A little yarn geekery. I am comparing three different types of dishcloth yarn I used in the past few months. I used the same basic pattern for three of the cloths, and one of them is my 'seed stitch' variant I use for oven mitts.
They were all knitted with a 5 to 7 size knitting needle. I prefer my bamboo 5's or my metal 7's for knitting dishcloths.
Yarn A : Hobby Lobby Sugarwheel cotton
Yarn B : Mix of Berroco Linsey and Rowan Creative Linen
Yarn C : 'thick weight' ombre version of Sugar and Creme
Yarn D : 'thin weight' ombre version of Sugar and Creme
The Winner (to me): thin weight ombre version of Sugar and Creme
Yarn A : Hobby Lobby Sugarwheel cotton
The green yarn was the last bit I had left - there are like five other cloths from a previous post wandering around the house. It was very fun to knit with, especially on smaller needles... and the color shifts were nice, green to purple, blue to grey etc.
HOWEVER... they don't make great washcloths (or dishcloths, whichever you call them). They are not very scrubby. Maybe for a baby, they would be nice, or for delicate skin. But I like to use these washcloths because they are scrubby - and exfoliate. When we use different ones for the sink, they scrub the dishes well. I make larger cloths sometimes for 'mop-up' and cleaning, and it is important that they are good scrubbing cloths, too.
This yarn stretches, instead of compressing tightly, even when knitted on the same needles. So, even though the yarn is very tempting and pretty - I don't think it is a good yarn for making washcloths. With that stretch, it has a nice drape, and could make pretty shirts or shrugs, if knitted or crocheted to work with the bias.
Yarn B : Berroco Linsey and Rowan Creative Linen
Yarn B is something I bought on clearance, and intended to weave with. It is Berroco 'Linsey', a cotton and linen blend yarn. It is kind of expensive when not on clearance, and I wouldn't buy it specifically to make washcloths. But, it is the project that called to me to test it out. I knitted with two colors (the other was actually Rowan Creative Linen, which is very similar.. so take this with a grain of salt across both brands. I made two washcloths, one green and yellow even and one mostly yellow with a few stripes of the green (rowan)... and like them both. My husband says it has a hard core, with a softer outside - and it is scrubby enough, without being rough. So, yes, I like this one. It was a little tougher to knit on the smooth needles, but it came out nicely. It stretches a little, doesn't compress to the tight square as much, but washes up well.
Yarn C : the cheap but heavyweight Sugar and Creme
Yarn D : the slightly more expensive thin weight Sugar and Creme
Yarn C and D are two weights of the same 'cheap' yarn available at Wal-Mart and such... sugar and creme or peaches and creme. It is the most basic cotton available. D is a finer grade weight that they had on offer last year, and I snagged about five balls of that ombre (it is usually the ombres that are fine weight) and knit them up into lots of cloths. I love that yarn. It knit beautifully (as fun as the sugarwheel) and it actually inspired me to try lighter weight yarns for this purpose. It is scrubby, and compresses tightly to the square and holds well wash after wash. The ends I wove in are coming out a little - but it is on several of the others, too. I throw them in with the towels and other clothing so they are not treated with kid gloves!
The oven mitt is a thicker seed-stitch variant in a slightly thicker-weight ombre Sugar and Creme.
Cloths A, B and D are made with 'Grandmother's Favorite' simple dishcloth pattern - you can find it easily online with a search. It is one of the very first things I learned how to knit and does a good job of teaching increase, decrease and yarn over.
Pattern for Cloth C
To knit the oven mitt / dishwashing sink variant :
Cast on 36 to 50 stitches, depending on how wide you would like it to be. My husband likes the 36 for dishwashing, fits the hand better without being too large. We leave one of these draped over the kitchen sink for washing utensils and other things. The 50 stitches are better for the oven mitt / mop up type cloth because then you want it bigger than your hand. It is also important to use a yarn with a good compression, the stitches hold tight to each other, for the oven mitt type. A yarn like Sugarwheel would not be good at ALL for this use.
Knit three rows of garter stitch.
Switch to this pattern for the rest of the cloth:
Knit three, seed stitch nearly to end, knit three
If you would like, knit every fifth or sixth row throw in three rows of plain garter stitch. This will give a ripply effect to the cloth and lots of grip. You can see I have done that in the peach and brown 'C' cloth.
End with three rows of garter stitch then cast off.
The next yarn I would like to try out is Knitpicks Cotlin dishcloth yarn. I think it would combine a lot of these qualities. However, I am just using up what I have - because the best part about knitting dishcloths is that it can be done while you are doing anything else, watching tv, reading articles, reading a book, listening to music, sitting in the garden, talking on the phone, waiting for something to timer ding that you are cooking etc etc...