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I KNIT DISH CLOTHS • First in a Series of My Obsessions • Offered on a Regularly Irregular Schedule

Hand knit dishrags

I’m going to start something new. It’s a behind the scenes peek into my psyche. From time to time, I’m going to share an occasional glimpse into some of my passions. Here is the first in a series of my obsessions offered on a regularly irregular schedule.

I knit dish cloths. I admit it. Yes,I knit dish cloths for the kitchen.

But, wait a second, I don’t want you to think that’s all I can knit.

I’ve made tiny blankets for babies with AIDS which were delivered to hospitals all over the country. I knit some love into each stitch.

I knitted this hat  for a friend in chemotherapy, and made more in different styles and colors so she could look chic.

Hand knit chemo hat

 I knit hats for little kids, too.

Hand knit baby hats

Hand knit Marley Hat

I also make shawls in a lace pattern. I like challenges. Trust me, you can not watch TV and knit one of these.

Hand knit lace shawl

How about a hat for a Star Wars-obsessed grandson? Look at that face.

Hand Knit Star Wars Hat

But, I really love knitting dish cloths because I have fun working with all the colors and patterns.

Hand knit dish rags

When I tell people what I’m knitting, they get this glazed look in their eyes which says,”Is she out of her mind? Knitting dish cloths?” To them, it conjures up visions of women with gray hair. Yep, that’s me. That I’m a grandma? Yep, I’m that also. So, I’ve learned to lie. When asked what I’m making, I reply, “Oh, I’m working on a pattern sample.” They accept that.

I was so happy with the way they turned out, I decided to give some to my son for his new San Francisco Victorian-style apartment. He opened the box, smiled and said, “Thank you SO much!” There was a pause, he looked at the dish rags, looked at me and said. “Why are you wasting your precious time and talent making dish cloths?” I know he loves me, but when I left, they were quietly put in the bottom drawer.

Unfazed, I’ve given some to my daughter. Little does she know that I’ve seen them tucked away in the bottom  of one of her kitchen drawers. I don’t say a word. Come on guys, knitted dish cloths are so much better than sponges. Sponges get this gross smell that never goes away and makes your hands smell foul. With these colorful, cotton dish cloths, you simply put them in the washing machine and they come out smelling, well, ‘un-sponge-like.’ Clean. They also give me a visual treat as I use them around my kitchen.

Just look at these colors. Wouldn’t you be happier in your kitchen with one of these?

Hand knit dish rags

OK, the problem is that after I’ve gifted these beauties to family and friends, absolutely no one has asked me to make any more of them! I don’t know if it’s because they last forever or they’ve got them buried in a bottom drawer.

Stack of hand knit dishrags

We live in a very contemporary house, and these old-fashioned dish cloths offend my husband’s exquisite aesthetic sensibilities.He rolls his eyes but  puts up with them. Sorry, Honey, I love my dish cloths. They take me back to a simpler time. One day, they will be on Antiques Road Show as examples of  21st century handicrafts. By then, they’ll be nicely faded and people will collect them like quilts. They deserve not to be hidden in bottom drawers.

Hand knit dishrags in a collage

The patterns for these dish cloths may be found in a wonderful knitting book, Mason-Dixson Knitting, Written by two bloggers, Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne at They’re very entertaining and I’ve actually laughed out loud reading their knitting books.

The babies’ hats and the chemo hat are from the delightful book, Itty-Bitty Hats, by Susan B. Anderson. Her site is charming and informative.

