Lovely nubbly

I’m trying to do something about the amount of refuse we put in the bin each week.

We recycle hard plastics, aluminium, steel, glass and paper. We’ve just started recycling soft plastics by putting them in the Redcycle bin at our local Coles supermarket. I’ve bought two bokashi buckets for dealing with organic waste; we don’t have chickens or a worm farm (away too often for the first and too hot for the second), so I wanted a way to process the waste so that it could be dug into the garden. Apart from an infestation of fruit flies which has resulted in me exporting the bucket to the garage instead of the kitchen, that aspect is working well. I can put used paper towel into it, but I’d prefer not to. I don’t use much, but ideally, I’d like to stop using paper towel altogether, despite its handiness and multiple uses.

A number of friends have been knitting their own wipe-up cloths using cotton yarn. I don’t knit, but I can do basic crochet, so I found some bargain cotton yarn in 10ply and made myself a sample, using a 6mm/J/10 hook. It’s chunky, absorbent and has a pleasant nubbly surface that’ll be great for giving my benchtops a bit of a scrub and wiping up spills. Being 100% cotton, it’ll wash happily, and folded, it makes quite a decent heat pad. Best of all, once it’s knackered, I can bury it in the garden and it’ll rot down to nothing.

My sample is quite large, and subsequent cloths will be smaller. I’ll also probably buy 8ply for future cloths, once I’ve used up the yarn I have, and when the time comes to replace some of the microfibre cloths I’m currently using, so I have a range of sizes and textures.This size used the better part of one 100g ball, so smaller ones will also be more economical with yarn.

For the source of many of these ideas and some truly amazing lifestyle and cooking inspiration, head over to the lovely Celia’s blog at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Time to go and give my cloth a test drive 🙂

43 thoughts on “Lovely nubbly

  1. A warm wave of nostalgia coursed through me upon seeing your picture. My grandmother made washing up cloths like these. She also made more densely crocheted circular ones and sewed two together to make the very best hot pads ever. I have only one of these left, stained and worn and in constant use. It’s smaller and more flexible, thus safer than all the big stiff mitts and pads that are hard for me to use. I wish I could crochet!

    • katechiconi says:

      I can’t do proper crochet, with patterns, and counting and fancy stitches. You are looking at the sum total of my skill. But what you see isn’t hard, and if your hands are up to the minor manipulation required, I’m sure a brain as agile as yours can follow!

  2. Kate, that’s AWESOME!! It looks perfect! And thank you for the linky love.. xx

    • katechiconi says:

      My pleasure! It’s a nice thick, squishy cloth, perfect for emergency mop ups. The cotton yarn is, I think, less tightly woven than the lovely Bendigo stuff, so while it’s maybe a little more absorbent, it’ll probably deteriorate faster in the long run. Never mind, this was a test, and I’m pleased with the result.

  3. nettyg says:

    Good on you for being part of the recycling/green/homemade, simple and thoughtful way of living. I’ve been making knitted dish, cleaning and wascloths for years, and wouldn’t go back to store bought ones. After much trial and error, I now use the creamy coloured ‘kitchen string’ that’s sold in the dollar shops. It’s soft enough for a face cloth, and in a more dense pattern makes good cleaning cloths, good for scrubbies too. I regularly give these as gifts with a bar of my home made soap, but will sometimes use something a bit fancier or coloured. I made a dozen washcloths recently for a friend’s new baby from Ecoyarns supersoft organic cotton. Down to Earth blog is another good place to find simple living tips and ideas…….Celia is a follower:)

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve never been one for the ‘use once and throw away’ variety of dishcloth, but I did like the microfibre ones because of needing a less chemical approach to cleaning. However, they’re all manmade fibres and because of the density of the weave sometimes it’s hard to get them as clean as I’d like in the wash. Good tip about the string, I must check the dollar shop! I’ll never be a knitter, but this kind of basic crochet I can manage easily.

      • What a great idea, Kate! I too use microfiber clothes for wiping counters, cleaning spills and the like. We use paper towels sparingly as well, often for cat-upchuck. I’m a beginning crocheter…this is just the project I need.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’ve now made another, smaller one, and started a third, so you can see they don’t take long. For the smaller one in 10 ply, I made a chain of 25 stitches, and just carried on till it looked the right size. I then went all round the other three sides once to hide my wobbly edges 🙂 I really like the texture, but once I’ve used up this yarn, I’ll go for 8 ply instead as it’ll make the cloths thinner and more flexible.

    • Is Down to Earth Rhonda’s blog? I’m not actually a follower, but she IS brilliant. 😉

  4. nettyg says:

    This string wzshes up nicely, and dries quickly too. I don’t use any chemicals for cleaning either and find they work just fine. I’ve not crocheted with it though, so it might behave differently…at $2 a pack of 2 though, it’s worth it to give it a try….and you can always use the string to truss your chook. I’m

  5. magpiesue says:

    I admire your commitment to being more “earth friendly.” We’re able to toss food scraps and other organic materials, even some food stained cardboard, into a bin that gets collected every week during the warm months. I try to avoid using paper towels but hubby grabs them without thinking it seems. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, I used to have an organic waste bin when I lived down south. It went to a huge biomass dump which the local authority composted and made money by selling the end product back to the public. I miss that… I don’t mind paper towel as much as some things, because it can be composted, but I’d rather trees weren’t cut down to support my lazy kitchen habits 🙂

  6. kathyreeves says:

    You’ll love these! I knit them for part of the wedding gifts I make for my past 4-H students. Mine are 8 X 8 and I can get two from a 100 gram skein, with a little left over. Your crocheted versions will become your favorites in no time, and I love the idea that when they get ragged they can compost into the garden, I hadn’t thought of that!

