Eight years later, and this is still my "go-to" pattern!
A few Christmasses ago, I made "Yarn Smoothies" for all of my knitting friends, family, and co-workers. It consisted of three balls of coordinating yarn, inserted into a clear slushie cup, with knitting needles sticking out the hole in the lid. I designed and inserted a dishcloth pattern, and cup label, assembled the kits and gifted them. It was the first pattern I ever designed, and I wrote it to encompass the attributes I would like to see in a dishcloth pattern. The yarn I chose also had to have specific traits. Eight years later, that pattern has evolved into my "Go-to" Pattern, and that yarn became my "Go-to" yarn for home decor knits.
I love modular knitting, it's very logical and appeals to a linear thinker like me. The construction is very algorithmic, also a natural fit for me. The downside is that most modular knitting is done by casting on the total number of stitches, then working decreasing rows until only one stitch remains which causes a mitre affect. While it's very attractive, and satisfying to knit, what if you're not sure if you have enough yarn? Perhaps you just want to knit as big a square as you possibly can with your remaining yarn. That's why I designed my pattern to start in one corner, and work increases until you get to the finished size that you like, (or until you run out of yarn, or attention span!). I called my pattern "The Stop-when-you-want-to Housewarming Pattern"
After I knit this pattern several times, some other benefits emerged, one being that gauge really isn't an issue with the increasing mitre. The "corner out" construction means you can choose any brand of yarn and just use one of the recommended needle sizes on the yarn's label, and get the exact same results. Just knit until you get to the size you like, then bind off!
The diagonal construction means it launders well without warping shape or changing dimensions like most things knit side to side in a rectangular fashion. It stays nice and square and if shrinkage happens, it happens proportionately. It looks great on both sides, it's easy to memorize, it's portable, and it's an easy to manipulate and customizable pattern.
It all starts with the garter stitch and a square shape, but with a few variations of rows, and finishing options, the possibilities are endless. I've used the pattern to knit more than kitchen items: change the yarn and fibre content and it becomes a baby blanket, or a spa set. It’s neither masculine or feminine looking so you have a go-to pattern for everyone from babies to college students to new brides. It details those little extra tricks I've learned along my knitting path that really give a "finished-expert" feel to even my easiest and smallest projects.
The pattern includes the “Basic Mitred Square”, then nine variations of stitches worked within that basic shape, as well as instructions for three different finishing techniques. From this easy pattern, so many possible combinations can be made. Cast-on, work a few rows, then start mixing it up a bit, and the results are very visually different. To use a variation, just insert it where you’d like add a few rows (or several) of something visually different. They can be used within a basic square anywhere and in combination with however many other variations you choose. No finished square needs to be the same, and no over-thinking is required. Often, I’ll cast-on and just straight knit while I’m in the car, then when I get home, add an interesting row or two, then on the next car ride, bring a new colour and introduce it for the length of the car ride, then bind-off when the square is the size I want, or I’ll knit a section until I run out of that colour of yarn, then switch colours and variation, no waste!
The instructions for each of the variations state whether to start on a right side or wrong side row, and whether there should be an odd or even number of stitches between the first stitch and the first marker. Other than those two rules, there are no rules! I have so much fun with this, and use the squares for so many things. See below for photos of how easily this project can come together.
I used a Linen/Cotton blend by Knit Picks called "CotLin" in my smoothies. It's both soft and durable, making the cloths suitable to use on skin, has a nice variety of colours and shades, and is affordable. I really like using this particular blend for housewares because it has great colour fastness, and the linen content makes it softer every time you wash it, I've even gifted baby versions of this cloth!
For this pattern, a cabled needle long enough to accommodate the size of the intended project is required. The diameter of needle should be one of the recommended sizes on the label of the yarn chosen. I choose a yarn suitable for the intended use (i.e; a cotton blend for dishcloths).
The pattern file itself is a 12 page, high quality pdf complete with photos. I'm selling it and the affordable kits in my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/mettacreative.
This truly is a pattern I knit and give proudly as stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, or hostess gifts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that it also becomes your “go-to” gift pattern.
Kelly Kayfish is an artisan in Devon, Alberta, Canada