Nai-Nai’s Favorite

comments 59
Beginner / No Gauge / Patterns

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.


PDF download available here: download now from ravelry

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”



  1. Trudy says

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

  2. mbrie says

    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!!!

  3. Arctic says

    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! 🙂

    • 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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  5. 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.

  6. Fran Bolgar says

    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.

    • I don’t have this problem too much… it could be that I am using a tighter bind off than you are. But You might try rounding up the corner a bit as you sew in the end when finishing.

  7. Kathryn says

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

  8. T Hesse says

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

  9. Margaret Bosnyak says

    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?

    • It sounds like you are doing it correctly. The front and back of this pattern do not look the same, even though both sides are presentable.

    • I used the long-tail cast on, but since you are only casting on a few stitches, just about any will work (except provisional cast-ons, of course.)

  10. Gloria says

    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!

  11. anne says

    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!

  12. Maria says

    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!!

  13. beth says

    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?

    • 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 says

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

      • beth says

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

      • 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 says

        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!

  14. Carol Ann says

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

  15. Ivy B says

    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. 🙂

  16. Linda says

    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.

  17. Rosalind Taylor says

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


  18. inchargemom says

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

  19. Pingback: further to the dishcloths | Perigrines Eyrie

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

  21. Pingback: Chinese Waves Dishcloths- Finished | Sara Crafts

  22. Dette Marie says

    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!

  23. Pingback: nai nai’s favoriet « laporatorium

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  25. Elizabeth says

    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

    • 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.

  26. Ivy Fasko says

    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?


    • 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!

  27. ladygray says

    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?

    • 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.

  28. Reblogged this on 1RedThread and commented:
    I’m making this – but as a blanket, not a dishcloth, using Bernat Blanket. It looks great so far, and I think it’ll make up a nice, thick, warm afghan.

  29. Pam Wheary says

    Thank you for such a beautiful pattern. Could you possibly use Euroflax sport weight yarn? Thank you!!

    • A linen yarn like Euroflax would work fine – just follow the washing directions on the label, and use a needle size that produces a nice thick fabric.

  30. Elentarien says

    Thank you for this wonderful pattern. I think its become MY favourite pattern for face-cloths. I’ve all but abandoned the search for other patterns. lol I use bernat cotton and they turn out wonderful. Kind of luxurious in a way – and a nice quick, simple knit. The only ‘alteration’ I’ve made to the pattern is to simply slip the first stitch on each row for a slightly smoother edge. Not a big deal, but I like the results. 🙂 Thank you!

  31. Hi
    Thanks so much for the great dishcloth pattern.
    I’ve knitted it but can’t get past Row 9. I’ve read through the comments to see if anyone else has had the same problem I have. But no one has mentioned confusion with Row 9

    My downloaded instruction tells me at Row 9: k1, k2tog, yo, centred decrease, yo, ssk, k1
    What “centred decrease” do I use?
    If it’s k2tog then the stitch count doesn’t add up to 9 stitches – there will be one stitch spare
    Or does it mean knit the 3 centre stitches together?
    Or sl1, k2tog, psso?
    How do I end up with only 3 stitches to complete ssk, k1?
    I really appreciate clarification so I can get my almost finished dishcloth off the needles thanks

  32. mamamiau says

    This is my favorite dishcloth/washcloth pattern. I’ve made dozens for gifts, and just passed the pattern links on to a fellow student in a Craftsy class taught by Patty Lyons.

  33. Pingback: 12 Dishcloth Knitting Patterns: Gifts for You and Friends

  34. Debbie says

    I stumbled upon your pattern for the dishcloth. I fell in love with it, and just had to learn how to knit, so I could make this!! Thank you so much for sharing!! This is my favorite cloth!!

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