Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ode to Elmore-Pisgah

Ballband Dishcloth from Peaches & Creme label

I grew up with hand knit dishcloths and I've never been able to use anything else in the kitchen. There is something really special about the toothyness and absorbency of an all cotton, hand knit washrag. I loved the way the yarn would tighten up with washing and the colors would fade with time. My mom would knit an endless supply of "Cast on 4, knit 2 YO, knit to end" Peaches & Creme dishcloths. They have showed up in my Christmas Stockings for as long as I could remember. They were always welcomed gifts for friends and family. In fact, I had never knit my own dishcloth until just a few years ago.
Easy Knit Washrag

The love of hand knit dishcloths is shared by all of the Knitwits staff. We call them "Spa Cloths", it makes them sound just a little more special. Some of us (Sheryl) even have special knitting needles for creating their spa cloths. When we started carrying Elmore-Pisgah Peaches & Creme, we also launched a Dishcloth Club called Peaches & Creme Sundays. We would choose patterns that taught different skills and techniques and we would gather around the round table in our wobbly chairs every other Sunday afternoon. It is through Dishcloth Club that many of our loyal Knitwits honed their knitting skills and made lifelong friends.

Peaches & Creme Sundays
Elmore-Pisgah WAS one of our favorite yarn vendors at Knitwits. Since 1920, they were the manufacturers and distributors of our beloved Peaches & Creme, the ultimate cotton dishcloth yarn. Their warehouse was located in Old Fort, North Carolina, just outside of Asheville and right down the road from Janet's parents. We liked chatting with Flo and the other good folks who answered our calls, we liked picking up the our orders ourselves and we loved buying yarn that was made in the USA! There was something really special about the timeless appeal of Elmore-Pisgah Peaches & Creme.

Last year, we called Flo to place a little order and a teary Flo answered and announced that they were closing their doors at the end of the week- a Canadian company called Spin Rite bought the Peaches & Creme name. It was a classic case of "If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em out." We were heartbroken and angry--and we vowed to never buy the Canadian version of the yarn that put Flo and our other Pisgah friend out of work! Our little order turned into a very large order and we hoarded the soon to be gone yarn!

We have been searching for a suitable Peaches & Creme replacement for almost a year. Nothing felt right. It was like trying to find a replacement for your favorite pair of jeans. We had a hard time finding a suitable dishcloth yarn substitute--too expensive, too much yardage, too unAmerican or wrong "put up" (we want "ready to knit" without winding.

Last week, the newest issue of Creative Knitting Magazine arrived. As usual, we tore open the box and started leafing through the magazine. Janet and I found the dishcloth patterns at the same time and we both said, "Hey, those are cute. Wonder what yarn they used." The answer: Sassy Skeins!

Since 1995, the two talented women of Sassy Skeins in Key West, Florida have produced the Key West Karibbean Kotton Kollection, 36 great shades of 100% mercerized high quality, colorfast cotton yarn. We gave the ladies of Sassy Skeins a call and we liked what they had to say. The Key West Kollection met all of our dishcloth yarn criteria and we ordered a handful of colors (the ones they used in the magazine, to be exact). A few days later, the yarn arrived and it exceeded all of our expectations!

I took 2 balls of lime on my last trip and I crocheted a little bobbled clutch. I really enjoyed crocheting with the yarn. It is a braided yarn with a lovely sheen and it is easier on the hands than our Peaches & Creme.
Love the Sassy Skeins Key West Kotton Kollection

We still have a limit supply of "the Original" Peaches & Creme skeins. It will be a sad day when our supply is depleted. I don't think we will ever be able to "replace" Flo and our beloved Peaches & Creme but we welcome the addition of Sassy Skeins and the Key West Kollection with great enthusiasm!

Here's my mom's Favorite Dishcloth Pattern:

Cast on 4 stitches.
Row 1 - Knit across.
Row 2 and all rows until you have 33 or 39 stitches on the needle) - Knit 2, yo, knit across.
Next row will begin decreasing.
Knit 1, knit 2tog, yo, knit 2tog, knit across - you will have 32 or 38 stitches
Repeat previous row until 4 stitches remain on needle.
Knit across.
Bind off.
Weave in ends.
Repeat 1,000,000 times.

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