Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Squiggledy Dishcloth Free Pattern & Tutorial - an Easy Intro to Slip Stitch Crochet


Don't you love cotton yarn dishcloths? They're cushy, durable, and can be made in a rainbow of colours. In the past, I always knitted my dishcloths, preferring the smooth texture and drape of plain garter stitch. Crochet dishcloths seemed a little too bumpy and hole-y. But all that changed when I started playing around with slip stitch crochet.

If you haven't tried slip stitch crochet, the Squiggledy Dishcloth makes a great first project. Using only 2 stitches (chain stitch and slip stitch), it's quick, fun, and beautifully simple. Front Loop Slip Stitch, which makes up the body of the dishcloth, yields a supple, drapey, and stable crochet fabric patterned with pleasing squiggly lines.


Slip stitch crochet does take a bit of getting used to. Because it's worked with a larger-than-normal hook, your current row will always look a bit messy and lumpy. (If you're a tight crocheter, as I am, you'll probably have to learn to consciously relax your tension - AND resist the urge to tighten up those floppy, loopy stitches.) But don't be discouraged - persistence pays off, and a few rows later you'll find that those same lumpy stitches have melded into a harmonious whole.

Enough talk - let's crochet!

Size: Custom

Yarn Requirements: Kitchen-weight cotton yarn, 45 - 50 yards

Yarns I Used: Peaches 'n Creme

How Did the Yarn Behave? As expected - it's kitchen yarn (which means splitty and no memory - but perfect for dishcloths).

Hook Size(s):
Turquoise - K (6.5mm) and H (5.0mm)
Cream - J (6.0mm) and H
Note: The J hook made a tighter stitch that was harder to work into on succeeding rows. Use a hook size that is comfortable for you and gives a relaxed stitch. A good place to start is with a hook 3 sizes larger than the one recommended for your yarn.

All crochet terminology is American.


Squiggledy Dishcloth Shorthand Pattern

Using larger hook, loosely ch an even number of stitches. Turn.

All Rows: Sl st in front loop of each st across. Ch 1, turn.

Work until dishcloth is desired length. Finish with odd-numbered row. (Working yarn should be on the same side as starting yarn tail, not kitty-cornered from it.)

Edging: (RS) Switch to smaller hook. Ch 1. Working down side of project, sl st in first open sp (just before the knotty "bump"). *Ch 2, insert hook in same sp, pull up a loop, insert hook in next open sp (just before next "bump"), yo, pull through all lps on hook.* Repeat from * to * down side edge.

At corner: In final side open sp, ch 2, insert hook in same sp, pull up a loop, insert hook in back loop of first starting ch; yo, pull through all lps on hook. *Ch 2, insert hook in same st, pull up a loop, sk 1 st, insert hook in back loop of next st, yo, pull through all lps on hook.* Repeat from * to * across end of dishcloth, working in back loops only. Turn corner as before. (On next side, stitches will be made in the spaces just after the knotty bump.) Work edging up other side as before. On the other end, work edging as before, stitching in back loops only.

In final corner sp, ch 2, sl st in same sp. Cut yarn about 2" from work; pull yarn up and out of st. Join w/invisible join to first edging sl st. (Click here for invisible join tutorial.) Weave in ends.


Squiggledy Dishcloth Tutorial with Instructions in Plain English

If you've never tried slip stitch crochet, I recommend making a small sample swatch - at least 12 chains wide - to help your hands get used to it. If your stitches are tight and you have trouble getting the hook through them, go up one hook size until you find a hook-yarn combination that is comfortable and produces a neat, flexible fabric. Make your swatch at least 8-10 rows deep. If your crochet fabric is too loose and floppy, try a hook one size smaller.

Start with some kitchen-weight cotton yarn and a larger-than normal hook. (Size K worked well for me.)


Loosely chain any even number of stitches. I have small hands and I like smaller dishcloths, so I chained 22 (for a finished width of 6" including edging). Most people would probably want something bigger than that - say 30 to 40 stitches wide.

