how to knit a dish cloth

A light wood basket sits on a dark wood table. The basket is full of rolled knitted cloths, with a ball of white yarn to the front left. On the table is another neutral-coloured ball of cotton yarn and a pair of birch wood double-pointed knitting needles.

Reusable cloths made from natural fibres are a great way to eliminate sponges, paper towels, makeup wipes, and cotton facial rounds. Knitting your own is an easy beginner project that can help you learn a new skill and reduce waste at the same time. If you are already a knitter, these are great little projects for when your main WIP has to sit in the basket and think about what it did. These are also wonderful additions to gifts for so many occasions, from housewarming baskets to new baby bundles.

quit using paper towels (and what to do instead)

Replacing paper towels and napkins with reusable options is a good place to begin reducing waste and saving money in your kitchen. Paper products (even those made of recycled content) still require a ton of resources to produce, ship, purchase, and bring home – only to use them once and throw them away. Nothing truly […]

Yarn and Needles

Last year I scored 8 skeins of fingering weight cotton yarn at the thrift store and have continued to crank out cloth after cloth while watching TV or sitting in the passenger seat of the car ever since. Depending on which fibre and size you choose, this simple pattern can become a dish cloth, a scrubby, or a face cloth. Be sure to choose a natural fibre that is compostable at end of life and to avoid microplastics going down the drain. Some general suggestions on choosing a fibre:

  • Dishes and general cleaning – cotton, hemp, linen
  • Scrubbing – jute, hemp, sisal twine
  • Facial – cotton, bamboo

Choose your needle size in accordance with your yarn weight. In general, US 3-5 for fingering or light weight, and US 7-9 for worsted weight yarns. A larger needle will create a more open fabric. The finished cloths are square and knitted on the diagonal, meaning you can increase to the desired width and then begin decreasing.

Abbreviations and Tutorials

CO – cast on

K – knit

KFB – knit front and back (increase)

K2tog – knit two stitches together (decrease)

BO – bind off

Knitted Cloth Pattern Instructions

CO3
K across
K2, KFB
K2, KFB, K to end
Continue in this manner until the cloth is the width you want. Begin decreases.
K2, K2tog, K to end
Continue until last 3 stitches and BO. Weave in ends with a tapestry needle.

Boom! You’re done. Machine wash with the rest of your household linens and hang to dry.

Simple swaps are a great place to start, and learning a new skill is even better. Let the simple things empower you to do the hard things, like talking to your family and friends, contacting your reps, and taking climate action in your local community.

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