. No idea of the content of the yarn, but it has a thread chain with the fuzzy bits hanging off it. If anyone recognises the stuff, please do tell me. ETA: The yarn is the discontinued Lion Brand Polarspun. The blue yarn was less substantial than the pastel multicoloured. I got both yarns as four handrolled centre-pull skeins (rewound by the swapper, I’m thinking, but not in the square format the yarn winder would give, so I’m curious how that was achieved.)

Dirty details:

Yarn: Unknown terry-like yarn, four skeins of each. Lion Brand Polarspun

Needles & hook: 4.5mm Boye circular (I think, it’s silver coloured and Heide sent it to me) and 6.5 mm Boye crochet hook (again, would someone tell me why the crochet hooks are so much heavier than the knitting needles?!!)

Pattern: The single-coloured ones were knit from the long side up, plain stockinette stitch with a 4 row garter stitch border (3 stitch garter border on either side), bound off when I thought they were broad enough. Then I improvised a crochet topper for each, with my favourite flower closing, thus eliminating the need to sew a button. Voila! The patchy one is crochet, since I had less than two skeins of each colour remaining. I think you could call the technique intarsia. No? Also worked from the long side up and totally done by sight (as in, “Isn’t that wide/high enough?”).

Time: About 4 hours each?

Size: Oh dear. About um…whatever. Big enough to be hand towels. I refuse to go measure the things, since it won’t change the course of history whether I do or don’t.

Extra: #1 Intarsia! Intarsia?

#2 Someone please tell me why Boye knitting needles are lighter than Boye crochet hooks!

#3 For me!

CD coasters

Now those things up there are very green. No, not in colour. But I used old dead CDs inside and the yarn is the final remnants of some I won in a Crochet Partners recycling contest. We present the CD Coasters (could be a rock group, right?)!

Yarn: Unknown terry-like yarn, four skeins of each.

Needles & hook: 4.5mm Boye circular (I think, it’s silver coloured and Heide sent it to me) and 6.5 mm Boye crochet hook (again, would someone tell me why the crochet hooks are so much heavier than the knitting needles?!!)

Pattern: From here, here, here and here (darn, I can’t find a link right now and I have to go watch CSI: Miami). For the unseen sides, I just did a strategic decrasing circle. All four went to my mom.

Time: A couple of hours each, maybe??

Size: Just bigger than the CDs.

Extra: #1 Finished off the aran fleck. Thought I’d finished the purple also, but found another half-skein or so. Sigh.

Right. CSI beckons. Must go.

Bad blogger…

Yes, I’ve been horrible about blogging recently. I don’t even have any decent excuses to make, so I shan’t waste your time and mine.

One shabby FO to show off, this tunisian crochet dishcloth, pattern from the Harmony Guides, for the Dishcloth KAL, where I shall shortly be claiming the prize for the slowest dishcloth knitter :)tunisian-dishcloth.jpg

We’ve been to Chennai to see my latest nephew (for whom I knit the diagonal blanket and the –shcloths). The first thing I did in the metropolis was to hit the bookstores. So we went to Odyssey, Landmark and Crossword. I only found knit/crochet books at the first, and I promptly bought up the Harmony Guides. So now I have 5 of the seven. I think I shall do without the Aran stitch volume and the basic knitting technique volume.

While in Chennai we made a short trip to Pondicherry and I went on a shopping rampage, buying up vials of “mitti” (smells like the first rain) and peppermint, and orange-scented soap, and handmade paper and marbled fabric (marbling is a technique where oil paint is swirled on water and the surface to be dyed is laid on it and lifted away. Each time you get a unique pattern).

I did precious little knit/crochet while in Chennai, except that thing up there. I met Viji again and marvelled anew at her work. She’s made some gorgeous drawstring bags with the silk thread, but says she cannot find a good place in Chennai to have them lined.

Now back in Vizag, I am working to finish the spike stitch cardigan I blogged about a few weeks ago. I decided to rip out the back and start afresh, working the fronts and the back together in one piece. I’m through with the body now and have begun one of the sleeves and shall probably take it in with me when I go for my radio duty this evening.

In Chennai I read Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, one of those Dan Brownish medieval/modern mythical stories. Why everyone picks on France for these medieval tomes is something I don’t understand. Do mysteries of faith sound better in medieval French?
Also read G (is for Gumshoe) and I (is for Innocent) of the Kinsey Millhone series, as well as my first Reginald Hill (A Pinch of Snuff) (What is the logic behind pronouncing D-a-l-z-i-e-l as Dee-ell???) and Mary Daheim (Bantam of the Opera). Regularly swimming in intrigue I’ve been.

On the other hand, I also finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith. It was an uncomfortable read (no happy endings a la murder mysteries – not that the victims in the murder mysteries have happy endings, but you know what I mean) and reminiscent of EM Forster’s Howard’s End (but only just, but then it’s been ages since I read the latter).

