I knitted my first washcloth when a pattern for a round one sparked my interest. I didn't really think about using the washcloth. I just wanted to make something round, a shape I'd never tried to knit. Since then I have become a knitted-washcloth convert. At the end of a hectic day, I lather it up with soap, wash my face, and feel, at least for a moment, that I am doing something special for myself. It's amazing how something so seemingly inconsequential can actually have a profound effect (it nearly always compels me to take a deep, relaxing breath).
How to knit a flower washcloth
The flower shape of the cushy cotton chenille washcloths shown here is achieved in what you could call a reverse-bloom style: First you knit the five petals (blooms) in garter stitch, then you attach them to each other by knitting them together in the round; to finish, you work in Stockinette stitch, with gradual decreases, to the centre.
The project can be worked entirely on double-pointed needles, but you can see the flower come to life nicely -- and you can leave the petals on the circular needle as you complete them -- if you begin with the circular needle and change to double-pointed needles when necessary.
10-1/2" diameter, measured at widest point.
Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille (100% cotton; 98 yards / 50 g): 1 skein for each cloth. Shown in #6320 green, #2054 pink, and #2230 orange.
• 16" circular (circ) needle size US 6 (4 mm)
• One set double-pointed needles (dpn) size US 6 (4 mm), longer than 8" recommended
Change needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
Stitch marker, yarn needle, stitch holders or waste yarn (optional).
16 sts and 26 rounds = 4" in Stockinette stitch (St st).
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Petals (make five)
Using either circ or dpn, CO 11 sts.
Row 1: Knit across all sts.
For Rows 2-20, slip the last st of every row as if to purl with yarn in front, to create a smooth edge for the petal.
Row 2: Insert the tip of the right-hand needle between the first 2 sts on the left-hand needle, draw up a loop, and place it on the left-hand needle -- 1 st increased. Knit across all sts, slipping the last st of the row as given above.
Rows 3, 4 and 5: Repeat Row 2 -- 15 sts after completing Row 5.
Rows 6 and 7: Knit across all sts, slipping last st as before.
Rows 8 and 9: Repeat Row 2 -- 17 sts after completing Row 9.
Rows 10 and 11: Knit across all sts, slipping last st as before.
Rows 12 and 13: Repeat Row 2 -- 19 sts after completing Row 13.
Rows 14 and 15: Knit across all sts, slipping last st as before.
Rows 16 and 17: Repeat Row 2 -- 21 sts after completing Row 17.
Rows 18, 19 and 20: Knit across all sts, slipping last st as before.
Row 21: Knit across all sts.
Break yarn, leaving an 8" tail.
Make four more petals for a total of five petals. If using a circ needle, you can leave the petals on the cable part of the needle as you work the others. If using dpns, place petals on stitch holders or waste yarn.
Knit the flower centre
Place all petals on circ needle or dpns with the yarn tail hanging at the same side of each petal. Join for working in the round (rnd), and place marker to indicate the beginning of rnd -- 105 sts. If beginning on circ needle, change to dpns when there are too few sts to continue using the circ.
Rnds 1, 2 and 3: Knit all sts.
Rnd 4: *K2, k2tog; repeat from * around to last st, end k1 -- 79 sts.
Rnds 5 and 6: Knit all sts.
Rnd 7: *K2, k2tog; repeat from * to last 3 sts, end k3 -- 60 sts.
Rnds 8 and 9: Knit all sts.
Rnd 10: *K2, k2tog; repeat from * to end -- 45 sts.
Rnds 11 and 12: Knit all sts.
Rnd 13: *K2, k2tog; repeat from * to last st, end k1 -- 34 sts.
Rnds 14 and 15: Knit all sts.
Rnd 16: *K1, k2tog; repeat from * to last st, end k1 -- 23 sts.
Rnd 17: Knit all sts.
Rnd 18: *K1, k2tog; repeat from * to last 2 sts, end k2tog -- 15 sts.
Rnd 19: Knit all sts.
Rnd 20: K2tog around to last st, end k1 -- 8 sts.
Rnd 21: BO all sts.
Weave in ends securely, weaving each end back on itself to ensure that it does not work loose. To block, saturate with water, pat gently into shape, and allow to air-dry.
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Excerpted from Weekend Knitting: 50 Unique Projects and Ideas , copyright 2003 by Melanie Falick. Excerpted with permission from Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher. You can visit knitwear designer Cindy Taylor’s website at cindycindy.com.