Making & Blocking a Knit Washcloth
Making household necessities with cotton and other washable yarns is my own private version of Rage Against The Machine. So I decided to try a regular bathroom washcloth. Washcloths are traditionally smooth, unlike dishcloths, so I used what I have since learned is called stockinette stitch. (Why didn't they teach us these things in home economics, where I learned to knit?) Stockinette gives you a smooth, uniform front and a slightly bumpy back. It turns out thinner than a seed stitch dishcloth, but it also rolls up at the edges. Thus I tried my first experiment in steam blocking.
I used a small bath towel to pin my finished washcloth into appropriate straightness, then folded the towel over and sprinkled it (rather too vigorously, as it turned out). Then I began ironing the towel. After several passes, I unfolded the towel and let the washcloth dry on the ironing board. This seemed to work very well. I do plan to buy rust proof T-pins before I do this again; regular pins do rust. I was banking on not having to leave them in overnight.
Later, I learned on the web that if you surround your washcloth with seed stitching (4 stitches each row, seed stitch 4 rows at the bottom and top) you can omit blocking. This sounds like a winner to me. Blocking something is rather like drying it flat, an instruction I hate to see on a garment. Honestly - where can you lay something flat for 24 hours without it being disturbed by your child, significant other, or pet, all of whom want that particular space for something else?
The website I consulted advised that a set of hand knit washcloths is a good hostess gift. I believe they would make good bridal or baby shower gifts as well. I have just gotten in a yarn catalog that includes yarn types I didn't even know existed. Expect to see some of them on sale at Peaypatch within the month.