A Yarny Exploration And Experiment
(Knitting Patterns Included In Article)
When I first got pregnant with my youngest child, I took it into my head to knit soft little washcloths. Why, I have no idea, but the idea took root. I wasn’t scouring the earth for the right yarn; I was simply keeping my eyes open for something that might appeal to me.
Enter Bernat Pipsqueak yarn. It’s a bulky yarn made from 100% polyester. Why polyester? Why not? I wasn’t really interested in what it was made of, but more interested in how it felt. This stuff is soft and cushy and … soft. Perfect for wiping tiny sensitive little baby butts.
I did what I usually do…I made myself a sample first. Using Pipsqueak and size US 11 needles, I cast on 25 stitches, knit, in garter stitch, for roughly 25 ridges (2 rows equals 1 ridge), and then bound off loosely. Then, just to test things out, I used the pipsqueak double-stranded with peaches and cream cotton…and did the exact same thing. Same needles, same cast on. It actually turned out to be roughly the same size as the first one, just denser.
I tried out both cloths. Honestly, I prefer the Pipsqueak alone. It soaks up water quickly, soaps up quickly, rinses quickly, and dries quickly. It’s wonderful. The one I double-stranded with cotton…takes a while to absorb water, doesn’t soap nearly so well, and takes forever to dry, whether hung in the shower or tossed after a wash into the dryer.
Then, I didn’t knit anymore up. I got sidetracked. I got busy. I forgot. Even though I had these two balls of yarn following me around everywhere. Honestly. I would pick up at least one ball and move it to places I could see it. The headboard. My desk. The end table by the couch. Finally, one day, the stalling stopped…mostly because I had to start rounding out my birth kit, and I found out the only washcloths we have in the house are the ones I knit (or crocheted) or that were knit (or crocheted) for me. Most of those are cotton cloths…which can be…irritating to those of us with sensitive skin…and the thought of that rather harsh cotton being used on my delicate bits during and after giving birth…caused me to grab up my needles pretty quickly.
My prototypes (above) aside…I decided I wanted to make different-sized cloths this round.
For the adult-sized cloth, which is approximately 10 inches x 5 ½ inches, I cast on 22 stitches, still using those same US 11 needles. I worked, in garter stitch, roughly 11 ridges (again, 2 rows equals 1 ridge) and bound off. Bind off loosely. This is a really flexible cloth, but if you don’t bind off loosely, you can tell…as you can see in the pictures.
For the baby-sized cloth, which is approximately 6 ½ inches x 4 ½ inches, I cast on 15 stitches. I worked, in garter stitch, roughly 15 ridges, and bound off loosely.
Then, for some reason, after a perusal stint on Etsy where I saw all these little eye make-up remover cloths, tiny face cloths, and whatnot, I decided to try out a smaller version. The smaller version, which is approximately 3 inches by 4 inches, is made by casting on 10 stitches and working, in garter stitch, roughly 10 ridges and binding off loosely.
From one skein of Pipsqueak, I made 4 face cloths, 6 baby-sized cloths, and 2 ½ adult-sized cloths. Which is why I usually buy the Pipsqueak two skeins at a time.
These cloths are very gentle on the skin, yet still exfoliate — without ripping your skin off. They scrub and hold up well when you scrub. Trust me, my 8yo can scrub the snot out of his black little feet and come away with beautifully clean feet in minutes, and the cloth is none the worse for it. The fabric does not seem to hold any stain as yet…but the baby isn’t here yet, so I don’t know if we’ll have to resort to the salt in the wash and vinegar in the rinse method to remove stains yet…but for older kids and adults…these things work terrifically. They ring out quickly and well with little effort. Hang them up and they dry out quickly. To knit them, they work up very quickly, which for me right now is a blessing, because I just want something fast and finished.
We have two sets of these cloths at the moment, in two different colors. I am planning to make more. Right now, we have enough to start. Let me know how your pipsqueak cloth adventure goes.