How to Make Hand Knit Washcloths
I am sharing a very simple pattern for hand-knit washcloths that uses the double moss stitch. These washcloths are perfect for gifting or for your own use.
The other night my husband and I were guests of our friends at a basketball game. While the game was carrying on in front of us, my girlfriend and I were catching up on each other, our families, and stuff in general.
Somehow we migrated to chatting about hand-knit washcloths or, as some say, knit dishcloths perhaps dishcloths? (isn’t that what you chat about at basketball games?).
She told me about this great washcloth a friend had knit for her, and she wanted to knit some herself. She came over the next day with the washcloth, and we figured out the yarn and needle used and the pattern, a simple double seed stitch. I love that they look like there are little hearts in the pattern.
(This is one of several knit washcloth/dishcloth patterns I’ve published. To see all the washcloth patterns…scroll down towards the bottom of the page)
I was eager to get started on these great washcloths; they are the kind of knit project I’m looking for these days. As I’ve said before, I need something to do while on car trips, sitting in front of the TV, or in the carpool line, and these washcloths fit that bill.
They are a quick-knit (read…semi-immediate gratification) and don’t require my undivided attention.
I used 100% cotton yarn for these washcloths. Cotton is far more absorbent than polyester, so is a good material for a washcloth. The yarn is a worsted weight, and I used size 6 needles.
These double-moss stitch hand-knit washcloths measure 11 inches by 11 inches. Adjust your cast-on if you want something smaller or bigger. I find them the perfect size.
materials you will need to knit 2 washcloths (11″ x 11″)
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- 1 skein worsted weight 100% cotton yarn. 200 yards made 2 washcloths. Make sure to see the list of best yarns for knitting washcloths/dishcloths below!)
- Size US 6 knitting needles or to fit your gauge.
A gauge of 4 stitches and 6 rows to the inch.
instructions to make knit washcloths with double moss stitch
If you want to resize your washcloth, I have explained that process on this post: How to Resize a Blanket, Washcloth or Towel.
Cast on 46 stitches
1st row: K1, *P2,K2* Repeat from * to * until last stitch. K last stitch
2nd row: P1, *K2P2* Repeat from * to * until last stitch. P last stitch
3rd row: K1, *K2P2* Repeat from * to * until last stitch. K last stitch
4th row: P1, *P2,K2* Repeat from * to * until last stitch. P last stitch
Repeat these 4 rows until your piece measures 11 inches. Bind off and tuck in your loose yarn.
So, I use the washcloths in my kitchen and in my bathroom. I’ve gifted them for Mother’s Day and for housewarmings. I keep a stash on hand for last-minute gifts for any number of occasions (Teacher Appreciation Day, hostess gifts and ‘just because’ gifts)
Here’s a round-up of some great items to accompany your hand-knit washcloth if you’re looking to gift them.
However you decide to ‘gift’ your hand-knit washcloths, you can be assured that the recipient will be thrilled.
Looking for other knit and crochet patterns? Once you have mastered this pattern, consider knitting your washcloths using the Chinese Wave Stitch or the Daisy Knit Stitch.
Or pop over here for all my knit & crochet patterns in one place!
If you are gifting these washcloths, these little wraps really dress them up nicely. If you’d like to receive the downloadable PDF of these washcloth wraps, click the button below.
And, if you want to be ‘in the knit know’ and you’d like to be notified of the publication of any knitting or crochet pattern before the rest of the world, you can do that here.
Best Yarns to Crochet or Knit Washcloths and Dishcloths:
In general, you want an unmercerized cotton as the mercerization process makes less absorbent material. I stay away from polyester/acrylic yarns for knitting washcloths as I find that those materials are not absorbent and don’t hold their shape.
Some brands to consider:
If you would like to knit something a little more challenging, give this Chunky Knit Blanket a try. Or, pop on over to all of my Knit and Crochet Patterns page.
Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this hand-knit washcloths pattern in the future:
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Until next time…
Hi Lynn, I made 2 of these washcloths and they are beautiful! Thought it might make a good pattern for a baby blanket. Any thoughts on size, # of stitches,yarn? Thank you
Good Morning Lynne, I think this pattern would be beautiful as a baby blanket! The few baby blankets I have made are about 36″ by 36″. If I were to make a baby blanket with this pattern, I’d try the following:
I’d stay with a worsted weight. The yarn I used for the washcloth would be fine, but you could also use something with some alpaca in it. I’ve used the Berroco Modern Cotton which was softer than the yarn for the washcloth, but did not have alpaca in it.
I’d use a size 7 or 8 needle, solely because its a bigger piece.
I’d check my gauge with whatever size needle I chose. I’m guessing I’d end up casting on 120 or so stitches.
I hope this helps! If you do make the baby blanket, please let me know how it turned out and I’d love to see a picture! Happy Knitting.
BTW…what did you do to make sure you were working on the right row. That was my biggest problem with this patter…I’d get busy knitting and lose track of what row I was supposed to be on…not a big row marker user. Did you just use row markers?
I keep track of my rows with a little journal in which I cross off the rows as I go. I find that very helpful.
This is such a beautiful pattern! Thanks Lynn ❤️
You are much more disciplined than I am! I get going and forget to stop! I’m so glad you enjoyed the pattern, it is one of my favs too.
Have a great day!
Thanks, Lynn, for your ideas! I will certainly try making a baby blanket using this pattern. I have searched high and low for something different and unique. Also, I love that it is reversible!!
FYI: when I’m knitting I keep the pattern right in front of me so I can refer to it at all times. Also, I make sure I complete the 4 row pattern before putting it down. Never used a row marker. I found making these washcloths to be instead gratification, i can’t wait to knit and it is very relaxing. Thanks so much!
Thanks for sharing these patterns. The washcloths are all so lovely and fun to make.
Sue, you are so very welcome and hope you have a great time knitting!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your kind words.
Beautiful stuff on your site! Love it!!
Aw thanks Carole! I very much appreciate your kind words and support. Hope you come back and visit again soon!
Fairly new to knitting… can I scale this to make a smaller dish cloth or scale up and what do I scale the number of stitches by? Does it just have to be an even number?
Hi Thacia, yes…you can scale up or down and just need to have an even number of stitches. Happy Knitting!
Thank you so much for sharing, I’m new to making wash clothes and dish clothes , I will be making this one,
You are so welcome Earlena! I hope you enjoy knitting them as much as I did and be sure to pop back in if you have further questions.
How do you knit pictures and words on a dishcloth/block?
I would either work the pattern into the knitting by switching colors for the picture, using intarsia, or you could ’embroider’ your image using duplicate stitch. Here’s a link for the duplicate stitch. http://www.dummies.com/crafts/knitting/knitting-stitches/how-to-add-duplicate-stitch-to-knitting/
Here’s a link for intarsia.
You’ve made me realize that I should do a post on this topic!!
Have a great day my friend.
What is the gauge for for your washcloths pattern? I don’t see them on the patterns’ page.
Thanks for pointing that out Jasmine! It is 2 stitches and 2 rows per inch.
Happy Knitting my friend!
How big should my gauge be?I’m still confused on it.How big was your gauge?
Hi Jasmine, so because the gauge is 2 stitches and 2 rows per inch, it’s really up to you how long to make it. For instance, if you knit a 6 inch by 6 inch gauge, then you should have 12 stitches across and 12 rows within that 6 by 6 swatch. Does that make sense?
My travels have slowed down and I’ll be home now and it’ll be easier to answer questions, so ask away my friend.
For adjusting the stitch count, I found it worked to do multiples of 4 plus 2 to keep with the pattern. Otherwise, just going with even meant that I was not getting the last two stitches of the repeating pattern before the last stitch. I’m just learning to knit (avid crocheter!), so perhaps I’m wrong, but it worked for me!
That’s exactly right Sarah! You do need that multiple of 4 plus 2 to stay in pattern. Thanks for pointing that out my friend.
Have a great weekend knitting and crocheting!
