The Most Elegant, Essential Crochet Project Ever

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 16 Comments

This project is a classic. Loved by beginners and seasoned crocheters alike, this swath of crocheted fabric is used over and over again. It is loved and appreciated. It offers comfort and cleanliness. It gives us a chance to test our skills. It helps our gauge swatches find life in various rooms in the home. The most elegant, essential crochet project ever? It’s the crocheted washcloth.

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of a washcloth this way, but bear with me for a moment, because I think I have a pretty good case.

A washcloth is nothing more than a scrap of fabric. While sizes and shapes may vary, a 7- or 8-inch square or square is probably an average size. A washcloth is elegant in the technical sense, meaning it is “gracefully concise and simple” in form. Some (but not all) are elegant in the traditional sense, and bring luxurious design to a gift or to a space where they’re stored. These objects are essential to crochet because they capture the essence of our craft: beautiful & useful.

crochet:  beautiful & useful

crochet: beautiful & useful

As mentioned, the elegance of the washcloth begins with its simplicity. Working from the most basic shape, a square or circle, the washcloth offers us limitless possibilities. Choosing the perfect yarn for absorbency, beauty, buoyancy, feeling, and strength elevate the project. Stitch pattern choices create a fabric with specific characteristics, like maximum scrub-ability and boosted bubble-creation. :D Selecting a hook that will form a fabric of the proper density will create a sturdy but supple finished object.

As a rule, washcloths are pretty small and quick projects, making them the perfect item to carry along with you on your commute or to work on during a break at work. This characteristic further supports the essence of washcloth crochet. As with many types of crochet, it’s quick and portable! While washcloth projects could certainly be mindless, repetitive crochet, we could use washcloths with new or complex stitch patterns to expand our skill sets and learn new techniques. Both types of project have value and a place in our crochet repertoire.

While they could be decorative, washcloths also have a specific use and are needed throughout the day. Every home needs washcloths. Every person uses washcloths of some kind or another. This means they are great to crochet as there will always be someone more than happy to receive a new one (especially one handcrafted with love!)

Here are a ton of great washcloth patterns found right here on Crochet Spot!

Crocheted Cotton Washcloth Sampler (Gives a great account of making & “dressing up” washcloths as gifts.)
Crochet Pattern: Sampler Washcloth Set
Crochet Pattern: Baby Washcloth
Crochet Pattern: Goldfish Washcloth
Crochet Pattern: Easy Textured Washcloth
Crochet Pattern: Watery Ripples Dishcloth
Crochet Pattern: Granny Square Dishcloth
Crochet Pattern: 5 Absolutely Fast Dishcloths
Crochet Pattern: Absolutely Fast Dishcloth
Crochet Pattern: All Purpose Mesh Dishcloth
Free Crochet Pattern: Dishcloth with Ridges
Rachel’s First Crochet Dishcloth

Crochet. Scrub. Repeat.

So what do you think about all of this? Do you ever crochet washcloths? What is your favorite pattern? Do you think washcloths are the most elegant, essential crochet project ever? Why/why not? Please leave your thoughts and ideas in the comment below!

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16 Comments

  1. Cogaroo says:

    I think a dishcloth would fit these criteria too – both of them are fun to crochet because they’re not too complicated, but there are so many patterns you can do with them! I never thought of it as the most elegant, essential project ever, but it really is. :)

  2. Bailey says:

    Dishcloths are an essential in our house. I just had to find a scrubbie pattern for one that was sent to me in a swap. DH has fallen in love with it and wants more.

  3. Darlene says:

    Most patterns are to open or loose or stretch out when wet to be very practical.

  4. Noreen says:

    My family loves getting washcloths/dishcloths. I belong to dishcloths_n_more_love_feast a yahoo group and we get 2 crochet patterns and 2 knit patterns a month – so always have them on the go. Also belong to monthly dishcloths another yahoo group but that is knitting not crocheting. My sister and one of my d-i-l love hexagon shaped dishcloths so I do a lot of them. I just follow the pattern at the lionbrand site. I also make scrubbies, I get my nylon netting from Knits & Bits, they have a page on facebook called scrubbie makers.

  5. Susan says:

    I agree that washclothes/dishclothes are essential, especially since the are a great way to try out new patterns before making the whole blanket, scarf or sweater. Kitchen towels are also a must. I have found, through much experimentation, that acrylic yarn works best for dish cloths and wash cloths … also soap holders … because they don’t over-absorb soap and are scratchy enough to really scrub, whether it’s dishes, greasy pans or exfoliation. Cotton works best for towels because the more you wash it the softer it gets.

