We set out to make the most classic, heirloom hand towel imaginable, and our Heel Stitch Hand Towel delivers with its they-don’t-make-them-like-they-used-to feel. Conjuring up big farmhouse tables, copper pots, and claw foot tubs, it would be right at home in simpler times.

Heel Stitch Hand Towel | Purl Soho

If you know your way around knitting socks, you might recognize that this same slip stitch is often employed for the heels. “Heel stitch” is stunningly simple, plus it adds cushion and durability… great for heels and hand towels, too!

Heel Stitch Hand Towel | Purl Soho

Our Field Linen is perfectly kindred for this pattern. Made from 100% linen, it creates a fabric that’s fine, absorbent, and rugged. Its beauty makes hand-drying a wonderfully subtle act of appreciation. And as is suitable for an heirloom knit, it only improves with age, getting softer and softer with each wash and use.

Heel Stitch Hand Towel | Purl Soho

Designed for Purl Soho by Jake Canton.

Share your progress + connect with the community by tagging your pics with #PurlSoho, #PurlSohoBusyHands, #PurlSohoHeelStitchHandTowel, and #PurlSohoFieldLinen. We can’t wait to see what you make!


Heel Stitch Hand Towel | Purl Soho
  • 2 skeins of Purl Soho’s Field Linen, 100% linen. Each skein is 295 yards/ 100 grams; approximately 443 yards required. We used the color Natural Flax.
  • US 3 (3.25 mm), straight or 16- or 24-inch circular needles
  • If using straight needles: Two US 3 double pointed needles for I-Cord


32 stitches and 48 rows = 4 inches in stitch pattern


Finished Dimensions: 15 inches wide x 25 inches long


Slip Stitches

Slip all stitches purlwise.

Stitch Multiple

This pattern works over any odd multiple of stitches.


Cast on 121 stitches using a basic Long Tail Cast-On.

Row 1 (wrong side): Slip 1 (see Notes) with yarn in front (wyif), purl to last stitch, slip 1 with yarn in front.

Row 2 (right side): K1, *slip 1 with yarn in back (wyib), k1, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 25 inches from cast-on edge, ending with Row 1.

Bind Off (right side): K1, *slip 1 wyib, slip first stitch over, k1, slip first stitch, over, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2, leaving 3 stitches on right needle.

Make I-Cord

With the remaining 3 stitches, work an I-Cord for 3 inches, working the last row as follows…

Last Row: K1, k2tog, pass first stitch over the second stitch and off the right needle. Cut yarn, leaving an 8-inch tail and pull through remaining stitch.

Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle. Make a loop with the I-cord and weave the tail into the fabric of the Hand Towel at the base of the I-cord, then weave it through the looped I-cord, and back into the fabric of the Hand Towel.

Weave in the remaining ends and block as desired.

Heel Stitch Hand Towel | Purl Soho