At long last, here it is... the pattern for my Perfect Loofah! But first, some pictures.
The most important component of this pattern is the yarn. I used Bernat Cool Crochet, which unfortunately has been discontinued. Here are the things that make this the perfect yarn for The Perfect Loofah:
1. Cotton is ridiculously absorbent. Nylon is not. This yarn is 70% cotton and 30% nylon, creating a nice balance between being soft (yay cotton!) and not sucking up all your soap never to be seen again (yay nylon!).
2. Nylon is resistant to mildew/mold. This is very useful for something that's going to be wet a lot.
3. It's sport weight. Worsted weight is just too heavy to make a good loofah. You need some air between the stitches in order to create suds.
4. Did I mention nylon dries faster than cotton? I guess this is a subsidiary of #1. The low absorbency of the nylon helps it dry out between uses.
5. It's machine-washable. The label says "dry flat" but seriously, I'd like to see you try to get a loofah to dry flat. I test washed mine before putting my first one up for sale and I put it in the dryer. It came out okay but looking a little rougher, so I'd recommend hanging it up to try. Low heat tumble drying might be okay - mine went in on permanent press.
Right, so the perfect yarn is no longer for sale, so what the heck are you supposed to do then? Well, if you're super lucky, you have some Cool Crochet hanging out in your stash, but if not, I've seen it for sale on both etsy and ebay. But I bought it, so it might be all gone :). You might also be able to swap with someone on Ravelry. (Hmm... maybe I shouldn't be telling you all this).
I have had a lot of trouble finding another yarn that is a sport (or fingering) weight cotton/nylon blend that doesn't have something else in it - like wool. It's possible that there are sock yarns out there that might fit the bill, but I haven't found any yet. Another option might be trying a cotton/acrylic blend. The acrylic should still help with the super-soap-sucking power of cotton, make the loofah lighter/less dense, and help it dry faster. But, as far as I know it's not mildew-resistant.
If you try a different yarn, PLEASE let me know how it works out for you! I'm making these for my etsy shop, and I only have so much Cool Crochet, so having another type of yarn to use would be awesome.
And now for the actual pattern.
I ask that you respect the time and creativity I put into developing this pattern by giving credit where credit is due. Please contact me first if you are interested in selling your finished products. Thanks.
35 g Bernat Cool Crochet (see above for reasons why this is the perfect yarn)
Size I9 (5.5mm) crochet hook
st: stitch ch: chain sl st: slip stitch dc: double crochet
ch 4, form a ring by joining with a sl st in first st
sl st into center of ring (this forms the loop for hanging the loofah)
R1: ch2, dc 4o into center of ring, join with sl st (4o st)
R2: ch2, dc 3 in each st around, join with sl st (120 st)
R3: ch2, dc 3 in each st around, join with sl st (360 st)
R4: ch2, dc 3 in each st around, join with sl st (1080 st)
Bind off. Weave in ends.