    When I do dish clothes I always add a loop to the corner so that it can be hung on the faucet.

    • Alexandria says:

      I had not read this comment before commenting earlier. I am happy to know this about the acrylic yarns, as I now have a fun, practical way to use up some scrap yarn and I can practice some of
      the new patterns and stitches I have not had time to try as yet. Thank you for sharing your experienced opinion. :)

  6. Namiko says:

    I find that acrylic makes the best dishcloths as well. They get rid of grease on plastics (and everything I have is mostly plastic, since I have a little boy) better that anything you can buy. It’s a great way to get rid of scrap yarn and you can simply toss them in the washing machine and they’ll last forever. And if they don’t, I don’t feel bad about throwing them away because they cost pennies to make. I usually make mine doubled in a Tunisian crochet for structure, just seam the short ends and you also don’t have to worry about the curl. Nothing cleans grease better than acrylic, imo.

    • Alexandria says:

      Please, how do you ‘seam’ the short ends? I am not sure what that means. I have been making a square with the Tunisian and then single crocheting a border to stop the curling.

    • Alexandria says:

      I was so glad to read your comments also. I had been disappointed with my cotton dish cloths which is why I only made cloths that I planned to use in the shower.
      When you say doubled in Tunisian crochet, it means ??

  7. Alexandria says:

    I have made several washcloths. Some were made of Lily Sugar and Cream cotton; (I did not think acrylic yarns would be as absorbent as cotton) but mostly I used Hobby Lobby’s ‘I Love this Cotton’ yarn because they were for babies and this yarn is so much softer.
    I have mostly used the basic Tunisian style of crochet because it makes for a tighter fabric.
    I also have never tried using acrylic yarns because I assumed they would be ‘itchy’ to my skin than cotton yarns.

    • jean says:

      I did try to use acrylic for a washcloth and found it too scratchy for my skin. Much prefer cotton for washcloths. I also find in my experience that a cloth for dishes made too in too tight a stitch will not ‘fit’ down into mugs or glasses. So I have a mesh dishcloth pattern that I use that is loose enough to fit into tall latte mugs and coffee cups and glasses and yet is still big enough and flexible enough to wash just about anything. As for using acrylic for dishcloths I would be concerned that they don’t come completely clean in the wash from food. The cotton I use does. Better to just use a scrubbie in acrylic for such purposes. Just my opinion.

  8. Janette says:

    Just like granny squares, I have fallen in love with crocheting washcloths….so much so, I just ordered 15 different skeins of cotton yarn just to make them….As a beginner with this I don’t have a favorite pattern, but always looking for different patterns to make….I am definitely going to check out those links above and as soon as my yarn arrives, I will crochet those I can follow the pattern for and then come back here and post them….

    Thanks Rachel, you always seem to know what I need at the time I need them….

  9. margo says:

    Like to crochet dishcloths (as we call them) using cotton for better absorbancy. Great for practicing different stitches and patterns and as a take along to work on waiting for appointments, etc. Always keep a kit in the car of cotton yarn, hook and pattern in case I am stuck in traffic. It is also a good diversion when working on large projects such as afghans or complicated scarf patterns. Always have on hand to give as gifts along with potholders and coffee cup holders.
    .

  10. Rayna says:

    I wondered at first why people say they got addicted to making dishcloths/washcloths, but once I made a couple I realized how fast and easy they could be, or how they make great practice on a new technique or stitch before starting a project in an expensive yarn.

    I prefer cotton for absorbency, but I’ve also made a few in acrylic for scrubbing; they didn’t last as long as the cotton though, so I’ve since stuck with commercial scrub pads. But I’ve seen cute ideas for adding edgings to retail scrubbies to look like flowers; I may try those.

    I think dishcloths are great gifts because I’ve been asked for them more than once! Colorful or plain, people seem to really apreciate crocheted washcloths.

    Afghan squares are really nice too for washcloths, if they are fairly solid fabric. The Crochet Spot Square is a good example. http://www.crochetspot.com/crochet-pattern-crochet-spot-square/

  11. Janet says:

    I love making dish/washcloths. In our house, any cloth that is mainly green is used for dishes. The other colours are used as facecloths. That way hubby knows which cloth to grab! I also make them up as gifts or sell them. I add a small cake of soap to them and then tie the lot with a ribbon. Then it’s up to the recipient as to how they use them. So definitely bring on more crocheted dish/washcloths!

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