New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

There’s something refreshing about the beginning of January and it isn’t just the -20 degree temperature outside today. In response to one of my readers I am going to do a series of blog posts specifically for beginners. Let’s build some skills together. 🙂

You may or may not have heard of something called a “sampler”. Back in the day, a sampler was a project that youngsters would make that would give them a variety of stitches to embroider so they could practice or showcase them all on one project.

There may have been

  • some text in cross-stitch,
  • flowers that combined lazy-daisy stitches and French knots;
  • birds that required satin stitch and so on.

It was intended to provide an opportunity to practice (or showcase) many individual skills and improve consistency of needlework skills on one project.

Over the next several weeks, I want to present a sampler of sorts. It will be a sampler of the humble dishcloth. This is a fantastic beginner project to build knitting skills on. Instead of one project that showcases a large variety of skills, I’ll give you a different dishcloth pattern each week; each one introducing something new. Don’t assume that a dishcloth has to be boring or mindless knitting. The possibilities for dishcloth patterns are unlimited. It’s actually an ideal project to test new techniques and patterns on. It’s great because it’s small enough that you can finish it quickly, but big enough that you will have enough pattern repeats to get a good feel for whatever new thing you’re learning. Each new dishcloth pattern will give you a chance to try something new and improve your consistency. By the time you finish doing a series of them, you will have built up a whole lot of confidence that you didn’t have before. I haven’t decided how many weeks I’ll do of these. I’ll figure it out as I go along. After that I’ll do variations of a different project to step it up a notch.

The very first dishcloth that most people learn has been around for so long that no one knows who designed it. My mother was making them 40 years ago and she learned the pattern from someone else who had been making them for who knows how long before that.

This dishcloth is knitted on the diagonal in garter stitch. It incorporates the knit stitch, yarn-over and knit-two-together. It includes increasing and decreasing. It’s probably the simplest introduction to lace. The yarn-overs give a lacy inner border around the entire cloth. You start with four stitches and increase one stitch near the beginning of every row until you have 45 stitches, then you decrease one stitch each row until you are back down to four stitches. Then you bind off. If you want to, you can crochet a little loop of either chain stitches or single crochets at the end so you can hang it up to dry. (I personally don’t like loops on my dishcloths so my example doesn’t have one.)

It is not my intention to teach the individual skills involved. There are so many wonderful YouTube videos available; I encourage you to google anything you are unfamiliar with as you need to.

I’ll be putting together a free PDF pattern for each of the projects that you can download. Please don’t use them for commercial use. It takes some doing to put a pattern together. I’ll do my best to keep up each week. If I get bogged down, I may have to do the patterns every other week. After the first one, I will be coming up with the ideas and patterns from scratch. So bear with me. 🙂 This will be an adventure!

I hope you have fun with these.

And here is the first pattern!

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