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Image of multiple crocheted washcloths and reusable face pads in a basket.

Crochet Washcloths & Handmade Soaps | AD

[Ad/Gifted – The yarn used in this post was provided by Love Crafts. All thoughts are my own.]

It’s no secret that I love a good homemade gift, both as the recipient and the giver of such gifts. But one thing I haven’t spoken about as much is how important it is to me that gifts are as sustainable as possible. Which is why when I was thinking about gifts for Christmas this year, I immediately thought of crochet washcloths and handmade soap.

The simplicity and versatility of crochet washcloths

Crochet washcloths are the perfect item to work on for pretty much any crafter. They are a quick make for a seasoned crocheter whilst also being easy enough for those learning to crochet. In fact they are ideal for practising different stitches before trying more complex patterns where getting the tension right is important. And the great thing is, there are so many patterns available online, that you’ll never be short of inspiration.

I decided to make a range of different washcloths and face pads, using simple patterns and playing with the colour combinations. The same pattern can look completely different just by mixing up the colours a bit. I’ve done that with two of the washcloths I’m going to share today, which you will see later in this post. But first I want to tell you about the yarn that I chose, and what I thought about it.

Paintbox Cotton DK Yarn

A few years ago I wrote about how much I love working with cotton yarn, sharing what I thought to the different brands I had tried. So when I decided to use cotton yarn for this project, I jumped at the chance to try a brand I’d never used before. I’d heard Paintbox mentioned by various crocheters recently, and when talking to Sarah from Love Crafts about my ideas this was the option she recommended I try too. (Side Note, if you’re not sure which yarn to choose for a project, the team at Love Crafts will be more than happy to advise you).

Cotton yarn is ideal for washcloths, as it is soft but also robust enough to cope with lots of getting wet, washing, and drying. It’s also a natural fibre, so is great for those of us trying to avoid using too many man-made products. I appreciate that there is an environmental cost in the production of cotton, but I still feel it’s a more sustainable option than something like acrylic yarn.

Anyway, one of the great things about Paintbox Yarns is the variety of colours available. Cotton yarns can sometimes lack the range of colours offered in other fibres, so I always do a little happy dance when I find a brand with a nice selection. I chose some pastels, some bold colours, and two shades of grey, to give me a lovely palette to work with.

I’ve listed the colours I chose below, and want to draw attention to the fact that I took the photo above after making 3 washcloths, 10 face pads, and a basket. A little bit of this yarn goes a very long way! It’s also a really soft yarn, doesn’t split at all while working with it, and creates a very flexible end result. I used the Cotton DK range, but if you wanted to create slightly sturdier items you could also opt for the aran weight yarn in the same range.

Top Row: Spearmint Green (430); Lipstick Pink (452); Slate Grey (406); and Ballet Pink (453)

Bottom Row: Granite Grey (407); Buttercup Yellow (423); Peach Orange (455); Blush Pink (454); Daffodil Yellow (422); and Washed Teal (433)

Adding Handmade Soap to make the Perfect Eco-Friendly Gift

As I thought about making washcloths as an eco-friendly gift option for friends and family, I realised that adding handmade soap to them would make them into a little gift set. There are so many handmade soaps available on places like Etsy, and I have no doubt that everyone would be able to find their perfect match on there.

I, personally, was looking for soaps that were as natural as possible and avoided things like palm oil (even sustainable palm oil), and that were ideally something that those of us on a limited budget could still afford. So when I found that The Soap Tree Yorkshire sold soap ends and oddments at a reduced price and to reduce waste I couldn’t believe my luck.

Here is an option to buy soap ends that would otherwise simply be thrown away for not being the right size or shape for sale, and in various quantities to meet your needs. The pack I purchased was 200g and included 4 different soap ends, all for £9.50. They smell absolutely divine, and I know we’ll be buying more for ourselves before long.

I’ve paired up the soaps with the washcloths, as you’ll see below, and cannot wait to give them out at Christmas (but I’m not saying to whom each set is going, because family and friends read my blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!)

