dishcloths, gifts, holiday, knitting, tutorials

Kitchen Towel Tutorial: Knit

Tea Towel: Knit version (makes 2 sets)
 Tools and Materials:

  • 1 tea towel or kitchen hand towel (you can also use bath and towels, but I like the patterns on the kitchen ones)
  • 2 balls of dish cotton to coordinate, like Sugar ‘n’ Cream (I’m using a cone because I make a lot of these)
  • 1 sharp yarn needle (These can be difficult to find. Plastic tapestry needles don’t work very well for this; it should be metal with a fairly sharp point and an eye large enough for your yarn)

  • Fabric scissors (the sharper the better)
  • Knitting needles in your preferred size. I normally use a 5 or 7 for this yarn.

**Hint: If you want to stock up on these to have them handy for housewarming, birthday or last-minute holiday gifts, I’ve found that white, red, blue, and green are the best colors to use, since they’re the most common kitchen colors. Also, white can be bleached without an issue.

To begin:

1. We’re going to start off exactly as we did with the crochet version. Open up your pack of towels, and cut along that fold at the top so you end up with something like this:
2. Fold down your raw edges, just enough so that they can be held in place (about 1/3-1/2 inch). You might need pins or clips to keep the folds intact, but if you’re practiced, you can just use your hand, like so: 
3.  Draw your needle and yarn through the corner of the towel, as close to the right side as you can and just below the fold. Pull an arms length or so of yarn through, so that you’ll have enough to stitch up the entire top of the towel. Do NOT cut your yarn from the ball. This will be important later. (If you’re working from a cone or find that you simply MUST cut your  yarn, measure out a good 12-15 yards first).

4. Loosely whip stitch all the way across the top of the towel. Make sure your stitches don’t pucker; LOOSE is the key here! The yarn should merely rest at the top of the fold, not clamp down on it.

You’ll want an odd number of stitches, evenly spaced (or as close to even as you can manage. No one is perfect). For this example, I used 19 stitches and size US 7 needles.

5. When you reach the end, slide the needle back through the stitches you just made for an inch or two, then cut your yarn. Voila, that’s your first end woven in already.

6. With the working yarn on your right, insert one of your knitting needles into the stitches you just made, starting on the far left. Just slide it all the way down. If you discover that your stitches were too tight, then just tug on each loop starting at the right and working towards your needle to add extra yarn. If they were too loose, then once your needle in in place you can give them a tug starting on the left and going to the right to tighten them up.

7. Those whip stitches are your cast on row. So, take your other needle, and start knitting! I like to use seed stitch for these towels, but you can also use linen stitch or whatever floats your boat. I don’t recommend stockinette, because of the curling issue, or garter stitch, because it stretches.  You might find it easier if you knit the first row before beginning any pattern stitches.

8. Beginning on row two, knit or purl your last two stitches together to form the decrease in pattern.

9. When you have nine stitches left, stop decreasing.

10. After 3-4 inches (your preference), work the first four stitches in pattern, then yarn over, knit two together, and continue in pattern for the rest of the row.

11. Work one more row in pattern.

12. Decrease as before, at the end of each row.

13. With 3 stitches remaining, cast off and weave in ends.

Sew on a button, and there you have it. Use the remaining yarn in your ball for the washcloth. My go-to pattern is usually stockinette with a band 4 stitches/rows wide of seed stitch around the border, but there are other, fancier patterns you can use.

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