What Everybody Ought to Know About Knitting Washcloths

Posted on Jun 16, 2009. 11 comments

humble hand knit washcloth
I love knitting washcloths. There are some people who use the term Washcloth Knitter as a pejorative. And to them I wave my finger. You know which one. A simple change in description and the washcloth takes on a whole new role. How about a gauge swatch? Or a blanket square? I can't think of many other things in life that bear the responsibility of the simple hand knit washcloth. Gentle enough for newborn skin. Washes away dirt from a kid's first mud pie. Or to clean up a newly skinned knee. A ritual cleansing of hurt and heartbreak all wrapped neatly into a small package. I could have used dozens of hand knit washcloths in the first years I spent after I moved away from home. Especially for the tears I shed as an undergraduate student studying physics.
If only I knew then what I knew now. That the path to becoming a Physicist is paved with gold and high praise. That my college professors who wrote "Michelle what in the hell are you talking about?" on my homework would know what I now know. That being a physicist means you'll be known forever, cast into high density plastic molds for the masses to greedily consume like so many french fries.
Two Physicists and  a Knitter walk into a bar
I'm certain that in the moments after Einstein derived his Theory of Relativity he wondered How will I be memorialized as one of the brightest minds in the 20th century? Well Einstein, you're now a Bobble Head toy that comes free in a Happy Meal. My kid uses you as a hammer. Congratulations. If only some of my old professors would reach that same acclaim. I have a few repairs to make that require the use of a good hammer.
Recently Lyssa asked about my interest in growing cotton. It's twofold. Ghandi believed that if people spun their own cotton it would reduce consumerism which helped the British government flourish. Or simply put manufacturing something as simple as clothing would help usher in the revival of village economies. I believe strongly that the existence and success etsy is a refleciton of that belief. A turning away from multi-national consumerism and embracing of craftmanship.
Secondly, I want to raise cotton because I can't have a goat. I want to develop a garment --or a washcloth-- from the seed all the way to a finished object. And since city ordinance (and good sense) prohibits me from raising a farm animal cotton seemed like the next logical choice.
In the meanwhile I'm hacking my aerogarden to grow cotton (and tomatoes).
Aerogarden Hacks Jethro Tull
If you're curious about how I'm doing it or how things are growing have a look at my Aerograden Hacks flickr stream.


  • Posted by marri on Jun 21, 2009

    do you have a p-touch?!!! so. jealous.
    i can’t wait to see how your aerogarden hack goes; the mint and basil basically took over everything in mine and it needs some rethinking…

  • Posted by Sandra D. on Jun 24, 2009

    Hello Michelle!
    It was wonderful meeting you tonight, having dinner and seeing your darling daughter!
    Anywho… I am much impressed by your Aerogarden hack… I am a horticultural Therapist and this could be a wonderful therapeutic tool…thanks for photos, gotta love it!
    Sandra D.

  • Posted by mindy on Jun 17, 2009

    If you ever decide that you really want to be enabled into owning a goat, you know that I’m your girl!
    I just ordered organic, undyed cotton yarn to begin making baby washclothes for a friend to market with her organic baby soap.
    We’ll need many updates on the aerodomecottonhome.

  • Posted by Lyssa on Jun 17, 2009

    I just planted a lemon tree so I can make my own limoncello. A goat would be nice too, but I think I’m pushing the husband’s limits with the chickens already. Grow little cotton sprouts, grow!

  • Posted by AlisonH on Jun 18, 2009

    My favorite scarf, just a little bit of expensive hand-dyed cashmere, is that same colorway—gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. A total cheerer-upper.
    I haven’t talked my hubby into the idea yet that a miniature sheep could pass for a sheepdog and nobody would know. Till it chewed on the fence or something, at least.

  • Posted by Heidi on Jun 16, 2009

    this one is SOLID GOLD michelle!

  • Posted by Roberta on Jun 17, 2009

    dishcloth haters are probably not knitting the pretty dishcloths.
    hacking the aerogarden to grow cotton, I gotta see that. love it

  • Posted by Kath on Jun 16, 2009

    There’s an Einstein toy in Happy Meals??? I want one! I have a friend who bears a scary resemblence, will send you a pic if you want to see!
    I quite like the idea of knitting washcloths, tried it last summer when it was killer hot and my hands were too sweaty for anything else. I’d knit more if my LYS carried the yarn.

  • Posted by Sally on Jun 16, 2009

    My husband wants a goat or a sheep as well so that he won’t have to mow the yard! Since I started spinning, he has been obsessed with me making something from start to finish. Good luck growing cotton, and I might have to go buy myself a “smart” happy meal! :)

  • Posted by sandy on Jun 16, 2009

    blame phat fiber if you get tired of seeing all over! i too have a short attention span. and tons of bits of stuff and questions!
    i love your plant growing idea!

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