Bold and Bright Washcloth with Activated Charcoal, Tea Tree, and Rosemary Soap

Image of a yellow, pink, and green crochet washcloth with yarn beside it and a black bar of soap

This washcloth was made by following the Linen Stitch pattern by Look At What I Made and changing the colour every 4 rows, using Buttercup Yellow, Lipstick Pink, and Spearmint Green. The pattern is so versatile in its simplicity that you could create any number of washcloths that all looked completely different whilst using the same pattern. I wanted to mix it up a bit and make my washcloth as bright as possible, so chose to use 3 of the bolder colours I had.

I’m so pleased with the end result, and it feels like something that would brighten any morning. So I’ve paired it with the activated charcoal soap infused with tea tree and rosemary, as those are two refreshing scents that would kick start your day. Plus I think the darkness of the soap complements the brightness of the washcloth beautifully.

Modern Grey and Yellow Washcloth with Peppermint Soap

Image of a grey and yellow crochet washcloth, with yarn beside it and a bar of blue handmade soap

This washcloth uses a colour combination that I have seen so many times over recent years and which I always love – grey and yellow. It was created using the Ribbed Cloth pattern by Feather and Thread, splitting the pattern into thirds and changing the colour to create bold blocks, using Granite Grey and Buttercup Yellow. Just like with the Linen Stitch pattern, the versatility of this simple pattern gives you limitless options to play with when it comes to colour.

I paired it up with the peppermint soap, because I felt like bold and fresh scent of peppermint goes well with the bold blocks of colour in the washcloth.

Face Pads in a Basket with Pure and Simple Soap

Image of a crochet basket and bar of handmade soap, surrounded by 10 crochet reusable face pads and 5 skeins of yarn in pastel colours

I think this is my favourite combination out of all the items I made. The pads were so quick and easy to make. They fit in the basket adorably. And I just love the combination of pastel colours with the paler grey. For this I used Ballet Pink, Peach Orange, Daffodil Yellow, Blush Pink, Washed Teal, and Slate Grey.

The patterns I used for this were Little Facial Cloths and Hemp Basket both by Créations Chaan. The basket is a little bit flimsy when made with DK cotton yarn, and would probably be better made in aran weight or by using two strands of yarn together. But it still stands up quite nicely, as you can see below, and 10 little pads fit in perfectly.

Image of grey crochet basket filled with crochet face pads

I initially considered combining this with a handmade face scrub, but when I saw the Pure and Simple soap included in our pack I realised that it would go just as nicely with this little set. There are no harsh ingredients in this soap, so it should be fine for use on delicate skin such as the face.

Playful Pastels Washcloth with Bergamot and Geranium Soap

Image of crochet washcloth with 4 pastel colours in yellow, peach, pink, and blue, and the balls of yarn in those colours

As I said before, I adore the combination of the pastels in the Painbox Yarns Cotton DK range, so when I found a pattern using Daffodil Yellow, Peach Orange, Blush Pink, and Washed Teal to create a beautiful washcloth inspired by a sunset I couldn’t wait to try it out.

The Sunsets and Washcloths pattern by Divine Debris is actually simpler than it perhaps looks at first glance, and despite being larger than the other washcloths I made was still pretty quick to make. It’s not as square as I would have liked, even after blocking, but that could just be an issue with my tension, and it is still very pretty and completely useable.

I’ve paired it up with the Bergamot and Geranium soap, as the pale purple colour of the soap seemed like a perfect companion to the pale hues of the yarn.

The Possibilities Are Endless

As I said earlier on, I still have a lot of yarn left, meaning that I can make many more washcloths and face pads before I run out. The 9 colours I chose (plus a 10th skein, as I ordered 2 lots of the Ballet Pink) came in at under £20, making Paintbox Yarns an ideal option for creating gifts on a budget too. However there are lots of great options for all budgets and tastes at Love Crafts, as well as patterns and accessories, so do head on over and check them out next time you want to add to your stash. And don’t forget that Ravelry is the ultimate place to go for knitters and crocheters in need of a little inspiration!

Crochet Autumn Blanket Granny Square Cotton Yarn

Tried and Tested: Cotton Yarns for Crochet and Knitting

Tried and Tested Cotton Yarns for Crochet and Knitting

It’s no secret that I love crochet, and right now I am starting to think about (dare I say it) Christmas! As any crafter knows, if you want to give handmade gifts for Christmas, you need to start as soon as possible or you’ll never finish everything in time.