  7. jmcheney says:

    Be sure to clip anything that could choke or strangle wildlife on land or in the sea. There is a lot of stuff, so you must be very vigilant. The photos on social media of poor entrapped creatures by our selfish cluelessness are too hard to bear. Good for you & your family, Kate! for doing all you can to curb our hideous wasteful habits.

  8. Good work there! At our house a roll of paper towel lasts many many months. I grab a towel (or more likely, a part of one) when my hands are very greasy, or if there is a very disgusting mess to clean up. Otherwise it’s always washable cloths. For a few months we’ve been paying for a composting service. Our municipal trash service picks up garbage and recyclables but they don’t do compost here, except yard waste of the type that can be mulched. So with the compost pickup, our “garbage” is a pretty small amount every week. We’re certainly not perfect but keep trying to do a little better. THanks for your efforts, too.

    • katechiconi says:

      We make little enough now that we don’t actually need to put our rubbish out every week, and the recyclables are only collected every other week in any case. I’d love to see every street with a series of dumpsters for sorted waste. I’d certainly use that rather than storing everything at home for a once weekly collection.

  9. You seem to be doing everything you possibly can to keep your carbon footprint small. I have some of those knit dish clothes friends have made for me. My drawers are full now. 😉

  10. Good on you. There’s no end to your talents. We use very little paper towel… and have been using microfibre cloths, but the quality has deteriorated and despite regular washing they get manky quickly. I think knit/crochet natural fibre cloths are the go. I’ll scout for yarn and see if I can remember how to knit.

    • katechiconi says:

      You can buy something very similar to what I’m using in Spotlight. I think they also do 8 ply. But if you want Australian made, you may need to go online; Celia’s earlier post about the Bendigo mill is a useful link. I actually find crochet a lot quicker than knitting, if you can remember that instead!

  11. tialys says:

    I’ve also got the bug – thanks to being directed to Celia via The Snail of Happiness and have so far knitted a red cotton cloth with a fancy pattern. That took a while so, in the interests of speed, I’ll crochet the next one or just knit it in garter stitch and save the fancier ones for gifts. I also made some waxed food wraps which was an adventure – I had to buy a new ironing board cover and the floorboards got an unexpected waxing – but I think I have the hang of it now 😉
    We’ve been composting our vegetable waste for yonks now and Mr. T has three very large compost heaps in the garden which are on rotation and get dug into the garden.
    Every little helps I guess.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve just finished crocheting my second dishcloth, a bit smaller but the same format. It feels really nice 🙂 I can’t do compost heaps very well here; too wet and hot part of the year and too dry and still hot the rest of it. I tried a worm farm and the worms all died of heatstroke. We’ve resigned ourselves to not keeping chickens because it’ll hold us back if we want to get away at zero notice, so the bokashi bucket was something I’d been wanting to look at for a while. I’m holding off on waxed wraps because I don’t use cling wrap anyway, I transfer stuff into containers with lids or put a plate on top of the bowl. I’m not entirely sure that I’d use them. Perhaps I need to buy a couple and see if they ever come out of the drawer!

      • tialys says:

        I know what you mean about the wraps – I have mine in a kilner jar on the kitchen shelves and I’ll see how often I use them and what size gets used the most.

      • katechiconi says:

        I have to say, the thing that’s changed my kitchen habits most in the past weeks is the Redcycle bag for the recyclable soft plastics. It’s horrifying to see how quickly it gets filled up, but gratifying to realise that none of that stuff is now heading for landfill. I must get some more mesh produce bags done, I don’t have enough for a big vegetable and fruit shop.

  12. cazinatutu says:

    oh my … our very first knitting lesson in infant school (how many eons ago was that?) was to knit a dishcloth

  13. Lynda says:

    OK, so now you have me hooked on the idea, and I just got a coupon folder in the mail from JoAnns. Now I know what I will be buying with one of them and yarn is also on sale this month. I don’t knit or crochet a lick, but I think I could manage this project. Yes, the corny pun was intentional. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      Bravo, that was worthy of me! I really like the chunky ones I’ve just made because they double as heat pads, I’ve found. But for wiping up, 8 ply would be better…

  14. Bordering on the Amish here! Nice work 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Not really, but I hate how cloths made of manmade fibres get manky and stinky after a while, you can never seem to wash the smell out. And it’s pleasantly therapeutic to have a small, gentle task for your hands.

  15. rutigt says:

    I did knit a few dishclothes, but they turned out so nice, so I didn´t have the heart to use them 🙂

  16. Emma says:

    Looking great Kate! I really love making crochet cloths 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s about all I’m good for! I can make a chain and then simply go backwards and forwards and once around the outside to tidy it up, but that’s it! I’m completely incapable of different stitches or, heaven forbid, following a pattern! Mind you, I can crank out the cloths pretty quickly now that I’m back in practice…

  17. I have knitted a few of these lately, but mostly with the intention of using them as facecloths. I should keep going and make some for the kitchen too. A 50 gram ball of 8 ply should be enough for each one, I found.

    • katechiconi says:

      I have a pretty crochet one in the shower for face scrubbing, but I’m planning to make some more when I migrate to a smaller ply, having used up all this 10ply. I don’t know if the fact that I’m making crochet cloths will affect how much I use. I suspect it will….

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