My Material Life

Another Weekend, Another Baby Wash Cloth

We’re going to have a bumper crop of babies around here very shortly; I attended my second Sunday baby shower in a row yesterday.  I didn’t intend to make anything for this shower gift, but I found some yarn I couldn’t resist while visiting Yarndogs with my friend Susan last week and I thought maybe I’d have enough time to knit what I call a baby lap robe before Sunday and well, you know how that goes.  It was just very wishful thinking.  But it got me in the mood to knit something, even if just another baby wash cloth like I knit for my niece, but didn’t tell you about yet.  I planned to finish at least two cloths to go with some tub toys and soap, but I spent too much time experimenting with and undoing my work to finish more than one cloth by the time of the shower.  I knit this one Saturday night.

I hope it didn’t look too lonely in that box.  I think I’ve got enough of that blue to make my friend another one before the baby comes.  Here’s the yarn I used …

It’s the same yarn (different color) and same pattern I used for my niece Cait’s cloth that you can see sitting under Henri two posts down.  With this blue cloth I tightened up the gauge a bit by using size 5 knitting needles.  The pattern is very simple and a little intriguing too.  I found it on the Bernat website a while back, but I don’t see it now so let me just tell you about it.  The cloth is basically a garter stitch square that you start and finish at two corners.  By simply making an increase in the second stitch of each row until you get the side length you want and after that, by knitting the third and fourth stitch together on each of the following rows until you get to the other corner, you both shape and create a border for your cloth.  Pretty neat, huh?  I chose the Be Sweet Bamboo from Green Planet Yarn because it seemed more washable and dryable than the organic cottons I originally set out to find.  In addition, it’s very soft and the label claims that it’s antibacterial.  I’m not sure what that means exactly, but it seems desirable in a washcloth, particularly one for a little baby.

To be a little more specific, I cast on 4 stitches of the Be Sweet Bamboo on my number 5 needles.  I knit the first row and for each following row I knit 1, increased 1 stitch in the next stitch, and knit to the end until I had 53 stitches on the needle. Then I knit 2 stitches, knit the next 2 together, and knit to the end of each succeeding row until I was left with 4 stitches.  I cast those off and wove in my ends.  This yields about a 7″ square cloth.

The yarn is actually so soft that I thought I’d try the same pattern with a stockinette stitch within the border and make the cloth even softer.  It was very soft and it looked lovely, but the angle at the corner was something less than 90 degrees which, quite simply, was a big problem.  It wouldn’t get me a square. And I decided that I didn’t want my solitary wash cloth to be oddly shaped, so I ripped it out.  I’ve got another baby to knit for and at least three more wash cloths I can make with my investment in the Be Sweet Bamboo, so I’m going to keep experimenting.  Then I think I’ll switch to baby booties.  They seem like they would be a huge pay-off for not a lot of work.  But the appeal of simply knitting a square is hard to beat.

Can I show you my gift boxes for these last two showers?  I purchased both of these at the Container Store as options for packaging Henri.

This is the box I used yesterday.  I decided to simply cover the lid with a solid Paper Source paper and make a lid handle with some ribbon I saved from a baby bedding purchase for Samantha years ago.  The stickers are Martha Stewart from Michael’s.  I love how things you collect from disparate places can come together like they were made for each other.  You just need to have a place for them so hopefully you will be able to find them when you need them.

This is the box I used for Henri.  I chose it because it resembles a cardboard animal carrier and I thought my niece would like it and it was just so easy and quick.  That little stork card came from one of my favorite Los Altos shops that is now closed.  Glad I picked it up when I did.


  1. lucygooserton

    What a lovely cloth! I would love to make some as I have 2 skeins of the Be Sweet Bamboo sitting right here! I’m such a beginning knitter and dont’ follow how the border is created? Haven’t quite got all the knitting lingo down, so any further (dumbed-down) specifics or directions would be fantastic and much appreciated! Looking forward to trying to replicate your beautiful work! Many thanks!

    • Thank you! This is a great beginning project. All you need to know is knit stitch, how to increase, how to decrease, and cast on and cast off of course. I increase by starting to knit as usual, but before slipping my stitch off the needle, I place my needle down through the back of the stitch I’m knitting and knit again. This creates two loops (instead of one) on your right-hand needle. You can look this up on the internet (I like knitting tips by Judy) or in books, etc. Decreasing is even easier, you just knit two stitches together by beginning your stitch by slipping your needle under two stitches instead of one. This creates one loop on your right-hand needle (instead of two). To knit the cloth, cast on 4 stitches. Knit all 4 stitches for your first row. For your second row, knit your first stitch, then make an increase in your second stitch and knit your remaining stitches until you get to the end of your row. Knit each successive row just like that second row until you end up with 53 stitches on your needle. Then you need to start decreasing. Do that by knitting your first two stitches of the next row as usual, but then knitting the next two stitches together. Then knit each stitch on the row as usual and knit each following row in the same way (knit 2, knit 2 tog, knit to end of row) until you end up with just 4 stitches on your needle. Cast off, weave in ends – you’re done! Hope that’s a little clearer. Have fun – Colleen

  2. lucygooserton

    WOW! Thank you for making it so clear – this really helps. I’m off to start it up right this minute! Thank you, thank you! I’ll let you know how it goes! – Best, Lucy

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