Saturday, January 21, 2012

Scrubbies!

I had hoped to be able to post the really epic pattern that I've been working on by today.  Unfortunately, it seems to be taking far longer than I anticipated to complete.  This is a bit of a problem because I've been trying to post things more regularly.  Never fear, for I have another somewhat pattern to share today. But first, some cute.

Not a scene often seen in this house.  Both of my beasties not only being friendly to each other but being cuddly as well.  Normally there's fighting over who gets which spot of lap or just fighting because that's what sisters do.  Having had our cute, we can move to more important matters.  Scrubbies!

Behold!  The great and mighty Scrubbie!!
They may not look like much, but I LOVE Scrubbies!  They are quite possibly the best kitchen invention ever and the home made ones have one serious advantage.  They can go through the wash.  Anything that touches dishes in my kitchen has to be food or washable.  Period.  Sponges are horrible and you won't find any in my house.  I hate sponges as much as I love Scrubbies.  I hate sponges because I'm a microbiologist.  **Danger!  Science Rant Ahead!**  While sponges get the cleaning done, they themselves get dirty so fast it should make your head spin.  The trouble is that sponges hold water and bacteria love water.  Your sponge starts to become a living organism as soon as it gets wet and not just on the outer edges.  They grow bugs all the way through.  Any food bits left on the sponge and any of the food juice that goes into the sponge will become a bacterial breeding ground.  Rinsing isn't enough either.  Bacteria are tiny, they don't need a whole lot to live and spread.  Your damp sponge sitting out for an hour is enough for it to be filled with microorganisms.  You can wash sponges; a nice, long soak in bleach will kill damn near anything as will a go through the dishwasher, but most people just rinse and reuse.  No, antimicrobial dish soap won't help, the bugs just get resistant to it but that's a different rant.  **OK, I'm done now**  Consequently something that works like a sponge that is super easy to clean is fantastic.

This is part of what makes the Scrubbie so great.  These little beasts are fully washable and dryable AND will work on plastics and nonstick without scratching, as long as you don't go overboard with the scrubbing.  I'm sure it's possible to scratch things if you try hard enough, though I haven't managed it, but as with anything you will want to test this for yourself.  Just because my things haven't scratched doesn't mean yours won't and I would feel dreadful if anything happened to someone's nice pans on my account.  I've used mine on dried on potato soup mess and on fruit with equal ease.  Doesn't damage the fruit, scrapes the starchy ick off my stock pot.  Have I convinced you that these things are awesome yet?

You may be asking how something made from yarn can scrub more than the average washcloth.  The secret to scrubbie success is that it isn't just yarn.  Only using yarn will make that average washcloth.  But, if you add some tulle (devil fabric, I know, but it's easier to deal with in this form) with the yarn you get something that works damn near as well as those little green scouring pads that leave green grit in your sink and won't scrape your hands like other scouring pads.

There are a number of patterns around for these, but I don't think one more will harm anything.    I'm also cheap and lazy, so I saved the tag ends of yarn from making pot holders and used them up.  So in a way, this is a 'bonus' project.  (-:


You need:
Tulle
Small bits of cotton yarn
size 8 needles

Cut the tulle into 1 inch strips.  You don't have to be overly exact on this step, just make sure you aren't dealing with a huge strip.  Then you have two choices.  Tie the tulle strips together, end to end, and roll them into a ball or work with one strip at a time, tying the strips together when necessary.  I prefer the latter because there isn't a tulle ball for the cats to get into.  You now have tulle 'yarn' to use as your second strand.

Tulle strip


All that remains is to cast on, I did about 16 sts for a 4 1/2 inch wide Scrubbie, and work in garter until the piece is 3 inches high.  It helps if you have the tulle sandwich over the cotton yarn, it makes for a better Scrubbie later on.


You'll want to hold the yarn rather loose because the tulle is scratchy on fingers when you get started.  Keeping a death grip tension will not do pleasant things to your hands.  Also, once you start making a Scrubbie you don't really want to stop and rip it out.  The tulle grabs onto itself and is very obstinate about coming un-knitted.  And there you have it.  Everything you need to make a fantabulous Scrubbie to aid in your battle against the never-ending line of dishes.

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