These seven free knitted dishcloth patterns are always some of my most popular patterns. Knitted dishcloths and knitted washcloths are easy and quick projects; you could quickly knit up a dishcloth stash for gifting or for keeping for yourself. Speaking of ‘stashes’, knitting dishcloths and washcloths is a great way to use up your stash of yarn. These patterns cover a variety of skill levels, from the most basic beginner patterns to more challenging knit patterns.
I love using these hand-knit washcloths both in the kitchen and the bath, but I end up giving away about half of them. They make great gifts paired with bars of nice soaps or a bottle of bath salts. If you need more ideas for homemade gifts, definitely pop over to 14 DIY Gift Ideas that Don’t Scream ‘DIY!’ There are a variety of excellent gift ideas in that post.
why you’ll love these knit dishcloth patterns
There is something to like in each of these patterns; I couldn’t say that one is my favorite or THE perfect pattern. While each of these free dishcloth knitting patterns results in a different-looking washcloth or dishcloth, there are some similarities between the patterns.
- Once you knit the first couple of rows, you’ll find that, with the exception of the cable knit washcloth, they are each knit patterns that utilize the same stitch and repeat row. Once you establish the pattern, you’ll repeat the same stitches and rows throughout the washcloth (making them perfect for knitting in front of the TV!)
- Some of these are easy knitting patterns suitable for a beginner knitter. I have them organized from the easiest pattern to the most difficult pattern. The Chinese Wave, Diagonal Basketweave, and Daisy Stitch don’t require special knitting skills, but I think they’d be frustrating for new knitters. If knitting is a new skill, start with the first, easy pattern and work your way down the list. You will learn some new stitch patterns, and (and perhaps the best part) you will end up with a stash of lovely dishcloths!
- You can knit any of these washcloths if you have US size 6 or 7 knitting needles (4 or 4.5 mm needles). I knit some of the washcloths with a 6 and some with a 7, but you could easily swap them; we are talking dishcloths, after all. If you want to ensure that your dishcloth is a specific size, refer to this post on resizing washcloths and blankets.
- Did I mention these are all free patterns?
- Any of these washcloths would be welcome gifts for a friend or family member.
before you dive into the patterns, let’s address some common questions about knitting dishcloths:
what kind of yarn is best for knit dishcloths?
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Stick to cotton or cotton blends for your dishcloths. If you go the blended route, make sure it is primarily cotton (70/30 or 80/20) as the cotton is what makes the yarn absorbent.
While there are many cotton yarn choices, my go-to yarn, Lily’s Sugar N Cream, Worsted Weight Cotton Yarn, is a good choice for knit dishcloths and washcloths. The dishcloths knit with this yarn have held up well after years (truly, YEARS!) of washing dishes and wiping counters. And, not for nothing, it is also a very economical yarn choice.
But, here are some other yarn options you might want to consider. I have all the yarns and needles I use to knit these washcloths in my shop, here.
mercerized or unmercerized Cotton?
For the most absorbent knitted dishcloth, you want to knit your dishcloths with unmercerized cotton as the mercerization process reduces the absorbency of the fibers. Unmercerized cotton is nubbier and has a more ‘natural’ look.
However, mercerized cotton dishcloths will have a nicer sheen, come in a wider range of rich colors, will most likely last longer, and won’t get as ‘soaking wet’ as a result of the mercerization process. So, it’s a ‘personal choice’…not sure if there is a right or wrong.
Washcloth v Dishcloth and Sizes
OK, I don’t know what it says about me, but I never really thought there was much difference between a dishcloth and a washcloth. I mean, I wouldn’t go and wash my face with a cloth I had just used to clean a pan or the kitchen sink, but other than that, I guess I never thought there was much difference between the two.
But, I have recently learned that for many, there is a difference. It seems that washcloths are typically larger than dishcloths. Most standard washcloths are 11″ square, and most standard dishcloths are 8″ square. That being said, you can make your dishcloth or washcloth any size you want.
So, you have enough knitted dishcloth patterns to last a while but would love some other knit projects like knit blankets, baby blankets, Christmas stockings, purses, or pouf patterns? It just so happens that I have other wonderful free knitting patterns, too! Pop over here for all my knit & crochet patterns in one place. And for all my free knit blanket patterns, check out this post!
My go-to washcloth or dishcloth yarn is Lily Sugar ‘N Cream, The Original 100% Cotton Yarn. It holds up great to repeated washings, makes an absorbent washcloth or dishcloth, and is economically priced.
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