Posted by: christinelaennec | May 28, 2013

Friendship Facecloth

Last month I had the very good fortune to meet up with another blogger friend, Alison from Journeys to Scotland.  We converged in the beautiful city of Perth, and as has happened before when meeting online friends, it felt completely comfortable and as if we’d already met in person.

I wanted to make Alison a little something as a present – something practical and that wouldn’t take up too much room in her suitcase.  So I invented this facecloth (or flannel, or warshcloth as my mother and Granny would say):

Friendship Facecloth, designed by Christine Laennec

Friendship Facecloth, designed by Christine Laennec

I used scraps of cotton yarn left over from other projects.  Most of it is Rowan 4-ply cotton, which is now discontinued.  You could use any 4-ply / fingering cotton yarn that you chose.  The gauge is approximately 28 stitches = 4 inches.  I used 6 different colours, but you could use more or fewer colours.  The pattern is as follows:

With colour A [light green in my facecloth], cast on 43 stitches on 3.75 mm / US size 5 needles.

Row 1 (RS):  k across
Row 2 (WS):  k1, p to next to last st, k1
Row 3 (RS):  k across
Row 4 (WS): k across
Row 5 (RS):  k1, *k2 tog, yo, repeat from* to last st, k2
Row 6 (WS):  k across
Row 7 (RS):  k across
Row 8 (WS): k1, p to last st, k 1.  This completes the first colour stripe.

Row 9 (RS):  with Colour B [darker green in my facecloth], k across.  If you like, you can weave in the end of Colour A as you go.*
Row 10 (WS): as row 2
Row 11 (RS): k across.  If you like, you can weave in the tail of Colour B from two rows ago.
Row 12 (WS):  as row 4
Row 13 (RS):  as row 5

…. and so forth, repeating the 8-row sequence.  My facecloth has eight stripes, which made it roughly square.  If you’re working to a different gauge, you might want more or fewer stripes.  After you’ve finished Row 8 of your last stripe (WS row), k one more row (RS).  Cast off by loosely purling 2 stitches together all along the wrong side.

*Weave in yarn ends on a right-side row by laying the strand of the old yarn over the strand of the new yarn that you’re about to knit with.  Make a stitch with the new yarn, and the old yarn will be trapped behind.  Do this on every other stitch until you’re happy that the yarn isn’t going to pull out.

Then, if you like, you can do a crochet shell edging around the cloth.  This is how Vala Jonsdottir taught us to do a shell edging at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

Work one dc (double crochet [US – single crochet]) into the first stitch.  *skip 1 stitch and work 5 tr (treble crochet [US – double crochet]) into the next stitch to make a shell.  Skip 1 stitch, work dc into the next stitch, repeat from * along the edge.

As you can see, I made the treble crochet centres of my shells line up with every other ‘bar’ of the eyelet along the top and bottom stripes.  Along the side, I made one shell per knitted stripe.

Weave in any stray ends.  Block by pinning to a clean pinnable surface, and spraying water onto your facecloth.  Being sure to keep the cat out of the room (the sprayer bottle can be an effective deterrent), leave the damp facecloth to dry overnight.

Eh voilà!



  1. Ooooh, how I would love a gift such a this! like washing your face in handmade love!

  2. I would find this way too beautiful to use…my face would stay unwashed.

  3. What a lovely gift.

  4. Christine, sorry i didn’t see this earlier today. What a lovely post and it was such a special visit with you. A highlight of my trip for sure. For all who are reading this, the washcloth is beautiful and Christine, i had no idea that you had come up with the pattern yourself. It is a wonderful reminder of meeting you. I remember the term “flannel” from my childhood. 🙂

  5. I adore the colours and stripes, and when I look closer the stitches are so pretty. Thank you for sharing the pattern, ‘you never know ‘ maybe one day I’ll mobilise myself and give it a go. 🙂

  6. How lovely, colours of the sea. As for the instructions, they make me think of Bletchley Park and WWII code breaking, all very mysterious. I’m glad you both had such a nice time, that was a very thoughtful gift for someone on their travels.

  7. Very pretty – too pretty to immerse in hot water and squeeze with soap? Glad to see you are becoming ‘ambidextrous’ – not sure if there’s a term in the knitting/crochet world for someone who can do both? Love Judy.

  8. Lovely, just lovely! Fabulous gift idea – both useful and beautiful.

  9. Lovely gift and such pretty colours. I love using handmade face and dish cloths. Have a happy week my designer friend xx

  10. Beautiful colors and a very special gift. I wish I knew how to knit. I think I need to learn 🙂 xx

  11. I’m sure she’ll treasure it, Christine – it’s a very thoughtful gift. A creative way to use those leftover yarn bits, too! (I’m going to save this for future reference.) ❤

  12. Thank you everyone!

  13. I am joining the clamor of approval for your creation, Christine 🙂 I have a tried and true simple knit pattern dishcloth that has been my go to pattern for 40+ years…but both the colors and stitch pattern of your cloth lure me to see if I can duplicate it! Thanks for posting your pattern!!

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