The Star Wars hat pattern was created at Compatto yarn store in Santa Monica, California





All images appearing on I KNIT DISH CLOTHS • First in a Series of My Obsessions • Offered on a Regularly Irregular Schedule are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Dawn - I absolutely love your dish clothes! They would make me happy to do dishes. I am so envious of your talent. Learning to knit was something I never managed to tackle. Beautiful work (and extra points for the quirky factor).ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Dawn, Thank you. You can learn to knit now! There’s no age limit. Try it again. Try on something simple like dish cloths. Their fast and easy. You can do it, I know you can. If you lived next door I’d sit down with you and teach you. I had a friend who would put her knitting bag on the door handle of my studio when she made a knitting mistake. I’d fix it over night put it back on the handle and off she’s go. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • cam - A few in black, red, and grey would be very appreciated in Belgium!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Nernberg - Sandy, The knitted dish towels are magnificent and so are all. The other knitted items – the hats and the scarfs as well as the adorable model – your grandson. You are a TRUE artist in everything you touch. I am in awe of your talents. SusanReplyCancel

  • Ginger Kay - I love the R2D2 hat. Hats and baby things are my favorite things to knit. I’ve knit sweaters, but I really prefer small projects. If my old store bought dishcloths ever wear out, I’d consider knitting new ones. I have knit toys, which I think are really just as ridiculous as dishcloths, and so much fun to make.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Cam, I will certainly keep that in mind. Black red and grey. Got it.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Thank you Susan. That is so sweet of you. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Ginger have you seen Susna B. Anderson’s book on knit toys? I think it’s “Itty Bitty Toys.” Too much work for me and then tossed in the dirt. No thank you. Gee, I guess you could say the sme think about dish cloths. Hmmmm.ReplyCancel

  • Heather O. - Gorgeous! I knit a ton of the exact same dishcloths in a billion color variations a few years ago and we’re still using them daily in the bathroom and kitchen. They wear like iron and other than a little fading over time, they still look like new! 🙂

    I have a bunch of different listings on Ravelry from when I made mine, but here’s a link that shows the first bunch I knitted: 🙂ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Heather, Glad to see you enjoy the pattern so much also. So many opportunities for cun color combinations. Learned a lot also on the Mason-Dixon web site. Something so soothing about knitting these.ReplyCancel

  • cam - Oh I will use them! And you may have a few more orders from Scotland after they see them — they’re much more daring with colours than I am in my teeny galley kitchen 😉ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Cam, Just looked and I do have red and a black and white stripey kinda color.ReplyCancel

  • cam - Perfect! The white will become grey soon enough 😉ReplyCancel

  • sandra - OK, Cam, I’ll start tonight!ReplyCancel

  • Judith Eton - You are truly a Renaissance Woman, your range of interests are mind boggling! The blog looks fabulous…….ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Judith. This has been challenging and fun! Good to hear from you.ReplyCancel

  • Genie Cowden - Is it possible to purchase these dishcloths? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Hi Genie, Thanks for your vote of confidence. I hadn’t planed on selling them. Maybe there is an etsy store in my future. If so, I’ll announce it on my blog.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Genie-I’m sorry at this time I’m not knitting them to sell them. But thanks for the vote of confidence.ReplyCancel

  • Robert Allen - I’m going to liberate Matty’s dish cloths next time I’m at his apt.ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Thank you Robert. They need some love.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Briskin - Auntie Sandy, Can this niece put in an order? I would love three! I am a paying customer and Jeffrey and I will treasure them forever!!

    Your blog is fascinating!!! Oh and the photos are so very fun to see you and Uncle Bob!!! Love you both! Xoxo. SharonReplyCancel

    • sandra - Sharon, that is so sweet. I see I need to get back to work. Cam, has first dibs, but you’re right after her.ReplyCancel

