Which Construction Method Should I Use for My United States Flag Dishcloth?
Have you grabbed your free copy of the United States Flag Dishcloth knitting pattern, but now you're not sure which construction method to use? Fret not, I'll break it down real quick for you!
In case you missed it, the United States Flag Dishcloth is a free knitting pattern that I just released a few days ago, and it includes two sizes (small and large), three construction methods (I'll get into that in just a second!), and both written and charted instructions. So, needless to say, there are a lot of options to choose from! And while options are really nice and allow you to pick your custom project experience, I also get that options can be a bit overwhelming.
So let's break it down, why don't we?
Option 1: Stranded Colorwork
The first construction method option within the flag dishcloth knitting pattern is to work the blue section in stockinette and the "stars" (in white) using stranded colorwork.
If you're not familiar with stranded colorwork, it is where you work with two (or more) colors throughout the entire row of a project, so even if you aren't knitting with one of the colors for that specific stitch, you're still carrying it along the wrong side of the fabric. When you have 5 or more stitches between stitches of a given color, you want to be sure you catch your floats.
Stranded colorwork works really well for projects that are switching back and forth between colors throughout the entirety of the row. Unfortunately, this project skips rows between rows of "stars," and there really isn't that much contrasting color used for the "stars," so in my opinion, the duplicate stitch is the easier method for working the stars (unless you absolutely love stranded colorwork or hate duplicate stitch).
One other thing to note with this method is that the stockinette section (the blue area) will be a different gauge than the garter section (the red and white stripes). This is just because of the way knit/purl stitches work and means that you'll have to put a little extra effort into blocking your project to the correct shape.
Note: The photo shows the project worked in the duplicate stitch option. With the stranded colorwork, the front will look pretty similar (but the "stars" won't pop quite as much) and the back will have the yarn traveling back and forth the rows with long floats when the white yarn isn't being used.
Who should work Option 1: I recommend Option 1 for knitters who absolutely love working stranded colorwork and are confident that their tension will be good (for beginners, it can be easier to make the contrasting color a bit tighter, which bunches up the stitches).
Who shouldn't work Option 1: If you aren't completely attached to working stranded colorwork, I recommend using a different option (Option 2 if you still want the "stars" and Option 3 if you want the simplest knitting experience).
Option 2: Duplicate Stitch
The second construction method option within the flag dishcloth knitting pattern is to work the blue section in stockinette and the "stars" (in white) using duplicate stitch.
If you're not familiar with duplicate, it is where you work with a contrasting color after the project is completed and use a darning needle to sew the contrasting stitches on top of the fabric.
Duplicate stitch works really well for projects that have only small amounts of colorwork or colorwork that is spread out far enough that stranded colorwork doesn't make sense. It can also work as a substitute for small blocks of intarsia color blocking. In my opinion, the duplicate stitch is the easier method for working the stars. It does require a little patience as you go back and sew on the "stars" after the project is complete, but I find that it is a bit less fiddly. It's nice to not have that extra strand of yarn to work with mid-project, and it's easy to control the tension of the contrasting color. The technique is quite simple, but it can feel time-consuming.
Just like Option 1, the stockinette section (the blue area) will be a different gauge than the garter section (the red and white stripes). This is just because of the way knit/purl stitches work and means that you'll have to put a little extra effort into blocking your project to the correct shape.
Note: The photo shows the project worked in the duplicate stitch option. You can see that the back of the fabric is tidy.
Who should work Option 2: I recommend Option 2 for knitters who aren't very confident in their stranded colorwork skills, don't love stranded colorwork, or are interested in learning how to work duplicate stitch.
Who shouldn't work Option 2: If you hate having to work on finishing your project after you've bound off, Option 2 is not for you.
Option 3: Garter Stitch
The third, and final, construction method option within the flag dishcloth knitting pattern is to work the blue section in garter stitch and omit the "stars" completely.
This is by far the simplest method. It means that you won't need to work any purl stitches, and you don't have to worry nearly so much about blocking your project. The only downside to this method is that you won't have any "stars" on your project... but to be honest, it still looks really great!
Note: The photo shows the project worked in the garter stitch option.
Who should work Option 3: I recommend Option 3 for very beginner knitters or knitters that are looking for a very simple, mostly mindless knit.
Who shouldn't work Option 2: I would recommend working a different option if you really want to have the "stars" on your flag dishcloth.
Alright, that's all three construction methods for the free United States Flag Dishcloth knitting pattern! Have you decided which method you'll be using? I'd love to see your project! Be sure to tag me on Instagram and link your project on Ravelry!
If you haven't already, don't forget to grab your free copy of the pattern here, or purchase the pattern from your favorite pattern platform: Snickerdoodle Knits website, Ravely, LoveCrafts, or Payhip.
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