The last chain is your turning chain.

All Rows: Skipping the turning chain, make a slip stitch in the front loop of each chain across. (If you're looking down at the top of your stitches - they look like a row of "V"s - the front loop is always the one closest to you.)


The first row is rather awkward, but using a big hook makes it easier. Remember to keep your stitches loose - even sloppy is okay. Just don't pull the yarn tight.


When you reach the end of the row (be sure to count as you stitch - you should have 1 less stitch than the number you chained), chain 1 and TURN. (Turn so that you keep the working yarn behind at all times. Do not let the working yarn wrap around the end of the dishcloth.)


Repeat Row 1, making a slip stitch in each front loop. When you reach the end of the row, be careful you don't miss the final stitch - it can be hard to see sometimes.

Don't miss the last stitch!

If your count is short (remember that you should always have an odd number that is 1 stitch less than the starting chain), that means you missed a stitch somewhere. Slowly pull on the yarn to frog the row and find the spot you missed. Here's one of my missed stitches:

Missed one!

Here we are a few rows in. Doesn't look like much yet...


...but keep stitching. Just a few rows more, and you will see the squiggly pattern emerge. The fabric should be nice and drapey and slightly stretchy, and your hook should move easily in and out of the stitches.


Like most other yarny projects, this one is slightly addictive. "Just one more row," I keep thinking, and before I know it I'm ready to start the edging.

Repeat Row 1, always chaining 1 and turning at the end of each row, until your dishcloth is as long as you'd like. Finish with an odd-numbered row. The working yarn should be on the same side as the starting yarn tail (not kitty-cornered from it).

Ready to make some easy edging? Here we go.

Edging:

The side facing you is now the right side. Edging will be stitched with the right side facing you at all times.

Before we start the edging, take a look at the side edge of your dishcloth. It's made up of yarny bumps with spaces or holes between them. Your edging stitches will be made in those "holes".

Side Edging: Switch to smaller hook. Chain 1, then slip stitch in the first "hole" on the side edge. The hole will be just before the yarny bump.


Chain 2...


...then insert your hook into the same hole and pull up a loop...


...then insert your hook into the NEXT hole (just before the next yarny bump)...


...yarn over, and immediately pull through all loops on hook.


Repeat these steps (chain 2, insert hook into same space and pull up loop, insert hook into next space, yarn over, pull through all loops on hook) across the side edge of the dishcloth.

This makes a pretty, lacy slip stitch edging with picots.

(A word of warning: if you're like me, you will be tempted to make single crochets instead of slip stitches after you insert your hook through the second hole. Resist the temptation! As soon as you yarn over, just pull that yarn right through all the loops.)

Here's our edging a few picots later - notice how it opens up the spaces between rows and adds some lacy interest:


Stitching Around the Corner: When you reach the final hole on the side, chain 2 as usual,
insert hook into same space and pull up loop,
insert hook into back loop of starting chain (around the corner),
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.


Bottom Edging: Now you will be working across the starting edge. Make edging as before, stitching into the back loops of the starting chain (marked by dots in the photo above), and skipping 1 chain between picots

(Chain 2, insert hook into same space and pull up loop,
skip a stitch, insert hook into back loop of next st,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.)

Work edging across bottom edge of dishcloth. When you reach the corner, turn as before.

Work edging up other side of dishcloth, stitching into the "hole" just after each bump. Turn corner as before.

Work edging across top of dishcloth, stitching into the back loop only of every other stitch, as with bottom edge.

To finish: When you reach the final stitch of top edge,
chain 2, and slip stitch in back loop of same stitch.
Cut yarn, leaving a 2" - 3" tail. Pull yarn up and out of stitch.
Join with Invisible Join to first edging slip stitch (marked with a dot in the photo below). (Click on the words "Invisible Join" to be taken to a quick tutorial.)


