Monday, June 23, 2014

Simple comforts: Applying knitting and crocheting

Applying knitting and crocheting skills can be somewhat of a challenge to people if they haven't spent as much time doing those things as I have. Yes, I'm having to greatly restrain myself from throwing ideas and patterns at you. Fear not, this is not going to get complicated.... yet.

I'm going to go over two things that can either be crocheted or knit, and one thing that works best crocheted due to how "stretchy" knitting can be. I'll also give my recommendation on the best and most widely available cotton yarn.


From right to left: Knit washcloth, face
scrubbers and crocheted washcloth
Let you in on a little secret: washcloths are great for learning new stitches, be they knit or crocheted, and who's to say that you can't make even bath towels that way? That would require a lot more patience (read: stubbornness) for many folks, though.

So here are the most basic patterns (maybe the simplest ever) for knitting and crocheting a washcloth.


  1. Cast on 20 stitches.
  2. Do as many rows as needed to make the washcloth the size you want, in what's called a  Stockinette or Garter stitch.
  3. Cast off.


  1. Do 20 single crochet foundation stitches.
  2. Do however many rows you want in single crochet.
  3. Chain two after last row is finished, cut, pull through and pull on the thread end to tighten the two chain stitches down into a knot.  
Yes, I know I hear you "It can't be that simple."   Only it is that simple.  When it comes to any craft, due diligence and a willingness to put a project aside when you've become impatient is key.  No skill is too difficult to become at least competent in its basics.

Reusable Feminine Pads

Yes the one on the left is in camo.
Don't judge me.
These pads are honestly just as simple to make as the washcloths: knit or crochet them into whatever length and width you need, add two ties or wings with buttons to it, and you're done.  Heck, if you wanted to, you could use the washcloth that you just got done making.

"Isn't crochet or knitting too... holey... for this sort of thing?" I hear you asking.

No, actually it doesn't seem to be (and yes, I have used them!) For really heavy days, you can make three layers and single crochet around the three edges in order to hold them together. You will then have a thick enough pad and won't have to worry about leaks.  So far the best pattern I have found for making these is a simple crocheted oval:

See?  Not that hard to make an oval, and you can crochet or knit the pad in a rectangle if you'd prefer.


Just rinse them out (preferably in the bath tub) with COLD WATER and a very small amount of vinegar (half a teaspoon per cup of cold water),  let them air dry overnight, and toss in the laundry.  Seriously, that's it.

Re-usable bandages

These are the two bandages I made: one with ties and a plain one.
Here's hoping I never need to test them out, eh?
Now I know there are several of you who probably just cringed.  I'm not overly encouraging their use in the here and now, because we have the luxury of disposable bandages.  I am simply encouraging the knowledge that these are an option and that they are proving to be more sturdy than ones you might be able to make from fabric.

For anything bandage related, I recommend sticking with the single crochet or half double crochet.  Also, try to stay away from the colored cottons and stick to white or off-white so that you don't mix your re-usable bandages with any other stuff you might be making.

Green is knit, orange is crocheted.
Orange has been  used to wrap my  wrist on a few occasions.
It's also possible to crochet (for a lack of a better descriptor) ACE bandages. These don't work if knit; knitting, while excellent for making a lighter and more airy fabric, also stretches more.  Too much more actually, as you can see in my pic here on the left.  Crochet does give way as well - a small bit, but not enough to compromise it's use as a bandage however.

For the actual pattern, see "How to make a washcloth."  No, seriously, it's that easy.  Things do not have to complicated in their production in order to be useful.

Additional note: as I learned from a burn that happen on 6/11/14, these bandages soaked in cold water are awesome.  Just saying.


To keep things simple, I recommend all crocheted cloths like feminine pads, washcloths and bandages be made from COTTON ONLY.  Other yarns are made from polyesters, acrylics and wool.  Not only do these have noticeably more give in the finished product, but they are also much, much harder to clean again for re-use.   The most widely available brand of cotton is Lily Sugar'n Cream.  This yarn can be found at Wal*Mart, JoAnn Fabrics, Michael's (Not online), Hobby Lobby and of course Amazon.

Your best bets for good deals on this cotton are at JoAnn's, Amazon and Wal-Mart.  They come in a variety of colors and when making personal washcloths for individual members of the tribe, you can always choose a unique color set for each person.

There we go! Three very basic but very useful patterns that I hereby present as Exhibit A for why knowing the basics of these two skills is a very good idea. I will have updates on the use of those feminine pads, and will be providing you more patterns soon! They will show up either here or I'll throw them up on my personal blog.

Happy crafting!

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