Have you ever had a knitting mistake turn into a happy accident? Do you know what I mean?
A happy accident is when something good unexpectedly comes from making a mistake.
Take this knitted washcloth, for example.
Years ago, when I was learning to knit, I would hand write the pattern onto loose leaf notebook paper. Doing this repeatedly, this is how I learned to read a knitting pattern.
Somewhere along the way, though, I wrote the pattern out wrong. I didn’t know it then, but I would figure it out shortly.
Either I mixed up the stitch count or my cast on count, I can’t recall for sure. Regardless, I continued to knit.
Before long, I figured out I had made a mistake, or so I thought. Instead of starting over though, I decided to just see what happened. Maybe it would be terrible, maybe not.
The result is the Happy Accidents Knitted Washcloth. I’m so pleased to share my learned lessons, and the free knit pattern, with you today.
Easy Knitting Project
Try Village Yarn Craft Cotton for your next knitting project.
This Happy Accident Knit Washcloth is a super easy knitting project for knitters of any skill level. The free knitting pattern requires knowledge of knits and purls. Aside from that, you’ll need to know how to long tail cast on and bind off. Simple.
Below are links to my knitting tutorials in case you need them.
- How to Long Tail Cast On
- The Knit Stitch
- How to Purl
- The Bind Off / Cast Off
This Happy Accident Knit Washcloth is a simple back and forth knit on straight needles, or circular needles without the join. Since it's a small washcloth, it's the perfect travel knitting project. You can make a bunch of them in no time!
Now, let’s talk about what you’ll need to knit your own.
Knitting Supplies You’ll Need
Knit with 100% cotton yarn, the result is a soft and long lasting knitted washcloth. Personally, I prefer these hand knit washcloths to store-bought ones. These are just so much softer. Plus, I know exactly what fibers it contains and where they’re sourced from.
For this Happy Accident Knit Washcloth, I used Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton yarn in worsted weight. I’d consider it more of a light worsted, heavy DK weight cotton yarn than its listed yarn weight.
For more defined stitches, I used U.S. size 6 (4 mm) knitting needles to hold the tension better. As cotton will stretch out when wet, this was important to me.
I used these knitting supplies for the Happy Accident Knit Washcloth:
ChiaoGoo Circular Knitting Needles, U.S. Size 6 (4 mm).
Use I Love This Cotton Yarn or try Village Yarn Craft Cotton.
Stitch Markers (optional)
Why Knitting Washcloths are Important
In a previous post, I talked about the different ways you could use a knit washcloth. If you’d like to learn more, plus another free knitting pattern, check out our Double Broken Rib Washcloth pattern post.
Today, though, I want to talk a little about why knitting a washcloth can be helpful.
Beyond serving its physical purpose, the process of knitting a washcloth has its purpose, too.
8 Ways a Washcloth Can Help You
1. Gives you a chance to practice your knitting.
2. Allows you to test a stitch pattern.
3. Let's you practice a new knitting technique.
4. Use up scrap yarn in your yarn stash.
5. Let’s you experiment with different yarn fibers.
6. Shows you how stitch patterns look in different yarn weights.
7. It serves as a gauge swatch for flat knitting.
8. Makes for a quick knitting project.
Honestly, knitted washcloths are my favorite kind of gauge swatch. They let me experiment with new stitches and stitch textures. It also gives me a chance to see if I'll like the way a stitch pattern knits up.
If I really like the texture and look, I'll modify it to make a baby blanket pattern. For instance, the back of this knit washcloth is equally as interesting as the front. I think this would make a lovely lovey or stroller blanket.
In the image below, I've added an extra stitch to each edge, marked by stitch markers, to create a neat slip stitch edge.
So, if you’re one of those knitters who’s reluctant to knit a gauge swatch, just tell yourself you’re knitting a washcloth. Seriously. You don’t have to use it as a washcloth. You can give it another purpose, like a knit coaster for drinks, or a hot pad.
I certainly feel better when I think I could repurpose a swatch instead of just wasting yarn, regardless of how necessary swatches are.
Just remember that this only works for flat knitting projects. Circular knits need to be swatched in the round.
Ok, I think that covers all the aspects of knitting a washcloth. All that’s left is to knit one. Let’s get to the pattern.
The Happy Accident Knit Washcloth
With your U.S. size 6 (4 mm) knitting needles, cast on 34 stitches using the long tail method. The first and last 3 stitches are your garter stitch edge stitches. If it helps you keep track of the pattern, I’d suggest placing stitch markers at these two points.
Knit three rows of garter stitch to create the washcloth’s knit border.
Then, follow the knitting pattern as written below.
Happy Accident Knit Washcloth
Row 1: Knit all stitches
Row 2: K3, Purl 28 sts, K3
Row 3: K3, [P2, K1], P1, K3
Row 4: K3, [K2, P1], K1, K3
* Repeat pattern between brackets [ ]
Repeat rows 1 through 4 until you're happy with the length of your washcloth. Then, begin your second garter stitch knit border (after row 4).
Knit 3 rows of garter stitch, then begin your bind off.
Want more information on knitting abbreviations and terms? Be sure to check out our complete list here.
The Happy Accident Knit Washcloth shown here includes a total of 11 pattern repeats.
Happy Accident Knit Washcloth Final Measurements
Now, here's more good news. When it comes to knit washcloths, gauge is not critical, but it makes for good practice.
For this simple knitting project, my washcloths measured 7 inches (18 cm) wide by 6 inches (15 cm) tall.
And that’s how you make your own Happy Accident Knit Washcloth.
I hope this post was helpful in reminding you that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are not only how we learn, but also help you to see things in a new way. If I had given up, even when I knew I’d made an error, I’d have never created this new stitch pattern.
