I really hated using the old fashioned sponge mops (or really any sponges for that matter) because once you use them, they're all full of dirt, and then you're just spreading your old nasty mess around your floor over and over again, which is just gross! So of course when the Swiffers and other brands of disposable pad type of mops came out several years ago, I was right on the bandwagon. Very soon, though, I realized the drawback - those crappy little cloths are expensive to buy, flimsy, and not at all absorbent. The answer to that problem is to knit your own washable, reusable mop pads.
To be honest, I got the idea from a project tear off sheet when I was browsing at a Michael's Arts and Crafts store, but the pattern they had required that it be made in three pieces and sewn together. I think most knitters can attest that the crappiest part of any project is the casting on and first couple of rows, and the end assembly. So what I have done in this Instructable is rework the pattern and technique a little bit so that the whole thing is worked in one piece to minimize the tedious parts.
Step 1: Materials
You will need:
Yarn: I like to use cotton yarn for these because it's sturdy, affordable, and easy to wash. The AC Moore store near me sells bags of "mill ends" of cotton yarn really cheap, so that's what I use. It's pretty much just like Lily Sugar'n Cream. If you're careful not to waste much, you can get two pads from one ball.
Knitting needles: size US 7 or 4.5mm, but I'm not a big stickler on sizes. This is going to be stretchy, so as long as you're close, it's OK.
Step 2: Casting on and First Section
Before you start casting on, gather up a foot or two of yarn and bundle it up or put it on a bobbin, and start casting on from there. We want to leave a long tail to sew up the end of the pad when we finish.
Cast on 14 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Perl
Row 4: Perl
Continue rows 1 through 4 until you have about 4 inches unstretched. You will be making a series of horizontal ribs. For me, it's usually about seven raised ribs to get to the right length, but you may need more or less.
Step 3: Moving Into the Main Body
At this point, we have completed one end of the sweeper pad. We now need to get the full length and width into play. The reason we left the long tail of yarn at the beginning will start to become evident now, since we don't want to have to add tie-on pieces later if we don't have to. So when you have about four inches of knitting done, and the long tail that we left at the beginning will be to your right when we start the next row, start casting on more stitches. You will want a total of 42 stitches, so the 14 that we started with, plus casting on another 28 will give us 42 stitches.
Step 4: Main Body
Continue the ribbing pattern of two rows of knit and two rows of perl to continue the horizontal rib pattern. Keep doing this for another four inches and you should have something similar to the picture.
Step 5: The Home Stretch!
Almost done now, all we need to do is create another flap like we did at the start, but put it on the other side. So once there are four inches done of the full 42 stitch rows, time to start casting off.
When you're about 4 inches on the full width, and the next row puts your first long tail of yarn at your left (like in the picture), start binding off your stitches. Bind off 28 stitches, (and I always have to double check on this) so that you have 14 total stitches, with one being on your right needle and 13 on your left.
Keep going in your knit/perl sequence from here.
Step 6: The Last Flap
This step is the easiest - just keep going with the knit two rows perl two rows pattern from wherever you left off on the binding off row. Continue going for another four inches When you get to a row where the first big tail of yarn is on your left, bind off. you should end up with sort of a "z" shape.
Step 7: Finishing
Secure the last stitch, but don't cut anything yet. Grab up a foot or so of yarn from your working ball, cut it there and thread a yarn needle with this tail. Flip your 14 stitch section over the 42 stitch section and match up the edges and corners. Then take your yarn needle and the tail of your yarn to sew the two layers together with and overhand or blanket stitch across and around the corner creating a pocket. Tie it off and weave in the end.
Now, thread your needle with the long tail from the beginning of the project, flip that beginning end of the "z" shape up across from the one you just made. Stitch around the edge to make the second pocket and you're done!
Step 8: Conclusion
Enjoy your new sweeper/mop pad and make another one or two! That way you can always have one in the laundry, one for dry cobwebs or dust, and another one for mopping damp.