I’m in deep winter mode, spending evenings sequestered in an easy chair with cat Rocket filling the sliver of space at my side. He often snores, and sometimes his face quivers during a dream. The TV may be on, but my attention is usually on some knitting, crocheting or reading.
My latest project came from the Lily Sugar’n Cream website. Sugar’n Cream yarn is knitting worsted weight cotton. There are many free patterns at the Lily website, but most are for dishcloths, which mystify me a bit. I use a scrub brush and/or sponge for dishwashing, and can’t see a dishcloth as being up to the task. But when I ran across a washcloth pattern, I decided to give it a try. Much to my surprise, the washcloth turned out beautifully, with a real organic, wabi-sabi sort of feel–not quite square, but perfect the way it is. I didn’t know my regular washcloths were such wimps, but this crocheted cloth is soft, thick, and nubby, and even looks good wet! It’s no looking back, washcloth-wise, and I can see crocheting a stack of them and keeping them in a basket. Here is the pattern:
Lily Sugar’n Cream yarn, crochet hook size G
Row 1 (RS): 1 sc in second ch from hook. *Ch 1. Miss next ch. 1 sc in next ch. Repeat from * to end of chain. Chain 1, turn.
Row 2: 1 sc in first sc. *1 sc in next ch-1 space. Ch 1. Miss next sc. Repeat from * to last sc. 1 sc in last single sc. Ch 1, turn.
Row 3: 1 sc in 1st sc. *Ch 1. Miss next sc. 1 sc in next ch-1 space. Rep from * to last sc. 1 sc in last sc. Ch 1. Turn.
Repeat last 2 rows until work measures 9 inches, and fasten off.
On a roll, I decided to make some soap to go with the washcloth. Using some goats milk melt-and-pour soap and some rice bran, I made a nubby-looking bar of soap. Check out your local craft store for the soap and the plastic soap molds. My mold took four ounces of melted soap and one tablespoon of rice bran. Rice bran is available at health food stores, and is inexpensive (my box was $1.95). Supposedly it can be used for washing floors, which is on my list of projects. Just melt the soap in a measuring cup and add the rice bran. I stirred the liquid soap and rice bran mixture with a skewer. It takes longer than a spoon, but soap doesn’t collect on it. Then I poured the mixture into a mold, allowed it to cool, and popped it from its mold.
I also saw why dishcloth patterns are so popular: they are a fun, quick little project to do, and they are pretty. I wondered if a dishcloth pattern couldn’t be used as a washcloth, and I crocheted a pattern called “Flying Shells” in blue ombre yarn from 2-Hour Dishcloths by Darla Sims. This is a copyrighted design, but you could either order the book (from Amazon for $3.65 +s&h), check to see if you library has a copy, or browse the Lily website for something similar.
Here is the blue washcloth shown with Pears Soap, which is my favorite soap. It was purportedly used by Lily Langtry, who was an Edwardian courtesan. It smells gentle and old-fashioned, and makes me think of my grandmother.
Lastly, still in a soap making mode, I made some little frog soaps, using frog candy molds. I am just mentioning this in passing, because the odds that you or anyone else would have frog candy molds are pretty low. But it does show you can use all sorts of molds for soap making.
Frog soap closeup. I used goats milk soap, along with some green clay. I mixed one tablespoon of the clay with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and stirred this mixture into about four ounces of melted soap. Don’t try to stir the clay directly into the melted soap–it will never totally dissolve.