The Magic of Miters

Creative Knitting - - CONTENTS - BY LISA M. BARNES

By Lisa M. Barnes

What are mitered squares? Mitered squares are a type of mo­du­lar knit­ting that takes its in­spi­ra­tion from the world of wood­work­ing. Mi­ter­ing means “to bevel the ends of,” and a miter joint is cre­ated when the ends of two pieces of wood are cut at an an­gle so that they meet to cre­ate a corner. Usu­ally the corner is a 90-de­gree an­gle, which is cre­ated by two 45-de­gree an­gled cuts. Great ex­am­ples are the frames of the win­dows and doors in your home.

In knit­ting, a mitered square is cre­ated when stitches are con­tin­u­ously de­creased in the cen­ter of a row (the miter “joint”), pulling in the sides of the fab­ric to form right an­gles. This is done by cast­ing on the num­ber of stitches you need to cre­ate two sides of the square and work­ing de­creases in the cen­ter on des­ig­nated rows. As the to­tal num­ber of stitches is de­creased, the two sides of the square are pulled to­ward each other. By the time a cou­ple of stitches re­main, you will have cre­ated a right an­gle and formed the op­po­site corner of the square. It’s like magic!

Cre­at­ing Mitered Squares

A mitered square is cre­ated by work­ing de­creases in the cen­ter of the row on des­ig­nated rows. The de­creases can be paired sin­gle de­creases on ei­ther side of the cen­ter, or a cen­tered dou­ble de­crease. The paired de­creases are usu­ally worked as an ssk with the two stitches just right of the cen­ter to cre­ate a left-lean­ing de­crease, and a k2­tog with the two stitches just left of cen­ter to cre­ate a right-

lean­ing de­crease. These de­creases use a to­tal of four stitches. You would cast on an even num­ber of stitches if work­ing de­creases next to each other, or an odd num­ber of stitches if work­ing a cen­ter stitch in be­tween the de­creases.

A cen­tered dou­ble de­crease (CDD: slip two stitches as if to knit two to­gether, knit next stitch, pass the two slipped stitches over) is worked over a to­tal of three stitches, so you would cast on an odd num­ber of stitches to cre­ate these squares.

Garter stitch is worked in all knit stitches on ev­ery row and has a “square” gauge, which makes it an easy stitch pat­tern to use for mitered squares. A “square” gauge means that the width of one stitch equals the height of two rows (in this case, one ridge).

There­fore, to cre­ate a mitered square in garter stitch, the de­crease rows are worked ev­ery other row to cre­ate a square block.

Ba­sic Mitered Square Direc­tions Garter Stitch With Paired De­creases

Cast on 10 sts, pm, cast on 10 sts—20 sts. Row 1: Knit. Row 2 (RS, dec): Knit to 2 sts be­fore marker, ssk, slip marker, k2­tog, knit to end of row—2 sts dec. Rep Rows 1 and 2 un­til 2 sts rem. Bind off.

Garter Stitch With Cen­tered Dou­ble De­creases

Cast on 21 sts. Row 1: Knit. Row 2 (RS, dec): K9, CDD, knit to end of row—19 sts. Row 3: Knit. Row 4: K8, CDD, knit to end of row—17 sts.

Con­tinue in this man­ner, al­ter­nat­ing one row of all knit stitches with one de­crease row, and work­ing one stitch fewer be­fore the de­crease on each sub­se­quent de­crease row, un­til one stitch re­mains.

Cut the yarn, then fas­ten off.

In­cor­po­rat­ing Stitch Pat­terns Into Mitered Squares

Now, what if you want to cre­ate a square in a pat­tern like seed stitch, which is cre­ated when sin­gle knits and purls al­ter­nate hor­i­zon­tally and ver­ti­cally? Since seed stitch is also a fairly “square pat­tern” (where 1 stitch = 2 rows), you can start with the Square 2 Garter Stitch pat­tern above. Then you will in­cor­po­rate the de­creases into the cen­ter of the stitch pat­tern. And to cre­ate a nice di­ag­o­nal miter “join,” work the cen­ter stitch as a purl on each wrong-side row.