  • Dolores - I’m an obsessed knitter but I only knit things that don’t have to fit anyone, like scarves and shawls. Have never knitted a dish cloth. Love the color and pattern in yours. May give it a try! Thanks for sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Smart woman. You’re right, I am the same way. I also don’t knit things that have a “fit” element. They just rarely work, even on myself. I was knitting so many complicated things that I loved the relief of knitting dish cothes and blankets Some of the lace patterns would keep me up for hours trying to figure out where i made a mistake.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Smart woman. You’re right, I am the same way. I also don’t knit things that have a “fit” element. They just rarely work, even on myself. I was knitting so many complicated things that I loved the relief of knitting dish cothes and blankets Some of the lace patterns would keep me up for hours trying to figure out where i made a mistake.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I must admit I have been knitting for over 45 years and never knit a wash cloth! I don’t think it’s strange to do so, just because you can buy them. That would be like saying, why are you knitting a sweater when you can buy one? Your colors are fun! Sounds like a great way to use up stash:-). I’m so impressed with how organized your yarn closet is. Mine is a shambles most of the time!!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Oh Jennifer, you really think my stash is organized? I’ll show your comment to my husband.I think the plastic boxes give an illusion. I still find yarn hidden in crevides and bags in that closet. But thanks.Do a search for wash clothes and you will be amazed at what you find.

      Thanks for the artile about photoshoping Advanced Style. So disappointed.ReplyCancel

  • Mindy Trotta - Beautiful…dish cloths??? Those are not dish cloths, those are works of art, Sandy! Why can you not turn them into baby blankets? I am going to find that pattern and try to do that. Whaddya think?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Absolutely Mindy. It’s just the quality of the yarn used. I think it would be beautiful in some soft squishy yarn. Have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Oh,your dishcloths are gorgeous Sandra. You can send me one!
    But what I love most of your knitting are the little hats for babies. My second daughter was born very premature and when she needed a ventilator the tubes were kept in place by a tiny hat that had been knitted by volunteers. It is a great service you provide, so on behalf of all mothers of teeny or sick babies – THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Yvonne. It feels so good to knit blankets and hats for those little ones who need it.ReplyCancel

  • Cabinbread - My sister-in-law, also a painter and a blogger ( is an amazing knitter and made these years ago. I have some and LOVE them. they remind me of her and are beautiful little gems. : )ReplyCancel

    • sandra - They’re great fun to use also. They really are so much better than sponges or paper towels. I’ll check out your sister-in-laws site.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra Ateca - I love your dishcloths! They are beautiful and I will bet that they sop up water and wipe countertops quite well. I love the fact that you can wash them and use them over and over again.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Yes, Sandra, so much better than sponges with stink no matter what you do. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Williams - These are sooooo beautiful!!! Can’t wait to try the pattern. I think they would be pretty framed as well! You go girl! I would love a hand made dish cloth, so much cuter and interesting than ones you buy at the store.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - They are great also because you can wash them and unlike sponges they don’t smell after washing! Love them.ReplyCancel

  • Jess - Hello Sandra, I am visiting your site for the first time. Found it through “A Well Styled Life”. I adore your washcloths. Two different friends gave me knitted washcloths a few years back and I love them. For some reason, crocheting is more natural for me than knitting, so this past winter I made several for myself and friends. I agree sponges are NOT very nice after the first use. The pattern and colors are lovely.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Unfortunately I can’t knit anymore. It hurts my neck and hands. I adore the dish clothes that I have they are far more usful and cleaner than any spong on the market!So glad you enjoyed them. I loved making them. Gee, maybe I’ll try again.Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks for visiting Jess. crochet and knit they still are the best!ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Name: Jeanne
    (no label): I wanted to comment on your dishcloths post because it made me laugh — in a good way, mind — but it looks like commenters have to have a Facebook account, which I do not. I’m with you on the dishcloths! I am not usually fond of garish colors, but with dishcloths, bring it on! I also like that you can whip one out in a few hours, and often get more than one out of a ball of kitchen cotton. And not only can you just toss the cloths in the laundry and they’re nice and clean, but when they get faded and just too ratty to use, you can put them in the compost pile. What’s not to love? (I was searching this morning for “oldest dishcloth knitting pattern” and found your post …) Jeanne

    • sandra - Thanks Jeanne, You don’t need to be on Facebook to comment. Comments are right on the bottom of the post. But I will look into it. So glad you enjoy knitted dishcloths. They still are my favorite!!!!
      Comeback and read more>ReplyCancel

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