Invisible Join complete!

Weave in your ends, admire your pretty new dishcloth, and start compiling a mental list of who you can give these to for Christmas. (Ack! The "C" word! But remember, Christmas gifts are a wonderful excuse for buying more yarn using up your stash.)


You may do whatever you like with the items you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern.

If you have any questions, or find any mistakes, please ask (or tell) in the comment box below. I can also be reached on Ravelry as MrsMicawber.

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting!

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45 comments:

  1. Can't wait to give this a try...and thanks for the tutorial, I LOVE pictures, makes things so much easier! :)

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    1. You're welcome, Sandy! I'm a visual learner myself. Thanks for commenting. :)

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    2. The photos are exceptional! So helpful & easy to follow.

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  2. These are so super cool! They look like they have been knit - I suppose that's the coolest part. I had no idea a stitch like this existed. Thanks for the excuse to buy, I mean use up yarn. :-)

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    1. Thanks Liz - This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to slip stitch crochet! Vashti Braha has a super helpful and inspiring list of links here (which includes lots of great posts of her own):

      http://designingvashti.com/blog/slip-stitch-crochet-class-resources/

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  3. What a wonderful word 'squiggledy' is! Your dishcloth looks so neat and what a clever stitch. I'll have to try it just for the fun of it! Your tutorials are always so marvellously well explained! Thank you for sharing and have a lovely week.

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    1. Thank you Sandra - I can imagine you crocheting away as you cruise past the châteaux of the Haute Savoie. :)

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  4. I did a little slip-stitch crochet when I made egg cosies at Easter time, I was a little confused at first, and as you say, being a tight crocheter made it harder. The pattern I used was made by a friend who has recently done a lot of things in slip stitch, it does make a nice finish, although I have so little patience it doesn't grow fast enough for me (this coming from the girl who as just started a sweater using four-ply?). Great tutorial as ever, I must make some cloths, I've been thinking about it for too long!

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    1. Kitchen yarn is nice and bulky - so it grows much faster. But I know what you mean - I got interested in sl sl crochet while working on a sock yarn project using a 3.25mm hook - oy!

      Thanks Faith. :)

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  5. Wonderful tutorial. I can not believe how much it looks like knitting. I am a tight knitter and crocheter, I think it says a lot about my personality.
    Have a wonderful day,
    Meredith

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    1. Oo - I think you're right about the personality thing. I see a book opportunity here.... "Who Moved My Hook?" or "The Tao of Tension" (or something like that).

      :)

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  6. Thanks for sharing this lovely dishcloth pattern!
    Eileen :)

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    1. You're very welcome, Eileen. Thanks for commenting! :)

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  7. And again she cries ... if only I could crochet! Great tutorial Sue, you should publish a list of crochet lessons for beginners ... pleeeeease ;)

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    1. Thanks Annie. :)

      Actually I think there's something out there already:

      http://www.craftyminx.com/crochet-school/

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  8. I remember trying my to make a man's beanie cap using this slip stitch. I remember failing miserably. The stitches just wound up building upon itself and never creating cloth. Perhaps this dishcloth is just what I need to finally master it. It sure is lovely. It looks so much like knitting that I though you were teaching knitting now. : )

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    1. Thanks Lolly!

      I wonder if you were using Back Loop Only slip stitch? That makes a very nice ribbing, but it's very easy to stitch in the wrong loop (as I found myself). Give this one a try. :)

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  9. Quick, easy and fun. It doesn't get much better. Unless there are Peanuts involved. :)

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    1. Well, you can always have a dish of them nearby from which to refresh yourself whilst crocheting. :)

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  10. I love this edging. I have not done any crochet since last summer! About time I dragged those hooks out I think.
    X

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    1. By all means drag out those hooks! :)

      And thank you for commenting.

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  11. Great tutorial. I love the dots indicating where to stitch. That is so very helpful. I am working on a crazy scarf that I fell in love with, but when that is done I am trying these. Thank you!

