A handmade and sustainable cleaning option!
Since I was a child, my mother has knit these cotton cloths to use around the house. I have fond memories of a drawer full of the multi-coloured knit cloths we used to clean and dust in virtually every room. Once I moved out on my own, my mother started sending me cloths she had just finished knitting. It was a nice reminder of home, and of a simple time in my life.
When I was 19 I traveled to Cuba for several months as part of a University course. While I was there I learned how to crochet from a local group of ladies in Matanzas, and I could not get enough. I've continued to crochet ever since. I was interested in knitting as well, but it took me much longer to actually get the hang of it. While I was learning the basics of knitting, I decided that these cloths would be a good project to start with.
I've made tons of my own was cloths since then. I use them to clean counter tops, floors, the stove, the bathroom, dishes, to dust shelves, to wipe up spills, to clean my face... they are incredibly versatile (hot tip - have them colour coded so you don't use the same cloths to clean your face and the toilet). They are also fine to throw in the washer and dryer, and they last ages. Because they work so well, I've also crocheted some round makeup pads to replace the disposable ones I used to use.
So in the spirit of spreading the word on ways to be sustainable at home, I'm going to share both of these patterns with you. They are both beginner level (so if you've been wanting to give knitting or crocheting a try, give these a go) and you can use the same yarn for both patterns. It's usually very affordable -I buy mine in the biggest skein I can find (and it's usually around $10).
Knit Cotton Cloths
Yarn: Medium (4) 100% cotton yarn. Any colour will be fine
Knitting needles: size US 7 (4.5mm)
Yarn needle (to sew ends in when it's finished)
Stitches used: Cast on (CO), Knit (K), Yarn Over (yo) Knit 2 Together (k2tog), and Cast Off (co)
1) CO 4
2) K 4
3) K 2, yo, knit to the end of the row (repeat step #3 until you have 45 stitches)
4) K 1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit to the end (repeat step #4 until you have only 4 stitches left)
5) co, then sew in your ends
(I wasn't sure how to do a couple of these stitches when I was first learning, but a quick google search and some patience was all it took to figure it out).
Crochet Cotton Makeup Pads
Yarn: same as the knit cloths (100% cotton)
Crochet hook: 5 mm
Yarn needled: to sew in the ends when you're done
Stitches used: Chain (ch), Single Crochet (sc) Slip Stitch (ss)
Begin with a slip knot and then ch 2
Round 1) Make 6 sc into the second chain from the hook, then join them with a ss
Round 2) Ch 1 (this counts as first sc), and then sc into the base of this ch 1. 2 sc in each chain around (this should leave you with 12 sc stitches). Join to the first stitch with a ss
Round 3) Ch 1 (this counts as first sc) then 2 sc in the next stitch. * 1 sc in the next stitch, then 2 sc in the following stitch. Repeat from * around, then join with a ss (you should now have 18 stitches)
Round 4) Ch 1 (this counts as first sc), then sc in next stitch, 2 sc in the following stitch. * 1 sc in each of the next 2 stitches, then 2 sc in the following stitch. Repeat from * around, then join with a ss.
(I usually end with mine at this size, but if you want to make it bigger just keep adding 1 sc more before you 2 sc for each row - the round 5 would have 1 sc in 3 stitches, then 2 sc in the following, round 6 would have 1 sc in 4 stitches then 2 sc in the following etc)
When you're done, ss in the next 2 stitches after you've joined the round to create a smooth edge, them simply pull your yarn through and cut. Then sew in your ends.
If you're not interested in making your own, I have them available for purchase in the store! They currently only come in the colour pictured here, but I'll be working on adding more colours soon.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out!
Cheers! - Sarah