Enough of a ramble…

Cotton is good

Dishcloth #3

I don’t use dishcloths actually, but I find infinite satisfaction in having a Finished Object™, and one, moreover, which uses stitches/stitch patterns new to me. And I find that cotton yarn has this wonderful definition in it, which makes the stitches stand out. Over at the Dishcloth KAL, they’ve announced prizes for the three top (as in most prolific, I suppose) dishcloth knitters. The top two are pounds of dishcloth cotton and the Mason-Dixon knitting book. Sigh. While I covet both wildly (imagine the miles of dishloth-y things that could be made with a pound of the stuff!!! and that baby kimono…on second thoughts, maybe the cotton is better.) Anyway, I fall way, way behind in the counts :( That’s ok, I’m still having fun putting off other work making just as many as I can.

So here’s two more.
Dishcloth #3

Dishcloth #4

The regulation details about these:

Yarn: Caron Cotton Tales (white) and Rio from Reynolds (pink), both 100% cotton. I can’t find websites for either yarn. Caron must have discontinued this cotton and perhaps Reynolds is one of those rarities, a brick-and-mortar-only company (Do they still exist in the US of A?). I just got to a Reynolds site and there is no mention of this yarn at all. The Rio yarn is made in Brazil. The Cotton Tales is plied and softer than the Rio.

Needles: Oh dear. I don’t remember now. But I think 3.75mm Pony straights.

Pattern: Kitchen Cotton Dishcloth and Woven Dishcloth, both from the Dishcloth Boutique
Time: I’m slow.
Size: 7.5″ x 8″and 7.5 x 9″ square

Extra: #Nothing, really. Oh yes, the imaginatively named Kitchen Cotton cloth is fully reversible. Which you have to love about a piece of knitting or crochet.
Ok, the eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that spiky purple thing in the background behind the pink dishcloth. That is yet another project I have started. It’s a free Bernat pattern and although I am making it for a boy, those are the colours in stash and that’s what I’m using. *insert mulish look* Using stashy acrylic, it’s coming out way bigger than I think it’s supposed to, but my friend says her baby is big, so that should be okay. I got to just after the armholes decrease and then inexplicably stopped.

What I find hard to understand is why this cardigan was designed in pieces instead of making it one piece up to the armholes and then splitting it up. Funny. Especially when you think that in crochet making things without seams is so much easier (and you don’t even have to resort to circulars/dpns etc) as you only ever have one stitch to think about. I read somewhere that having seams makes garments drape better or something. Is that true?

And then you could just pick up at the armholes and make the sleeve downward with decreases rather than upwards with increases. What a pain (working upwards, I mean). Of course, never having designed anything myself, I am not in any way qualified to comment. But I’d really appreciate not having a zillion seams to sew at the end of what is supposed to be a quick project. Not to mention the number of ends that will have to be woven in. :(

Anyway, before I go, I’d like to clarify that the possiblity of yarn from Russia that I mentioned last time is not a continuous stream (I wish!) but a one-off offer. And I haven’t even written back to the friend yet.

Also, a confession of crime: I steal cats. Yes. All those photos of cats you see on my blog are stolen from their lucky owners. Well, the photos are stolen, not the cats themselves. But yes, Your Honour, I plead guilty.

To distract you from my nefariousness (I hope that’s a word), here is a picture of the nice spike stitch back:
Spike stitch cardigan

which I might decided to undo and start afresh, this time adding in the front panel stitches to either side, which shouldn’t make that much of a difference, since we turn the work at the end of each round anyway, so there shouldn’t be a jog (jag?) of any kind. Let’s see. The idea is that the friend’s baby will have a sweater for this December.

Dishing it out

Remember when I joined the Dishcloth KAL a few aeons ago? I finally decided to actually make something to show for it. So here’s #1

Checkerboard dishcloth

And #2
Dishcloth #2

Details, if you must:

Yarn: Phildar Lin-Coton 50/50 sent me in a CATPAC. The colour is actually a faded blue. I used two strands together. I had two balls of it and after two dishcloths, only a small amount left.
Needles & Hook: Heide‘s Boye aluminium circulars, size 4.50 mm/7 I think. The needle is silver coloured.

Pattern: Checkerboard Dishcloth and Short Rows Rectangular (!!!) Wash Rag, both from the Dishcloth Boutique
Time: About a day each. What can I say, I’m slow.
Size: 8″ x 8.5″ and 9″ square

Extra: #1 I’m really pleasantly surprised by my experience with the Boye needles so far. I find their crochet hooks are very heavy and even crudely made, with prominent ridges. Can someone explain the difference to me?

#2 I don’t know why the pattern is called rectangular, I got a square out of it. The pattern is slightly oddly written. Not enough dotting of the i’s and crossing of the t’s. I like being spoonfed.