If you’re anything like me, the knowledge that there are 34 days until Christmas brings on a kind of madness, a cheerful yet crazed state wherein I believe it’s a fantastic idea to handcraft gifts for every family member, friend, coworker, pet, hair stylist, postal service worker, etc. in my life. (Yet I never get the urge to actually begin on these fantasy gifts until, oh, mid-November.) The cold, hard truth that this is physically not possible usually dawns on me somewhere around December 23. I have spent more Christmas Eves than I want to admit in a sleepy panic, staying up until 2am frantically knitting or embroidering on some gift.
Never again, I say! Every year I promise that I will not handcraft any more Christmas gifts. And every year, I do it anyway.
This year, I’m trying to keep the crafting lunacy in check by making a short (very short!) list of smallish gifts and sticking to it. My hope is that each year, I’ll choose a few lucky people and craft them gifts. Every one else will be totally thrilled with something from their Amazon wishlist and I won’t be a cranky ass on Christmas morning. I’m going to share my ideas for quick last-minute holiday gifts in a little series of posts this week. : )
Strangely enough, the best-received gifts I think I’ve ever knit have been cotton washcloths. Not warm wool socks, delicate lace scarves, mitts with complicated cables – no. Dishcloths, people. My relatives go nuts for them. I’ve already got a small stack ready in the wings, and in fact I try to always have a couple tucked away year-round, ready to be wrapped up with a nice bar of fancy soap in case of a forgotten birthday.
Here are the dishcloth patterns I go back to over and over (although the awesome thing about a dishcloth is that you can easily try out a new stitch pattern on it):
Grandmother’s Favorite – An old standby. This is also a really good way to learn increases, decreases, and yarn-overs!
Wedding Washcloths – These are so pretty and simple. And I love you, Purl Bee, but there is no way I’m using $9.60-a-skein Blue Sky cotton to make dishcloths. Sugar ‘n’ Cream all the way!
Paige’s Soft Cotton Knit Dishtowels – Another Purl Bee pattern. Gosh, I love these. Also very simple, but I really like the vintage effect.
Really, there are endless ways you can knit up a dishcloth! Feel free to share your favs in the comments – I still have…um…seven more to knit before Christmas!