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Old 02-19-2014, 12:58 PM   #21
Jan in CA
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I also use one for a little mat I front of my coffee pot. I put my spoon on it. That one is fairly small and rectangular. Once a week I toss it in the wash.
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:27 PM   #22
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Hmm. My family of origin, various friends along the way, and DH and I *do* use washcloths for showering and bathing the human body.

It's just the dish part of dishcloth/rag that seems odd to me. Oh, yes, my mom had us dry the dishes with dishtowels, but they were completely different from the sponges we washed the dishes with. (Note: sponges can go through the wash by themselves or in a net bag as a group. Hot-water wash and/or bleach load, either does just fine.)

I racked my brains the other day after starting this thread. I found therein One Whole Memory involving textile items intended for cleaning dishes. When I was in the 3rd grade and going on my first Girl Scout cook-out, the leader told us that we'd need a "bag" to air-dry our dishes after washing them. We were to make this "bag" out of 2 dish-washing Items (I can't remember what she called them). Because it was a required item for an activity my parents approved of, they went to the store and bought 2 of these dish-washing, textile items. I hand-stitched them together on three sides and wove two shoe laces along the top for drawstrings. On the cook-out, this "bag" was big enough for my dishes, and the shoe laces were handy for hanging the bag up on the clothesline the leaders strung up for us.

For people who used dishcloths as a normal part of the dish-washing routine, though, I am noticing a geographical pattern, albeit a wide-ranging one. With only one or two exceptions, the responders on this thread lived in or were raised in the northern half of the U.S. The most "northerly" place my family was ever stationed was Cheyenne, Wyoming, whose identity is much more Western than it is Northern. My GF, raised in Idaho, has also said that dishcloths were "perfectly normal" in her neck of the woods.

I have a goodly collection of rags qua rags. These are dishtowels with major holes or rips, old T-shirts which can't be worn anymore, and the like. They're used to clean the floors, mop up yucky stuff (e.g., animal messes), clean the car windows, and such. They live under the kitchen sink.

I guess you'd have to be a much faster knitter than I am to look with equanimity upon knitting items whose purpose in life is to be destroyed.... But, then, I'm still awaiting word that one of my quilts (esp. the ones given to my nephews and nieces) has been "worn to death" and needs to be replaced. However, the life span of my quilts seems--so far!--to be measured in decades, or at least multiple years. Fortunately, wearing out is a side effect of a quilt being used rather than its sole purpose in life.

Making something whose purpose is to be destroyed...I dunno.... It just sounds like a discouraging activity. I must be missing yet another important aspect of dishcloth-making. Help?
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:43 PM   #23
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You wanted geographical data. My family is from Oklahoma/Texas and other nearby states. All use dishrags. Here in Washington, I know only one person who really uses sponges for washing dishes. Maybe it's more of a socio-economic phenomenon than a geographical one.
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:15 PM   #24
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To me, there's really no difference between knitting a sweater for a child and knitting a dishcloth save the size. Both have a similar life expectancy these days. At least the dishcloth is smaller.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:04 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by justplaincharlotte View Post
To me, there's really no difference between knitting a sweater for a child and knitting a dishcloth save the size. Both have a similar life expectancy these days. At least the dishcloth is smaller.
True. It's also a great way to try out a new stitch pattern. I end up using them for pads under hot pans and dishes too. I have an afghan pattern that I should make up in a dishcloth/hotpad/place mat/whatever first.

The person I know who uses sponges is originally from Alaska BTW and you don't get much more north than that in these United States. I forget whether it was supposed to be a northern, southern, eastern, or western thing.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:43 PM   #26
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DCM- Omigosh! I made one of those bags for day camp when I was a Camp Fire Girl!

I don't know about anyone else, but my dishcloths last for a long, long time! They are small so, like a hat, they are easy to test stitch patterns out on although at this point I generally stick to the simple diagonal garter pattern with a stripe here or there. I use actual rags for the yucky stuff.

Socks seem like a worse knit item IMO because they take longer and absolutely wear out. But, I don't like hand knit socks so there you go.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:34 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jan in CA View Post
Socks seem like a worse knit item IMO because they take longer and absolutely wear out. But, I don't like hand knit socks so there you go.
An OT OMG here- you just reminded me that I have to mend a worsted sleep sock that my dog chewed up! This is the patching method I'm going to try out.

But to stay on topic...like Jan, my knitted cloths last a very long time. I don't use them as rags, well, until they're rags.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:05 PM   #28
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I knit them for the reasons listed above, nice for trying new stitch patterns, a quick knit, but I've also discovered that people like them! The kids will choose a homemade one to wash dishes with over a store bought one every time. My hubby will only use a hand knitted wash cloth when he showers. The kids give them to their friends. I made them for my sister for Christmas in her kitchen colors.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:13 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Woofens View Post
I knit them for the reasons listed above, nice for trying new stitch patterns, a quick knit, but I've also discovered that people like them! The kids will choose a homemade one to wash dishes with over a store bought one every time. My hubby will only use a hand knitted wash cloth when he showers. The kids give them to their friends. I made them for my sister for Christmas in her kitchen colors.

Just remember who got them spoiled. I gave my sister a dishcloth and she said it was too nice for a dishrag so she would use it to wash her face. Made my day.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:18 PM   #30
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I knit dishcloths b/c they are a good mindless project between projects like afghans, socks etc. My experience is that they hold up much longer and better than any I ever purchased. Once they do get a hole they are moved to the pile under the sink for washing up deck furniture and my boys deck toys when our trees drop stuff on them all summer.
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