Nai-Nai’s Favorite


I love giving wash cloths as gifts. They are quick, and add a little touch of heartfelt luxury to the morning ritual. This one was for a friend’s birthday, and doubles as wrapping for a piece of handmade soap. I can’t really say that I wrote the pattern; I’m more like a scientist, splicing the genes of two compatible knits: the Chinese Waves Dishcloth, and the classic Grandmother’s Favorite. I love the Chinese Waves stitch pattern, but knitting it in a plain old rectangle never seemed to have that well-finished look that the diagonal knit Grandmother’s Favorite has, while the usual garter stitch of the latter lacks the satisfying weighty thickness of Chinese Waves. Because Chinese Waves has some intrinsic diagonal lines to it, the end result almost looks like it wasn’t knitted on the diagonal at all (at least to the untrained, un-knitter’s eye). As an added bonus, for all you purl-shy, this is a no-purl pattern.

Nai Nai’s* Favorite Dishcloth

Gauge: really not critical. Just knit to your desired diagonal width, or until you’ve used half your yarn, whichever comes first. Sample was made with Knit Picks’ Comfy Worsted on #7 needles, but you should use whatever yarn you have handy (cotton is best) on whatever size needles make a nice solid fabric.

Pattern notes:
kfb – knit into the front leg, and then the back leg of the same stitch before dropping it from the needle
yo – yarn over needle, from front to back
sl1 – slip one stitch purlwise, with yarn to the back of the work
k2tog – knit two stitches together as one
ssk – slip next two sts as if to knit, transfer them back to the left hand needle, and knit them together through their back loops. If you’re just starting out and don’t know this decrease yet, it’s no big deal to substitute a k2tog for the ssk’s in this pattern.
centered decrease: sl1 as if to knit, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over. Beginner alternative: k3tog (knit three stitches together).

Cast on 3 stitches
Row 1: knit 3
Rows 2&3: k1, kfb, k to end
Row 4: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2
Row 5: k3, sl1, k3
Row 6: k2, yo, k to last 2 sts, yo, k2
Row 7: k3, (sl1, k1) to last 2 sts, k2

Repeat rows 6&7 until desired diagonal width, ending with row 7. In the wash cloth shown, I had 65 sts at the maximum width.

Row 8: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to last 5 sts, ssk, yo, ssk, k1

Repeat rows 7&8 until 9 sts remain, ending with row 7.

Row 9: k1, k2tog, yo, centered decrease, yo, ssk, k1
Row 10: k3, sl1, k3
Rows 11,12,13 & 14: k1, k2tog, k to end
Draw yarn through remaining sts and fasten off.

Handy work

*Nai-Nai is Chinese for “grandmother”

46 responses to “Nai-Nai’s Favorite

  • Mary Anne

    What a clever idea! This is a beautiful cloth.

  • Shay

    I can’t wait to try this, it looks beautiful and practical too.

  • Trudy

    I had this pattern a long time ago, but couldn’t find one where it started with 3 stitches,
    Thank you

  • mbrie

    absolutely fantastic! i’ve just finished making a chinese waves and a normal grandmother dishcloth – and you are exactly right – i love the weight of the waves, but i like the form of the granny – this is a perfect mix and there’s now the PERFECT dishcloth, pretty and functional!!!

  • Arctic

    I started to knit this pattern. It’s beautiful! But, it’s the first one I’ve knit with English directions and I think I’m doing something wrong. I got a row of holes on the end of the rows from the ‘yarn overs’, but there is no holes on the picture. Any ideas about what I might be doing wrong? Thanks! :)

    • knittaforlife

      There are, in fact, yarn over ‘holes’ on the washcloth pictured, they are just not very prominent. Try blocking the finished product or tugging on it as you go, or alternatively, be extra careful when knitting your yarn overs to not stretch them open more than other stitches (since this is easy to do by accident.)

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    I am extremely inspired along with your writing talents and also with the structure for your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to peer a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  • Lynn

    I love, love, love the way this pattern works up. I, too, have just completed a chinese waves dishcloth and a normal grandmother’s favorite dishcloth and was not satisfied with the edges. This pattern takes care of this for me. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  • Fran Bolgar

    I’m on my third dishcloth in this pattern, as I really love its thick texture.
    It’s a pleasure to knit too. But I do have a problem – the final corner ends up too pointed and distorts the shape of the dishcloth. I’ve tried finishing it earlier, but that doesn’t help. I’m going to have to crochet a loop onto this corner and pretend the dishcloth’s meant to hang fron it. Can you please advise me how I can keep this pattern square? Thanks very much.

  • Kathryn

    This is a beautiful cloth. What yarn brand color and weight did you use?

  • T Hesse

    I love this washcloth! I will be making a lot more. Thanks for sharing the pattern..

  • Margaret Bosnyak

    I am making this right now. I like the looks of it very much BUT am not sure i am doing the “sl 1″ right.

    I am assuming the front is facing me and the “back” is literally at the back.

    The front and back do not look the same. Am i doing it right?

  • Melissa

    How do you know what type of cast one to use?

  • Gale

    thanks for sharing your talent!

