If you like to keep a few ideas around for inexpensive homemade gifts – and you’re a knitter – then I think you’ll like this pattern for a knit towel topper.
And even if you’re not using it as a gift, this is a nice pattern to have in your stash for using up leftover yarns and for making your own handy towels to hang up in the kitchen.
This pattern is my adaptation of an “oldie but goodie” pattern I cut out of a magazine many years ago. In fact my original pattern is old enough that the instructions for creating holes in the towels for your beginning stitches said to use an ice pick.
I don’t know about you, but I ain’t got no ice pick 🙂
The original pattern also had you cutting your towel in half and sewing the top with seam binding (ain’t got any of that either!).
So instead, I’ve modernized my old pattern to use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches, and I don’t cut the towel in half anymore either. I found it was just as easy to fold the towel in half and pick up the stitches through the double layer of towel. This saves the time and effort of cutting and sewing the towel, AND it gives you a nice double layer towel when you’re actually using it to wipe your hands.
Another nice modern twist? Dish towels from the dollar store work the best! You need a towel that has a loose enough weave so you can poke through to pick up your stitches, and the dish towels from the dollar store usually work perfectly.
I also find that some of my older, basic, knitting worsted type yarns in my leftover stash work best for this pattern too. They’re not quite as stretchy as some of the newer, softer yarns.
Picking Up The Stitches to Begin Your Project
The only slightly tedious part of this pattern is picking up the stitches on the top of the towel so you can begin knitting. I adapted my old pattern to use a few less stitches to make my new version a little easier. Here’s how I do it.
I fold my towel in half. (It can be helpful to pin the edges of the towel too to keep things in place).
I use 42 stitches to begin this pattern, so I figure out how I will space out my 42 stitches evenly along the top of the towel. I do not pick up stitches at the very edges of the towel in the edge binding. It’s usually too hard to poke through that area.
I use a crochet hook to poke through the towel and pull the yarn through (from the back to the front). I usually use my size F crochet hook although the size of the hook doesn’t matter too much.
I then pull one more stitch through the loop with my crochet hook (as if to single crochet). I then transfer that loop onto my knitting needle. I proceed in this way across the top of the towel, working from right to left, until I have all 42 stitches on my needle.
Update Oct, 2018: A reader shared that a bead reamer can also be a good tool for poking holes in your towels. I gave it a try and it works very well! This is a tool you can often find in craft stores in the beading area, and it is normally used for clearing out the holes in beads for easier stringing.
In addition to the photos above, I thought it might be helpful to see what I’m doing, so I made my very first ever video tutorial for this blog! Using this function of my camera was all new to me, and it quickly dawned on me that you really, really need a tripod if you are going to take videos, which I didn’t have. But anyway, here’s my best effort at a video!
I’ve also adapted my pattern to include two options for the top portion of this pattern. You can either make a longer tab with a buttonhole that’s intended to hang over a bar or handle – OR – there’s a shorter top version that works better if you want to use the buttonhole to just stick over a drawer knob.
And once again, I’ve included a printable pdf of this pattern below too!
Knit Towel Topper
Click here for a printable pattern- – > Knit Towel Topper pdf printable pattern
You Will Need:
Size 7 Needles (U.S. Size)
Small amount of medium weight yarn (size 4)
Crochet hook for picking up beginning stitches (I use Size F Hook)
Button (if making the version to hang over a bar of handle)
To begin, fold your dish towel in half. Along the top folded edge you will pick up 42 stitches, through both layers of the towel. (You do not have to try to pick up stitches at the very edges of the towel in the edge binding as it is usually too hard to poke through that part of the material.)
To do this, begin at the right edge of the towel, and poke your crochet hook through both layers of the material, from front to back. Pull the yarn through to the front, making a loop. Then pull the yarn through that loop one more time, as if to single crochet. Transfer that loop to your knitting needle. Proceed this way across the towel, from right to left, until you have 42 stitches on your needle.
Row 1: P
(All odd numbered rows will be Purl rows until ribbing begins)
Row 2: K
Row 4: K
Row 6: *K 5, K 2 tog, Repeat from * across row (36 sts)
Row 8: *K 4, K 2 tog, Repeat from * across row (30 sts)
Row 10: *K3, K 2 tog, Repeat from * across row (24 sts)
Row 12: *K2, K 2 tog, Repeat from * across row (18 sts)
Row 14: *K1, K 2 tog, Repeat from * across row (12 sts)
Row 16: K 2 tog, K 3, K 2 tog, K 3, K 2 tog (9 sts)
Row 18: K 1, P 1 across row
Row 19: P 1, K 1 across row
Repeat these two rows until ribbing measure 3 inches. End on a wrong side row.
Next Row: K 1, P1, K1, Bind off 3 sts, Finish last stitches in row in ribbing
Next Row: P1, K1, P1, cast on 3 sts, P1, K1, P1 (buttonhole made)
Work 2 more rows in ribbing pattern, ending wrong side
Next Row: K 2 tog, rib 5, K 2 tog (7 sts)
Next Row: K 2 tog, rib 3, K 2 tog (5 sts)
Next Row: K 2 tog, K, K 2 tog (3 sts)
Bind off remaining 3 sts
= = = = = = = = = =
To make a shorter version with a buttonhole to put over a drawer knob:
After Row 19, do not knit the ribbing for 3 inches. Instead, just proceed with the pattern instructions to work the buttonhole and continue on to finish the pattern.
Here’s the link again for the printable pattern: Knit Towel Topper pdf printable pattern
Click here for – – > More of my knitting patterns