I come from a crafty family. Many of our family Thanksgivings involved forming a production line of Christmas gifts or ornaments that one of my aunts had an idea for. My mom and I have dabbled in many different mediums, but I have come back to crochet time and time again.
When I was young, my mom taught me how to crochet. My neighbor and I used to crochet chains and call them bookmarks. We used to set up a blanket in my backyard and try to sell these bookmarks (usually to no avail, but it gave us something to do). I then began crocheting granny squares using a double crochet stitch. In fact, I started to crochet a giant granny square to make an afghan for high school football games on Friday nights made out of our school colors, and I never finished it! I still have it, I believe. Maybe someday it will be complete, but for now, it lives in the graveyard of unfinished craft projects.
One of my favorite things to crochet are dishcloths. They are small and easy to complete. They are very versatile as well. I can pretty much make up whatever pattern I want and do any combination of stitches and see how it turns out! And their functionality is great! They are good at scrubbing and are durable. I only use handmade crocheted dishcloths to wash dishes anymore.
For dishcloths, it is best to use cotton yarn. Wal-Mart sells Sugar ‘n’ Cream yarn, while other craft stores (such as Michael’s) sell Peaches ‘n’ Cream. I have used both brands, and either work just fine. I usually use either a size H or I crochet hook for dishcloths. (It is easy to figure out the size. The letter is printed right on the handle.)
To begin, tie a double knot around the crochet hook. (I realize this is probably not the proper way to start, but this is how I’ve always started and I have not done enough research to learn the correct way.)
Next, put the hook under the yarn so that you can grab it with the crochet hook.
Then, pull the yarn that is hooked through the loop that is already on the handle of the crochet hook. There should be one loop on the handle again. That is one chain stitch!
Repeat this process (hook the yarn and pull it through the loop) 26 times total.
Flip the chain so that is on the left side of your crochet hook.
Now you get to start the first row! Take the crochet hook, and stick it through the second chain from your hook. (Ignore the loop that is already on your hook, skip the chain that is closest to the hook, and then the next chain is the one to begin working in.)
Hook the yarn, and pull it back through the chain. There should be two loops on the crochet hook now.
Hook the yarn again, and pull it though both loops. The stitch that you just completed is called a “single crochet.”
Single crochet in all of the remaining chains, which will be 25 stitches total. This is considered “Row 1.”
When you get to the end of the row, turn your work. This just means that you flip the crocheting you’ve already done to the left side of the crochet hook.
If you look at the stitches you just made, you should be able to see what looks like a chain stitch on the top. Place the hook through the entire chain stitch.
Hook the yarn and pull it through both the chain stitch and the loop already on the hook. So, basically just pull the yarn through everything that is on the crochet hook. This is called a “slip stitch.”
Slip stitch in all of the remaining stitches. There should be 25 total. This is “Row 2.”
After the 25 slip stitches, chain 1 stitch. (Hook the yarn and pull it through the loop on the handle.) Turn your work so that the crocheted part is to the left of the hook.
From here on out, all there is to do is repeat the work that is already done. For the odd numbered rows (Row 3, 5, 7, etc.) repeat the single crochet stitch 25 times across the row (refer to Row 1). For the even numbered rows (Row 4, 6, 8, etc.) repeat the slip stitch 25 times across and then chain 1 (refer to Row 2). Do this for 35 rows.
This is what the dishcloth should look like after 10 rows.
At the end of Row 35, cut the yarn so there is about 2-3 inches remaining.
Hook the yarn “tail,” pull it through the loop on the crochet hook, and just keep pulling until the end of the yarn comes through the last loop on the dishcloth. Pull it as tight as you can.
That’s it! That’s all there is to it!
For the ends, you can weave them in and out of the stitches in the dishcloth.
I do have a few quick words of advice. Count the stitches going across!! My dishcloth is slightly lopsided and the edges are not completely straight. This is because I did not count. I just guessed and said “Oh gee, I think I crocheted a stitch in each of the stitches from the previous row.” And now it is crooked. I am not concerned, because I am just using it for myself. But to really learn to do it properly, count! And if you do not count while you are crocheting, go back and look at the top of your stitches. Count each section that looks like a chain, and that is a simple way to double check your stitch count.
These dishcloths can go through the washing machine. Many shops that sell crocheted dishcloths advise laying them flat to dry so they maintain their shape. I have yet to do that. I have sent them through the dryer and they have come out fine. I have hung them out to dry on the wash line. They come back a little stiff and slightly stretched or misshapen, but in my eyes, it doesn’t matter because it is a dishcloth. It is used to scrub food bits off of plates! One stretched corner is not a big deal to me. But, if you really want to take extra good care of your dishcloths, then I would say lay them flat to dry.
For experienced crocheters, here is the simplified pattern for this dishcloth.
Ch. 26, turn
Row 1: SC 25, turn
Row 2: SS 25, Ch. 1, turn
Row 3: SC 25, turn
Row 4: SS 25, Ch. 1, turn
Odd numbered rows 5-33: repeat Row 1
Even numbered rows 6-34: repeat Row 2
Row 35: SC 25, fasten off.
I hope that if you have never crocheted before, but were wanting to try, this gives you a nudge to give it a shot! And if it doesn’t work out so well the first time, don’t give up! Keep trying! It took me years to figure out how to read a pattern! If you try to crochet, I would love to know how it turns out! Feel free to comment and let me know!