Knit a pretty vintage hand towel

These simple, useful and elegant hand towels make a perfect housewarming gift - or a great addition to your own kitchen. Plus, they're very easy to make.

Knit a hand towel
My grandma and her frugal ladyfriends made each other gifts for the kitchen: homemade aprons, embroidered napkins, or terrycloth towels with fabric loops sewn on for hanging. While she may have preferred not to have seven embroidered kittens doing household chores, Grandma did appreciate having a clean dishtowel for every day of the week. This vintagey hand towel makes a sweet housewarming gift with a dishrag and a bottle of aromatherapy dishwashing liquid. (Grandma would not have wanted to live to see aromatherapy dishwashing liquid.)

Mitered hanging towel
This pattern is a miter, but by making fewer decreases, you give it a wide, towelly shape. The hanging tab is knitted with a double strand of yarn for durability. We're not going to have a soggy hanging tab, now are we?


Approximately 18" x 15" (45.5cm x 38cm), measured at widest point with hanging loop buttoned


•  4 medium/worsted
• Peaches & Creme worsted weight, 100% cotton, 21⁄2 oz (70g), 122 yd (112m), 1 ball each in colors A and B (We used Yellow, Lemon, Baby Green, Silver Grey, and Ecru.)
• Size 7 (4.5mm) needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
• One 1" button
• Stitch marker
• Tapestry needle


18 stitches and 28 rows = 4" (10cm) in stockinette stitch

Actually easier than pie.

The main section of the dishtowel is made with one strand of yarn; the hanging loop is made with the yarn used double.

Cast on 90 stitches, placing a stitch marker between the 45th and 46th stitch to mark the center of the row.

Bottom border
Rows 1 and 3 (RS)
Knit to 2 stitches before the marker, ssk, slip marker, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.

Rows 2 and 4 (WS)

Main section
Row 1 and all RS rows Knit to 2 stitches before the marker, ssk, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.

Rows 2, 4, 6, and 8
k1, purl to the last stitch, k1.

Rows 10, 12, and 14
Knit – 72 sts.

Repeat rows 1–14 twice more – 44 sts.

Repeat rows 1–8 – 36 sts.

Cut A. Join B and work in garter stitch (knit every row), decreasing 2 stitches at the center of each RS row as established, until 24 stitches remain. Knit one row.

Hanging loop
Using a double strand of B but without changing the needle size, continue working in garter stitch, decreasing 2 stitches at the center of each RS row as established, until 8 stitches remain. Knit one row, ending with a WS row.

Starting with RS facing, knit 9 garter ridges (18 rows), ending with a WS row.

Form a folding line as follows
Row 1 (RS) Knit.

Row 2
k1, purl to last stitch, k1.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 four times more.

Knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows), ending with a WS row.

Buttonhole and end of hanging loop

Row 1 (RS) k2, bind off 4, k1.

Row 2
k2, turn, cast on 4 using the cable cast-on method, turn, k2.

Rows 3 and 4 Knit.

Row 5
ssk, k4, k2tog—6 sts.

Row 6

Row 7
ssk, k2, k2tog—4 sts.

Row 8

Bind off remaining 4 stitches in purl.

Weave in ends. Sew the button in place.

Excerpted from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne. Copyright © 2008 Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne. Published by Potter Craft, a division of Random House, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

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