Who else but knitters would use dishcloths as currency? Truth is - we're dishcloth crazy. We love to make them, we love to receive them, and we love to use them (OK, maybe we don't love to do dishes, but getting to use a handmade dishcloth makes the chore SO much better.)
Pre-Ravelry, I had no clue about the whole dishcloth craze. I was into knitting garments, particularly a whole slew of sweaters that I hardly ever wear because they are too warm for Southern California (clearly I also hadn't heard of DK weight yarn). Once I joined Ravelry, and some other online knitting groups, I was completely intrigued about how much of the chit chat was devoted to the subject of dishcloths. I kept thinking that all these online knitters must be beginners, because why would any seasoned knitter be satisfied with knitting a simple dishcloth? And why would anyone actually be searching for dishcloth patterns - they are just squares for cripes sakes! Apparently, another online lurker had the same questions, and actually had the cojones to post them. All I can say is, I'm really glad I wasn't the one who asked why anyone would want to knit dishcloths. That poster got creamed by a flood of responses - many of which indicated that her hoity-toity attitude was not appreciated, and that she was missing out on something by not making dishcloths.
So I gave it a whirl. I went to Michaels to get some dishcloth cotton, and found that, "Hey, since the last time I looked at dishcloth cotton in the 1970s, it actually comes in colors other than white now!"
So I got my little ball, and started to search for - heaven forbid - dishcloth patterns. What I found was my second pleasant surprise, dishcloths aren't just garter stitch squares! They were in all shapes and sizes, and used lots of pretty lace patterns and other theme motifs. I picked one out and went to work.
After a couple of hours my dishcloth was finished. Pleasant suprise number three! Dishcloths give us a little project that we can complete quickly when we need to feel the satisfaction of finishing something. And, that makes them a great gift option, too.
Finally, pleasant suprise number four was how nicely they work! Those purl bumps and lacy texture stitches make excellent little pot scrubbers or skin exfoliators. Not only are they pretty, but they are useful, too!
To celebrate my new found love of The Dishcloth, I joined a 2008 Olympic-themed dishcloth assassin game hosted by Helen Waites, who runs the Sock Wars games. I went back to Michaels, and this time came home with THREE of those football sized skeins of Sugar n' Cream which were on too good of a sale to resist. Even though I got killed in round 2 of the dishcloth contest, I had a great time, and got some pretty new cloths to use. And, I have enough dishcloth cotton to last me for the rest of my life!
These days, the Sock-aholics have been using dishcloths as currency in our recent sports contests. We have a knitters NASCAR contest going for the Sprint Chase for the Cup Series, and several participants have been knitting dishcloths to send to the lucky weekly winners. I find that I'm quick to make dishcloth bets with members of our NFL contest who directly challenge my local team, the Chargers, against their favorite team. So far, this has consistently been a sucker bet for me and has not netted me any new dishcloths, though. Last season I lost a bet to a Jets fan. While searching my stash of dishcloth cotton for appropriate yarn to make her prize from, I just couldn't find my green, and instead made her the Chargers themed dishcloth shown above. I don't think it's the favored dishcloth in her collection - ha!
This year, I lost a bet to a KC Chiefs fan. I considered making her a Chargers dishcloth, too, but I'm so annoyed with their performance this year that I couldn't bear the thought of spending more time paying yarny tribute to them. Instead, I grabbed the pink yarn from my stash, and recognized that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and made her the dishcloth shown below. I adapted the ribbon motif from the Awareness Socks I designed earlier this year, and put a seed stitch border around it so it would lay flat. I think she will like it :-)