Hello! I’m working on one of these now and I’m quite pleased with how it is turning it out. Thank you for the pattern. I’m wondering how do you care for them once finished? Do you put them in washer/dryer on normal settings?
Hi Kate…I put mine through the washer and dryer…that cotton holds up real well!
Hi Kate…I put mine through the washer and dryer…that cotton holds up really well!…
And your tip about keeping track is a great one! Thanks for sharing it, my friend.
Also – in response to a comment upthread re: how to keep track of where you are in the pattern. I keep a pad and pen close by. When I take a break I leave a note to myself “Start with row X (1,2,3 or 4)”. I use the same note over and over and just cross out the last “X” and replace it as needed. Simple but it works.
Great tip! Thanks for sharing it my friend.
I’m so excited to start, again, to make washcloths. I have knitted many articles throughout the years and now as the aging process is taking hold, I don’t like anything to complicated. So fancy knit washcloths are it. Thanks for your interesting comments and answers. Jeanne
Hi Jeanne! I got tired of knitting sweaters that may or may not get worn, so have switched over to blankets and washcloths…which always seem useful. So glad you found some patterns you like my friend.
I have been knitting dishcloths using the basic corner to corner pattern for years now, and am ready to try some different ones. Your washcloths are so pretty and look almost as easy as the pattern I use. I can’t wait to start on them. My main reason for writing, however, is to tell you that your instructions, with pictures, are the clearest and easiest to follow that I have ever seen on any site. (And that includes video instructions, which can sometimes be confusing.) Thank you. I am thrilled to have found your site.
Wowza!!!! What a lovely way to start my day!
Thanks so much, BetteAnn…it is always a struggle to make sure that I make instructions as clear to everyone as possible and it really makes me feel good that you think I might have achieved that goal.
I hope that you are having fun making a stash of knitted washcloths!
So I just finished this washcloth but am not sure how to bind off. Do I follow row one’s knit and purl pattern and bind off respectively? Or can I just go with a straight knit bind off? I’ve never purled a bind off before so I guess that’s why I’m confused.
Love these washcloth instructions-so glad to have found your site as well!
Good Morning Steph!
At the end of the day, it is up to you. But, I would bind off in pattern, meaning bind off in the knit and purl. It is really easy and will help prevent that bind off the edge from flaring out.
Step 1: Knit your first stitch as normal.
Step 2: Purl your second stitch as normal.
Step 3: Slip the first stitch over the second stitch.
Step 4: Knit one.
Step 5: Slip stitch over the new stitch.
Step 6: Purl one.
Step 7: Slip stitch over the new stitch.
Step 8: Repeat until you have one stitch on your needle.
Come back and let me know how it worked for you!
And I’m so glad you found me too! I’m very happy you are here!
Hugs and happy knitting.
I have super duper wash merino wool leftover fro. A project. Do you think I can use this for a washcloth? Thanks for your post. Live your pattern and ideas for gifting!
Good Morning Noelle,
To be honest, I have never knit a washcloth with anything other than cotton, so I can’t say for sure. But, my gut is that you probably don’t want to knit a washcloth with wool, even the superwash. I would imagine it would take forever to dry and then you’d end up with a funky smelling cloth. I completely understand your desire to use up partial ball…but think for these I’d just get an inexpensive 100% cotton ball.
That being said, if you do decide to give the wool a whirl (see what I did there?), do let me know how it works as a washcloth material.
Have a great day my friend,
thanks for the free patterns.
you are so welcome!
I can’t wait to knit this washcloth. I love to knit dishcloths using the Grandma’s Favorite pattern and like you, I keep a stash handy for when I need a quick gift. Thanks for posting the pattern.
Hi Judith, I am so glad to know that my washcloth pattern will be included in your knitting rotation! I actually need to get busy rebuilding my stash as I have been whittling it down through gifting.
Happy Knitting my friend.
I’m brand new to knitting and love your site! Just made these washcloths are my very first project, and love them! Thanks for sharing. I wanted to know, how do you clean these? Can they go in the washer? Thanks!