It’s definitely a reminder that doing the same thing over and over can create blinders, so always be open to trying something new. Try a new pattern, try a new yarn. You can even try writing out the knitting pattern by hand, like I do.
Personally, I find that it helps me see the pattern in a different light. Also, as most publishers are short on print space, it helps to see the pattern with space to breathe.
The point is, be audacious and brave in all your knitting endeavors. You never know, you might end up making your own happy accidents.
I hope you enjoyed this Happy Accident Knit Washcloth pattern. If you did, I’d love to hear about it. Your feedback really helps me to continue to provide useful tips, patterns, and information.
Also, don't forget to check out our Knitting Patterns page for more inspiration. I'm constantly updating the posts to bring you the best of what's out there.
Mary Nagorski says
I make walk cloths too her is my pattern, knit 4 then k 1 row , knit 2 yarn over k to end. Repeat this until 40 stitches are on the needle then k 2 yarn over knit 2 together, knit 2 together until 4 stitches are left on the needle, then bind off
I loved this. What's more I goofed mine up and Workmens Comp was created. I just entered my completed Happy Accident and Workmens Comp in Ravelry. My Ravelry name is Oneitaae.
..I have been knitting for a long time. Hate to do a swathe, I like yours better. I do know how to read a pattern.Don"t like charts so I write them out, being 86yrs old it works better for me. I just found this site, at one time I made a sweater with snow flakes, deers stars in white & navy yarn. knitting with both hands, try it some time, its not as hard as you might think,Being 9 when I started. All I could do was the knit st,almost did me in trying to do the purl one. After that it was all down hill. When I said I liked to knit to someone all that was told to me was they liked to crochets when that was said, ok its faster, but didn't say, it is so much better. sometimes we keep our mouths shut,lol.
You say to knit 3 rows. Shouldn't it be 6 rows so you have 3 rows on each side.
Hi Sharon! No, the directions are correct. The cast on counts as the first row. Next, you'll knit three rows before you begin the stitch pattern, which is also a knit row.
So, all told, it's two complete garter stitch rows plus the cast on, which is why it looks like 3 rows.
Thanks for the question! I hope this helps.
Sharon A Cox says
Ahhhh. Makes sense
So the repeat is rows 2, 3, and 4? Is this correct?
Hi Sandy! Thanks for reaching out.
No, you'll repeat rows 1-4 until you've reached your desired length, minus the edge.
Patricia Walls says
Hello Christina, thanks for this lovely pattern! I was wondering as I am a newbie how I would change the stitches to make an 8”x8” square? I need those dimensions as I am making squares for a charity that binds the squares together into blankets for underprivileged children. Thank you!
Hi Patricia! Thank you so much!
The pattern works up in multiples of 3 sts +1. For example, you cast on 34 stitches for this washcloth (11 x 3 = 33 +1 = 34). To make a bigger washcloth, you'll need to find a larger multiple of 3 +1 to cast on. The pattern will stay the same, essentially. You'll only end up doing more repeats of the bracketed instructions. I hope this helps you to knit up those squares for charity! Good luck!
Patricia Walls says
Thank you for that information! I will now attempt the pattern with more clarity!
Would you please explain how you did the slip stitch edge on the Happy Accident Knit Washcloth pattern.
Hi PJ! I believe I just slipped the first stitch of every row purlwise. That's it.
If you look at the picture where you mentioned the slip stitch your markers for the added stitch appear to be 4 stitches in from each side so I am still confused. Do you mean you add the stitch at the marker but slip it at the beginning of the row?
Also wondering the method of adding the extra stitch. Is it a yarn over or knitting the stitch front and back?
Yes, in that photo, I had 4 stitches on each edge. This was to account for the slip stitch. If you want 4 stitches on each edge, you'll need to adjust your cast on count by two. For this free pattern, there are no increases of any kind.
Got it! Thank you!!
Monique Lamarre says
Pour l'instant, je lis plus sur le tricot que je tricote, parce que j'aimerais connaître la solution du premier rang du tricot dont j'ai fait les côtes. Madame MG n'est pas facile à suivre. Pouvez-vous m'éclairer sur la première ligne de tricot auquel je ne comprends rien, je mets tout le paragraphe, ce qui me concerne, je crois, est le troisième chiffre dans les (parenthèses).
Next row (inc) (RS) : K4 (4,4,1,2,2,5,2,0), [k10 (9, 13, 15, 13, 18, 15, 14, 13), kfb] 8 (10, 8, 8, 10, 8, 10, 12, 14) times, k14 (14, 18, 17, 16, 20, 21, 16, 14). 8 (10, 8, 8, 10, 8, 10, 12, 14) sts inc'd,114 (128, 142, 154, 168, 182, 196, 210, 224) sts.
J'apprécierais énormément que vous m'informiez de ce que cela veut dire, car je ne connais personne qui peut me renseigner et je vous ai trouvé en cherchant une réponse. Vous pouvez m'écrire en anglais si c'est plus facile pour vous, d'ailleurs le livre est en anglais. Merci à l'avance de votre gentillesse et de votre savoir.
Hi Monique! It sounds like your sweater pattern offers different sizes. The numbers in parentheses correspond to the size of the garment you are knitting. Determine which size you are working to and mark out all the other numbers in each parentheses to keep you from making a mistake. I hope this helps you.
Monique Lamarre says
il y a une erreur dans la première ligne de mon envoi. J'ai écrit "j'ai connu la solution du premier rang", en fait c'est le contraire que je voulais dire. Je ne connais pas la solution de la première ligne du tricot après les côtes. Excusez-moi.
Rosalind Crawford-Weller says
Is this a face washer or a dishwasher?
Hi Rosalind! It could be whatever you'd like it to be. Your house, your knitting, your rules. 👍