When is a bath mat not a bath mat? When it’s a rug for the baby’s room instead!
Yeah, that doesn’t really work as a joke or an explanation really, does it? Okay, so here’s the full story…
I wanted to knit a cotton bath mat, and Woolwarehouse had Drops Loves You 5 back in stock (ridiculously cheap, bright and lovely recycled cotton in aran weight), so I figured I could whip one up pretty quickly. (Stop laughing!) A bath mat is just a simple rectangular shape, I thought, not much to go wrong, I thought, (I can still hear you!), so here’s a chance to write up a little pattern.
I agonised over number of stitches, the depth and number of stripes. I worked it all out. I even knitted a gauge swatch. I had a plan. A good plan. I knitted the first stripe, looked at it, considered my careful calculations… and ripped back a few rows and decided to make the stripes a bit narrower for, well, no discernible reason I can remember.
The plan was to have a bath mat with seven stripes as close to the colours of the rainbow as my palate would allow. Six stripes in, and with one more to go, I could see the proportions were off, even when the mat inevitably stretched with use.
So, logically I had a few options to rectify the situation: I could add a border to enlarge the overall size of what I had already made, but that might lead to an odd looking object that no one would want a pattern for (nope); or I could start again using my original plan (nope nope nope); I could frog the damn thing and go buy myself a sodding bath mat (tempting but nope); or I could add another stripe in another colour (hmmm…).
I’d bought eight colours of yarn as I wasn’t sure which would work as blue, indigo and violet, so why not just whack a stripe of what turned out to be a bright pink on the end?
I got halfway through that eighth stripe when my Inner Gollum woke up and started muttering. What’s it done to our precious rainbowses? We wants the odd number of stripes for aesthetically pleasing reasonses!
At this point I want to acknowledge that I’m only ever functioning on about 70% of my prefered amount of sleep, and I rarely get much uninterrupted time to knit, crochet or write anymore. I love my daughter to the moon and back (and to infinity and beyond for that matter),but she does scramble my brain, bless her.
Anyway, Gollum grumbled, brain fart occurs, suddenly it seems reasonable to through caution to the wind and make it a double rainbow! The extra stripe can go right down the middle and I can work all the other seven colours again in reverse order! WHAT A GREAT IDEA!
Spoiler alert: this did not lead to the creation of a bath mat.
As I plodded on,through my now more-than-doubled-in-size project, I tried to stay upbeat, enjoying the satisfying weight of the yarn, the bright colours and the neat little border of moss stitch (seed stitch to you foreigners!), but as the project grew, my heart sank. There was no way this would ever work as a bath mat. I wouldn’t even be able to hang it over the side of the bath when not in use because it was probably going to be longer than the bath itself!
After all the precious spare (ha!) time I’d spent on it, I had of course developed an emotional attachment to the wretched thing. And the ends… so many ends! Six per stripe, as I’d been using three strands held together! Sigh.
I’m not sure at what point I came up with the idea of putting the rug alongside Claudia’s cot, but the thought of it being for her definitely spurred me on to finish it. As soon as I had dealt with all those ends, and arranged it on the floor of her room, it just clicked: this was where it was meant to be all along. The proportions were perfect! Even Inner Gollum purred.
TLDR: Knitted a rectangle that wasn’t a bath mat. Is now on daughter’s bedroom floor. Looks good.
Bedside Rainbow Rug or The Not-Quite Bath Mat.
I used: 9mm needles ( and 10m needles to cast off) and 3 x 50g balls of 8 colours of Drops Loves You 5 (red, orange, yellow, lime, turquoise, royal blue, purple and cerise).
Good alternatives would be Drops Paris, Rico Creative Cotton in aran weight, Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton or Lily Sugar n Cream.
Finished rug measures approximately 115cm x 45cm, although it does depend a bit on how you arrange it! More suitable to go on a carpeted floor than a hard one unless you add some sort of non-slip backing.
Using 3 strands of aran or worsted weight cotton held together, cast on 45 stitches on 9mm needles (I used circulars – not sure if you’d fit the stitches on straight needles).
Rows 1-4: knit 1 purl 1
Following rows: (knit 1, purl 1) twice. Knit to last 4 stitches (purl 1, knit 1) twice. It helps to use stitch markers to remind you to work the border of 4 stitches either side.
For stripes change colour after first 12 rows, then every 10 rows, and the last stripe 12 rows again. (Mine has 15 stripes)
Last 4 rows: knit 1 purl one (the same as the first four rows).
Cast off loosely (or with size 10mm needles).
Sew in ends and you’re done!
Really not much of a pattern, but hey ho. If you wan to make the rug wider (say for use as a bath mat…) ensure you have an odd number of stitches and the pattern will still work. Just knit fewer rows if that’s your plan!