it looks like a star stitch. there are several "star" "daisy" etc stitches. some are worked over 2 rows/round, some are worked in 1 round.
R1 (k1 or more selvage) ~K3, K3tog,
R2 (k1 or more selvage) ~purl 3 (P, YO, P) in first stitch, P3 together
(in the round, its K3tog, K3 (K, Yo, K) in next stitch)
OR (a variation)
R1: (k1 or more selvage) K3, then K3tog,but don't drop stitch off needle, YO, and knit into the 3 stitches again (so you have 3 stitches created at the same time you are doing a K3tog decrease)
R2:(k1 or more selvage) P3tog, but don't let the stitched drop off the needle, YO and purl into the 3 stitches again.
When worked in the round, it is:
R1: K3, K3tog (foundation round)
R2: K3tog, K, YO, K into 1 stitch,
R3: K, YO, K into stitch, K3tog,
(repeat Rows 2 and 3)
the basic element is:
on one row (round) k3 tog,
you then IMMEDATELY make increase (k, yo, k) into the 3 tog, or you do it on the next round--
(the bold V are the K,YO, K in a single stitch )
These stitches are a PITA to do in cotton (as a over szed swatch/facecloth) --so its best to swatch in a wool (or wool like fiber)
there are other variations--you can look in stitch dictionaries for star and/or daisy stitch.