  • Gloria

    Such fun! Yes, dishcloths make wonderful and thoughtful gifts. I companion mine with a homemade dish towel. For the gift wrapping, I attach a small, kitchen gadget to the bow. The recipients love them!

  • anne

    thanks so much for this pattern! a group of us are making squares to make up a blanket for a friend, and this little pattern was wonderful. i’ve tweaked mine to add a slip stitch selvage edge (german method) to make it easier for the seamers. thanks again for sharing!

  • Maria

    Love this pattern! It knits up tight and thick.I am knitting the wash cloths in spa colors and pairing them with soap and lotion for Holiday gift giving!
    Thank you!!

  • beth

    I love this pattern and am dying to get it going, but I am having a problem. When I get to line 4, I don’t have enough stitches to finish the row. Any clues to what I am doing wrong?

    • knittaforlife

      Hi Beth. Let’s see, you should be starting row four with five stitches. You should be starting with three from the cast on, and then knitting two rows which each add a stitch (3 + 1 + 1 = 5). Maybe you missed either row two or row three, and only did one kfb?

      • beth

        Thank you for your quick response, That makes sense and I will make another attempt tomorrow.

      • beth

        Wouldn’t I need 7 stitches to start row 4? I am sorry, but I just can’t seem to get it…

      • knittaforlife

        Row 4 is: k2, yo, k1, yo, k2
        This consists of a total of 5 knit stitches, and 2 yarn overs. A yarn over is a kind of increase that doesn’t “use up” a stitch from the previous row. So *after* row 4, you should have 7 stitches, but before, you only have 5.

        Have you actually tried to knit row 4 yet? If you just go ahead and do it, even if you don’t think it is supposed to work, it should just work itself out.

      • beth

        Ooooh, I see. Thank you so much!! I am progressing as a knitter but still get a little confused at times. Can’t wait to give it a whirl!

  • dianelouw

    Reblogged this on Diane's Thoughts and commented:
    Love it!!!

  • Carol Ann

    I love this pattern, it looks beautiful and the directions are so straightforward. I can’t wait to start it. Thank you! :)

  • Ivy B

    I run an after-school knitting club for the middle and high school students where I work. This is definitely going to be a winner I am knitting a sample now and cannot believe how easy it knits up and how wonderful it looks. Thank you for sharing. :-)

  • Linda

    I have enjoyed making these dishcloth/washcloths so much. My friends love to get them, but I only have one for me! Maybe after Christmas…? Thank you so much for sharing this pattern; it makes the perfect dishcloth.

  • Martha LaFata

    This is a great pattern! It is going to be my go to for a quick gift with a nice bar of soap. And your photo is lovely!

  • Rosalind Taylor

    I am on my sixth cloth. The texture, weight and and modern look–perfect!
    Thank you for sharing your innovation.


  • inchargemom

    Thank you for this pattern! I wanted to make these for years, just never put the needles in my hand…it came out lovely!

  • further to the dishcloths | Perigrines Eyrie

    […] spent some of the weekend playing around with the dishcloths. One I made was Nai Nai’s dishcloth – this worked up quite well, and was squarer than the usual Grandmothers favorite. I […]

  • CJ

    I am also saying thank you! I am just going to attempt,since i am a beginner too…

  • Dette Marie

    I absolutely LOVE this pattern! It is the best combination of my favorite Granny Dishcloth pattern and the beautiful Chinese Wave pattern. It is thick, beautiful, and functional! Thank you!

  • Knooked dishcloth | Perigrines Eyrie

    […] it wasn’t the Chinese Waves I was thinking of, it was Nai Nais dishcloth. Same sort of thing, just different methods, but it can be done. I need a different cotton to do it […]

  • Elizabeth

    Thought I’d give you a reply from 2014. It’s an awesome pattern – clever and so thick and luxurious.
    I can’t see where you indicate yardage?
    Thanks again for the great pattern

    • knittaforlife

      Hi Elizabeth! Glad you enjoy the pattern. I don’t indicate yardage as the pattern is highly variable, and can be worked to any size.

      If you are worried about having enough yarn, I recommend weighing your yarn ahead of time, then switching to the second half of the pattern when you have a little more than half left.

  • Ivy Fasko

    Hello – I’d like to make this as a tea towel, i.e., a rectangular shape vs the square in the above example. Did you ever try this shape and can you tell me how I might go about it?


    • knittaforlife

      I did this somewhat for a baby legwarmer pattern I improvised based on Nai-Nai’s Favorite, but in that case I was adding garter ribbing at the edges. It involves binding off some stitches at the beginning of the row once you are at your maximum desired diagonal length, and casting on stitches at the beginning of the following row. I haven’t had a chance to play with this for a dishtowel, but what an interesting idea!

  • ladygray

    Row 7 is giving me a hard time. I knit 3, SL 1, k 1, then I have 4 stitches left. Not sure what to do with the 2 stitches before I have to do the ending k2. Do I sl1 k1 again, or just knit?

    • knittaforlife

      When you have four stitches left, you should sl1 and k1 one more time, then you will have two stitches left, which you knit. The phrase “to last 2 sts” means “keep repeating what is in the parentheses until only two stitches are left.” Sorry you were confused.

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