Simply Notable

simplynotable.com · Feb 14, 2015

An Almost Lost Washcloth Tutorial

The Almost Lost Washcloth pattern posted on our site was a casually shared, handwritten pattern that my Mom in law received from a friend. While many loved it, all you have to do is look at the comments to see that there were a large number of knitters who were confused and frustrated by the unusual, old-time terminology used in the pattern.

To help, I decided it would be a good idea to create an Almost Lost Washcloth tutorial to clarify the confusing bits. Although I loved the charming shorthand of the original pattern, (made it so easy for me to remember! Leave 2, knit back, Leave 4, knit back, etc), if I were to rewrite the pattern in modern knitting terms, I’d write it this way:

using approximately 50 yards worsted weight cotton and size US 8 needles:
cast on 14 stitches using long tail cast on method.

row 1: knit
row 2: k4, yo, knit 8
row 3: Leaving last 2 stitches on needle, turn and knit to end of row. (15 stitches on needle)
row 4: k4, yo, knit 7
row 5: Leaving last 4 stitches on needle, turn and knit to end of row. (16 stitches on needle)
row 6: k4, yo, knit 6
row 7: Leaving last 6 stitches on needle, turn and knit to end of row. (17 stitches on needle)
row 8: k4, yo, knit 5
row 9: Leaving last 8 stitches on needle, turn and knit to end of row. (18 stitches on needle)
row 10: bind off first 4 stitches, knit to end of row. (14 stitches on needle)

repeat rows 1 – 10 thirteen more times for a total of fourteen points.

Bind off all stitches. Using mattress stitch, seam beginning and ending rows to close the circlular cloth. Picking up innermost bumps of each garter ridge with your tapestry needle, cinch together open circle in middle of cloth and fasten off. Weave in ends.

Here’s some photos to help with these instructions:

These first four photos show the process of turning your work, leaving stitches on the left hand needle un-knit. Knitting like this is called “short rows”. Often these types of instructions come with wrapping and turning to prevent holes in the knitted cloth. That’s unnecessary with this pattern. You can see that by the time you’ve completed row 7, you’re getting a fan shaped segment.

after completion of row 2

after turning, preparing to knit row 3

after completion of row 6

after turning, preparing to knit row 7

after completion of row 7

after completion of four points

Once you’ve completed 4 points, you can see that they are beginning to form a circle.

after binding off all stitches

Once all 14 points are completed, you’ll bind off all stitches in order to seam the starting and finishing ends together to complete your circle. Bind off loosely so your ending row will be the same length and have a similar stretchiness as your beginning row. Some knitters like to start with a provisional cast on and graft the first and last row together to avoid seaming and get a perfect looking join. I’ve practiced and gotten pretty good at mattress stitch, so I’m okay with stitching them together. Knitty has a wonderful mattress stitch tutorial.

after seaming with mattress stitch

picking up garter ridge bumps to close inner circle

If you run your tapestry needle through each of the inner garter ridge bumps, you get a nice, neat closure when you cinch the circle closed. After cinching, tie a knot and weave in ends.

inner circle cinched closed

And there you have the entire process! I hope if you’ve had questions, this has helped to answer them.


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