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    1. Be sure to post pics of the crazy scarf when you finish it! And you're welcome. I love arrows and dots and stars and little indicators of all kinds. :)

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  12. Hi Sue, I love all your patterns and have made most of them. I look forward to making this one too. I just finished a fun crochet project I thought you might like. The link is as follows: http://lillymycat.blogspot.com/

    Thank you for sharing your talents with us!

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    1. You're very welcome! Thanks so much for commenting. :)

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  13. Crochet dishcloths are my favorite! Linking up tomorrow at Tangled Happy. Thanks for sharing this pretty pattern. :)

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    1. Thanks very much, Sara! It will be an honour. :)

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  14. I had not tried anything with continual slip stitches; you make it look fun and useful! I expected this to be another venture with your wonderful rainbow, but I'm really digging the turquoise, regardless of from whence it came!

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    1. Back Loop slip stitch is even more seductive - it makes an amazingly stretchy ribbing. So many ideas, so little time....

      :)

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  15. Thanks so much for this wonderful pattern, and for your suggestion to keep the tension loose. I, too, am a tight crocheter, so that helpful hint was very valuable to me. If you'd like to check out what I've been doing with this pattern, please visit my blog: http://grammaritascrochetetc.blogspot.com/

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    1. You're very welcome! Thanks so much for commenting - I'll be over to visit shortly. :)

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  16. Thankyou so much! I used what I had which was Bernat handcrafter. Your great pics and instructions helped me alot. With the leftover yarn I made mug mat coasters with ch14 and length equal to width. Very pleased with the results. I will probably make more mats for hostess gifts.
    Merry Christmas !

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    1. The same to you! I'm so glad it worked out for you. :)

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  17. Ooh this is so pretty! And since it looks knitted, it's perfect for a new-ish & reluctant crocheter who normally knits (moi).I love doing dishcloths while I wait for my sons to get out of school, practice, etc., because they are instant gratification, so this is perfect for me to spice up my dishcloth supply! Always nice to have a stack on hand for a last-minute or unexpected gifting need. Thanks for sharing your pattern. :)

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  18. WOULD YOU HAVE A VIDEO ON THIS I CROCHET AND HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR MANY YEARS ON A CROCHETED DISHCLOTH THAT FEELS AND LOOKS LIKE KNITTED ONES AS WHEN YA DO A REGULAR CROCHET ITS NOT THE SAME PLEASE EMAIL ME THANKS PATRICIA

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  19. WOULD YOU HAVE A VIDEO ON THIS I CROCHET AND HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR MANY YEARS ON A CROCHETED DISHCLOTH THAT FEELS AND LOOKS LIKE KNITTED ONES AS WHEN YA DO A REGULAR CROCHET ITS NOT THE SAME PLEASE EMAIL ME THANKS PATRICIA

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  20. Made the dishcloth or washcloth as my granddaughter prefers, it's so wonderful love the new stitch. I did find a new edging just had to try and love it but could not send pic. Love this blog my son just sent to me. You made me home sick seeing pic of Manchester NH.

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    1. So glad you liked the pattern! It's a fun stitch. I made another dishcloth on my way to NH and finished it there. :)

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  21. I have made many of these now and love them. They work up so fast compared to knitting a dishcloth. Thanks for sharing the pattern.

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  22. Would they work as washcloths ? My daughter likes the knit dishcloths so
    I would think these would be the same.

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    1. Hi Maxine - yes, they would work as washcloths. I should warn you that they stretch more lengthwise than they do crosswise - so if you want a washcloth that will look square after it has been used, start with a longer chain and make fewer rows. (In other words do the opposite of what I did with the turquoise cloth in the last photo above.) Hope that makes sense! :)

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  23. I love this pattern! Thank you so much for the great tutorial! I have always enjoyed knitted dishcloths, and now I can achieve the same effect with crochet!

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