With that in mind, I have started looking at who would appreciate a handmade gift, what kind of items they would really like, and whether I have enough yarn in my stash or need to buy more. And again, any crocheter will be able to tell you that handmade gifts don’t always equal “budget” gifts – yarn can be expensive stuff!

Of course, you can buy budget yarns, especially if you don’t mind what it is made of. But I’m pretty picky when it comes to the yarn I use. You see, I suffer from eczema on my hands. It doesn’t take much to set it off, and I’ve found that wool based yarns seem to be one of my triggers. So that automatically reduces my options.

However it is not just an allergy issue for me, I am also very particular when it comes to how the yarn feels as it runs through my fingers when I work – I very much dislike the feel of many yarns! I’ve found a few acrylic ones I can work with, and I absolutely love the feel of bamboo yarns, but cotton remains my absolute staple fibre for crochet.

So I thought it would be good to share some of the ones I have tried with you. These are all yarns I have enjoyed working with and found at great prices both online and in my local craft store.

Rico Baby Cotton Soft (DK)

This is a deliciously soft 100% cotton yarn, which is an absolute pleasure to work with. I’m not sure how they have made it so soft, but they have. If it weren’t for the lack of bright, bold colours, I would be using this yarn for everything! It comes in 22 different colourways and 5 different prints.

I have used this yarn to make bootees and hats for friends who have had babies, and it is always lovely to work with!

crochet bootees rico baby yarn review

 

My verdict

Pros: super soft; great for gifts for a new baby

Cons: aimed at baby items, so colour choice more muted than other cotton yarns

Rico Creative Cotton (Aran)

This was one of the very first cotton yarns I discovered and I was so overwhelmed by the choice of colour that I bought a whole pack of it. It comes in 37 different colourways and 12 different prints.

I used Rico Creative Cotton when creating my super snuggly baby blanket for the Nine Months of Crochet challenge, working with two strands at a time so it was super chunky.

rico creative cotton yarn review

I also used it to create several pairs of fingerless gloves…

crochet fingerless gloves

My verdict

Pros: great colour selection; budget friendly

Cons: quite a “splitty” yarn

Rico Essentials Cotton (DK)

This is my “go to” yarn for projects which need bright colours, as it comes in a massive range of colours (at my last count there were 48 available at Wool Warehouse, and I’m not 100% sure if that is all the options or not).

Crochet Autumn Blanket Granny Square Cotton Yarn

I have used Rico Essentials Cotton DK for our “Autumn Blanket” which I hope will actually be completed for this Autumn! TJ chose the colours and it has been a joy to work with.

My verdict

Pros: fantastic range of colours; budget friendly; easy to work with

Cons: not quite as soft and snuggly as some other yarns

Sublime Cotton Kapok (DK)

I was incredibly lucky to have 30 balls of this deliciously soft yarn donated to me by Black Sheep Wools for my Nine Months Of… Crochet challenge which raised over £300 for charity in 2014. It was an absolute delight to work with, and I’d recommend it for any projects you want to make for a newborn baby!

I used Sublime Cotton Kapok for two blankets during my Nine Months Of… challenge.

Crochet Star Ripple Baby Blanket Cotton Yarn

Mandala Crochet Blanket Sublime Cotton Kapok Yarn Review

 

Verdict

Pros: super soft, great to work with, budget friendly

Cons: lack of bright colours for “non-baby” items, not available in many places

Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton (DK)

This is a new discovery of mine, but one which I am really happy to have found. It is a classic cotton yarn, in that it isn’t super soft, but it is really easy to work with. It comes in a good range of colours, including some with sparkles in!

I’m currently using it to create a blanket for a friend who is expecting a baby at the end of this year.

Crochet Baby Ripple Blanket Cotton Yarn

My verdict

Pros: good range of bright colours, budget friendly

Cons: not as soft as some of the other cotton yarns

So what next?

If you’ve used a cotton yarn you love which is not on this list, please do let me know so that I can try it out… and do tell me what your favourite yarns are!