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.
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.
*Nai-Nai is Chinese for “grandmother”