Amy Artisan

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Category: Grandma (page 2 of 2)

Doing Dishes

Based on my knitting history, my choice for the letter D should come as no surprise.

D is for Dishcloths


As a child, I always remember a handknit cotton dishcloth hanging over the sink or faucet in the kitchen. These dishcloths were the only thing that mom would use to wash dishes, clean counters, deal with the spills and messes that children can make. I remember always being amazed that it seemed like no matter how big the mess, that dishcloth could handle it. Mom remembers getting some of these dishcloths from an aunt as a wedding gift & initially not knowing what they were. Obviously she quickly caught on to the power of the handknit dishcloth. Grandma learned the pattern from Aunt Irene & so we never were at a loss for dishcloths.

When I had an apartment in college & in my pre-knitting days Grandma kept me in dishcloths as well – no visit with her was complete without getting a few more dishcloths for the stash. One drawer of her bookcase by the front door was always filled with dishcloths to share.

As I’ve mentioned before, learning to knit the cotton dishcloth for myself was my catalyst for learning to knit in 1997. Since then, I have always had a stash of dishcloth cotton – years ago it was maybe only 2 or 3 balls. These days…um…one whole cube in my craft storage is filled with dishcloth cotton. Whenever I’m in a craft store and see a selection of Sugar’n Cream yarn there is a good chance that I will pick out a color or two. Sugar’n Cream was Grandma’s favorite yarn for the dishcloths – it only made sense that it became mine as well. I remember a couple of times when Grandma knit with another kitchen cotton and she would always comment that it wasn’t the same as SnC.

In recent years I’ve dabbled with assorted dishcloth patterns – through the Monthly Dishcloth KAL, from websites & Ravelry, from MDK, from pattern booklets. I find that I always return to the Grandma’s Favorite pattern – especially when using the variegated or twist colorways.

Dishcloths are my go-to project. I haven’t yet hit a point of having too many dishcloths. Now that Grandma doesn’t knit anymore, I keep Artisan Mom & Rebecca stocked with dishcloths. Of course my kitchen is stocked. And I always have a stash of dishcloths on hand to use for hostess gifts – in fact, I have a box filled with dishcloths & coordinating tea towels so that I don’t have to show up empty handed.

I keep dishcloth supplies in the car. They come in handy when the line for a carwash in the winter stretches around the block. A basic dishcloth is perfect movie theater knitting. When I feel like knitting but don’t want to have to think about what I’m doing I’ll reach for the dishcloth cotton.

In this vintage apartment I don’t have a dishwasher. So all of my dishwashing is done with a handknit cotton dishcloth. As I stand in my kitchen & do dishes I remember seeing Grandma at her kitchen sink washing up the dishes. When she was done, the pale yellow tile kitchen counters would be wiped off, the dishcloth rung out & then it would be hung over the faucet – to dry and be ready to handle any mess that came into the kitchen.

These Hands

The stories they could tell throughout the years.

In high school they excelled at typing and shorthand – skills that led her to secretarial work – in a law office, for the California Highway Patrol, in the guidance counselor’s office at Mom’s high school.

During World War II, as a young bride they wrote letters to my grandfather when he was a Navy Seabee in the Pacific.

They learned to knit at a Sear’s class with her neighbor and best friend, Velma.

They knit and crocheted incredible items for everyone in the family.

They tended her backyard garden – strawberries, raspberries, spinach, the huge avocado tree…

In 1997, they taught me to knit.

In 1999, they learned to use email as a way to communicate with family and friends as an alternative to her faithful letter writing.

These days her hands aren’t nearly as busy as they used to be. They can often be found petting the kitties.

These days her hands are rather Fetching, don’t you think?

What do you give a 92 year old Grandma who doesn’t need much these days? Some rather fetching handwarmers to keep warm the hands that have done so much for so many.

This was a last minute knit decision – so much fun! More of these will be knit for me & others in the near future. This pair – Koigu Kersti from the stash. The colors seem vintage to me – a great choice for a great lady!


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