Hi Jackie! Well done! Getting that first project under your belt is huge! The sky is limit for you now.
And depending on the yarn you used, the washcloths are very durable. I have used both the Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton and the Lily Sugar N Cream Cotton and they have stood up to many washings in the washing machine and, for the white ones, bleachings.
I hope this helps, but do let me know if you have additional questions.
I wanted to make a smaller dishcloth so i halfed the stitches (46 to 23) and i used this pattern and it made a super cute chevron pattern!! And accidental success!!
Oh Yippee! So glad that it worked so well for you. It is a sweet pattern, isn’t it!?
Happy Knitting my friend.
We still use washcloths as well, and I love the super absorbency of homemade knit cloths! Again, maybe you could teach me, others have tried and failed, maybe it can be your challenge!!
I would be thrilled to teach you! Anytime my friend.
I saw a pretty border somewhere on here, I think, and it was for the washcloth. I can’t seem to find it. Can you suggest a border for it? Thanks
Hi Jean, are you thinking of the applied I-cord? If so, here it is.https://nourishandnestle.com/how-to-knit-an-applied-i-cord/
But, you could use any of the borders on these washcloths as well. Some of them are crochet:
Let me know if you need further suggestions!
Im new to knitting. What type of cast on do you use for this washcloth? Thanks for your help.
Hi Jan, I use long-tail cast on.
I am just learning to knit. These are so nice and will be great to practice on. Thank you so much for your answer,
You are so welcome, Blanca. They are the perfect project to learn to knit! Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions.
The beautiful white one with the brown paper gift wrap sleeve, could you tell me which pattern it is? I love the woven looking design…help, pretty please? 😊
Thanks so much. These are just BEAUTIFUL!
Hi Sweet Cazra! The ‘woven’ looking washcloth is the Diagonal Basketweave Washcloth. Isn’t it lovely? You can find the pattern at https://nourishandnestle.com/diagonal-basket-weave-washcloth/
Happy Knitting, my friend.
I have just learn how to knit. Make me so relax after work. I have ever think doing it for relax but your idea help me to think of giving someone as a present. Great! Happy to know your site!
Hi Jimmy, I am so glad you found this helpful! There are many patterns for new knitters, so you should be able to knit a bunch of washcloths for your gifts this year.
Happy Knitting, my friend.
Thank you for showing me the way to make it. Very useful!
You are so very welcome! Happy Knitting.
So I knitted one … my first time knitting with cotton , my stitches don’t look as even as I would like as they are with other yarns . Will it be better after washed and dried ? Also will they shrink ? Will the stiffness go away ? Do you wash them before you gift them ?
Cotton does seem to show ‘everything’ because there are no loose fibers to help blend any inconsistencies. It will even out after washing. Did you use the Lily Sugar n Cream? As with any 100% cotton yarn, it will shrink a little, but then I feel it stretches back a little when wet. The yarn is very durable and perfect for washcloths, I certainly wouldn’t want it against my skin given the stiffness. It will soften with washes, but it is utilarian cotton.
Sometimes I do wash before I gift, just depends on how much time I have! 😉
Have a great day!
Oh Lynn, thank you very much for this pattern!! I cast on last night and enjoyed it so much I just finished it tonight. Getting ready to start the next one now. To keep track of which row, I simply write little columns of 1,2,3,4 and then cross off finished row. Long time knitter!! I am using an organic cotton worsted from Knit Picks that I had in my stash. Found you through Pinterest, so happy I did!
Brilliant! I love your tip and am thrilled that you are enjoying knitting this lovely pattern. And especially tickled that you ‘found’ me! I hope you continue to enjoy this website and hope it continues to offer you inspiration.
Have a fantastic weekend.
I just discovered this pattern , I’m a little unsure about something you say p1 then P2 do you mean P2 together or is just P3 all together.
Thanks for your help
Sorry for the confusion Tammy, I can see why it would be confounding!
I was trying to keep the one purl separate from the two purls because the two purls are part of the repeat and the first purl isn’t. But basically, you are 100% correct, on that row you work the first 3 stitches as purls.