A Personal Touch

I have a major love for yarn. I love to touch it, I love to squeeze it, I love to run it through my fingers.

Last week, I indulged that love with a two-day trek around Western Washington visiting local yarn shops with my dog-walking, yarn-shopping, sewing-crafting buddy Kristi. She drives, I navigate, and we made it to 17 yarn shops this year from Bellingham to Seattle. What I love about this silly tour, is the amazing creativity I’m exposed to and the sweet, friendly ladies I meet. Each shop offers a free knit pattern and sometimes a crochet one, too. They have sales, prizes, drawings, and treats. It’s a giant yarn shop party, and I get to touch yarn to my heart’s content.

This year, I was on a mission; I was looking for some sturdy cotton yarn for dishcloths. Last year, one of the shops had a pattern for these and I’d made up a few. I thought white would be a nice, serviceable color. I was wrong. While the pattern was cute, the passover strand made it highly impractical. After a few times through the wash, they started coming back looking like this.

Old dishrag

They were so sweet when they were brand-new. After mending them a few times, I decided they were a lost cause. So this year, I was on the hunt for mercerized cotton (that makes it stronger and shinier) or just a more heavy-duty yarn. Out on Whidbey Island at Crafters Co-op, where you can find a little bit of everything, I bought some Peaches & Creme yarn in yellow, orange, and green. This could do the trick.

The next day in Mount Vernon, we stopped at Wild Fibers, they have some truly gorgeous yarn, and I always spend too much money when I visit. Browsing the shelves, I came across “yarn” made from t-shirt material–Tee Cakes by HiKoo. It was totally wrong for dishrags, but they had a free pattern for potholders. Mine are old, stained, and edged with wax after a craft project this winter. Maybe I could add some color to the whole kitchen.

Later in Seattle at one of our favorites, Acorn Street Shop, they were offering a tiny purse pattern in mercerized cotton. Even though it was a lighter weight yarn, it was so pretty I couldn’t pass it up on sale. I wasn’t interested in the purse at all, but this would make a cute dishcloth.

After two days of driving, shopping, ferries, and traffic, I got home exhausted, nursing a head cold, and toting bags of yarn. So Saturday while the MR worked outside between rain showers, I started in on a little knitting and crocheting.

A couple weeks ago, Just for the Knit of It (a blog I follow) had posted a ton of washcloth patterns that you could get for free on Ravelry (social networking for knitters and crocheters). I decided to try Nubbie Scrubbies in the Cotton Classic and Double Bump in the Peaches & Creme. I whipped those up so quickly and easily. Instant gratification is such a boost. The Tee Cakes potholders were done in a snap, too.

And now I have some lovely new additions to my kitchen.

Potholders and dishrags 2

I have total faith that the potholders will work out well. They are a great size and really thick. I love that while they’re totally old-fashioned knit potholders, they look really fun and funky just by the choice of yarn. I can see making these for my girls when they move out some day.

potholders with hearts

I just couldn’t resist playing around with the heart bokeh when I was editing.  For the pattern, go to MacandMe.net all proceeds go to Mac’s college fund.

I’m going to have to reserve my judgment on the dishcloths until they’ve seen a few months of service. The white ones last year were so cute until they started falling apart. One of the ladies on Whidbey gave me some great advice. She suggested washing them out really well with dish soap, rinsing, and then sticking them into the microwave for a 30 seconds to kill the germs. That way, they wouldn’t have to go through the wash as frequently and would undergo less wear and tear. I’m going to have to give it a try–the random tips you pick up at a yarn shop. Just an FYI, if you try the Nubbie Scrubbie pattern, it’s a total yarn hog.

You may be questioning, my choice of colors. Well, there’s a method to my madness. I picked up a placemat that matches my favorite tablecloth a few months ago. I like to have something under my coffeemaker. At the last house, the steam caused trouble with the cabinet above it over the years, so the MR had me move it out to the edge of the counter each day. Well, the silver tray the coffeepot was on would leave gray marks on the tile. A placemat simply makes it all slide back and forth easily. And in this house, it adds a little needed color.

Coffee pot

If you don’t like yarn and hate that handcrafted look, homemade dishrags and potholders are probably not your thing. But I love being able to add that personal touch to my kitchen. No one else it going to have these.

Adding any personal touches to your home? What kind of crafts are you into?

Sending prayers to the people in Oklahoma. Thankful that the MR’s cousin and my cousin and her family are all safe about an hour from the devastation. 

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10 thoughts on “A Personal Touch

  1. Oh my goodness, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the dish clothes. They are all so pretty and vibrant and useful. Good Christmas gifts…..hint, hint.

    Thank you for sending out prayers for your cousin and MR’s cousin in, or around OK. MR’s cousin was in the path of the storm, but because of the hills and water where he lives, the tornado did not touch down.

  2. If you did absolutely have to wash in a machine, try throwing in a lingerie bag. I love the colors you picked. My potholders are forever turning up burned…

    It was a little scary weekend before last when I first received a text from school saying graduation was postponed. Then a text from DD#2 – “we’re going to die and the boys won’t come downstairs”. Our tornado lifted before hitting the city, thankfully.

    My sisters husband was a responder in Moore. Having being through many of these storms, just makes me cry.

    Scrapbooking is my only really craft anymore. I would like to take some cross stich lessons to remind myself what to do. I loved doing that as a young person.

    • I’ll have to give the lingerie bag a try. It does seem a little crazy that my dishrags are so delicate. 🙂

      Glad the tornadoes bypassed your area. Our valley floods fairly often over the winters, but we have lots of warning and the farmers along the river are experts at how to handle it. Tornadoes are so unpredictable.

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