Seed Stitch Cen­tered Square

Cast on 19 sts. Row 1 (WS): [K1, p1] 4 times, p3, [k1, p1] 4 times. Row 2: [P1, k1] 4 times, CDD, [p1, k1] 4 times—17 sts. Row 3: [K1, p1] 4 times, p1, [k1, p1] 4 times. Row 4: [P1, k1] 3 times, p1, CDD, k1, [p1, k1] 3 times—15 sts. Row 5: [K1, p1] 4 times, p1, [k1, p1] 3 times. Row 6: [P1, k1] 3 times, CDD, [p1, k1] 3 times—13 sts. Row 7: [K1, p1] 3 times, p1, [k1, p1] 3 times. Row 8: [P1, k1] 2 times, p1, CDD, k1, [p1, k1] 2 times—11 sts. Row 9: [K1, p1] 3 times, p1, [k1, p1] 2 times. Row 10: [P1, k1] 2 times, CDD, [p1, k1] 2 times—9 sts. Row 11: [K1, p1] 2 times, p1, [k1, p1] 2 times. Row 12: P1, k1, p1, CDD, k1, p1, k1—7 sts. Row 13: K1, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1. Row 14: P1, k1, CDD, p1, k1—5 sts. Row 15: K1, p2, k1, p1. Row 16: P1, CDD, k1—3 sts. Row 17: K1, p2. Row 18: CDD—1 st. Cut the yarn and fas­ten off. Most other “square” stitch pat­terns can be used to make a mitered square. If the ra­tio of stitches to rows is 1 stitch = 2 rows, then you can ad­just the knits and purls within the pat­tern just as we did in the Seed Stitch square.

Mitered squares can also be worked in stock­inette stitch by work­ing a row of purl stitches on al­ter­nate rows and ad­just­ing the num­ber of de­creases. Stock­inette stitches are wider than they are tall, and a stock­inette stitch pat­tern has more rows than stitches per inch. There­fore, in or­der to make a square block in stock­inette stitch, the ra­tio of de­creases needs to be ad­justed so that there are three stitches de­creased ev­ery other row.

Stock­inette Stitch Ba­sic Square

Cast on 24 sts. Row 1 and all WS rows: Purl. Row 2: K9, ssk, [k2­tog] twice, k9—21 sts. Row 4: K8, [ssk] twice, k2­tog, k7—18 sts. Row 6: K6, ssk, [k2­tog] twice, k6—15 sts. Row 8: K5, [ssk] twice, k2­tog, k4—12 sts. Row 10: K3, ssk, [k2­tog] twice, k3—9 sts. Row 12: K2, [ssk] twice, k2­tog, k1—6 sts. Row 14: Ssk, [k2­tog] twice—3 sts. Row 16: Sk2p—1 st.

Cut the yarn and fas­ten off.

Stock­inette Stitch With Cen­tered Dou­ble De­creases

Cast on 21 sts. Row 1 and all WS rows: Purl. Row 2: K7, ssk, CDD, k9—18 sts. Row 4: K7, CDD, k2­tog, k6—15 sts. Row 6: K4, ssk, CDD, k6—12 sts. Row 8: K4, CDD, k2­tog, k3—9 sts. Row 10: K1, ssk, CDD, k3—6 sts. Row 12: K1, CDD, k2­tog—3 sts. Row 14: CDD—1 st. Cut the yarn and fas­ten off. You may be won­der­ing if stitch pat­terns such as lace can be adapted to cre­ate mitered squares—yes! As above, you will need to iden­tify if the back­ground of the lace is worked in garter or stock­inette stitch and ap­ply the cor­rect de­crease ra­tio ac­cord­ingly. Ad­di­tion­ally, you will need to in­cor­po­rate the mitered de­creases in the cen­ter of the stitch pat­tern while keep­ing the lace in­creases paired with the de­creases to main­tain the cor­rect stitch count.

Play­ing With Color & Tex­ture

Mitered squares can be made in a va­ri­ety of col­or­work tech­niques to cre­ate ex­tra piz­zazz in your project. Try play­ing with garter stripes!

Color-block squares can be made by work­ing mul­ti­ple rows in one color, switch­ing to a sec­ond color for a few rows, and so on. Or try two dif­fer­ent col­ors on each half of one row. You can also use gra­di­ents and var­ie­gated yarns to stun­ning ef­fect!

Mitered squares are a great way to use up left­over bits of yarn and can be a fun way to play with tex­tured yarns. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to use yarns of the same weight to­gether in one square to main­tain the same stitch gauge.

Let your imag­i­na­tion go wild and en­joy play­ing with the magic of mitered squares!

As more de­creases are worked, sides are pulled to­ward each other.

The fi­nal few rows form the top corner.

As de­creases are worked, first corner is formed.

Cast on stitches for two sides of the square.

Seed Stitch Cen­tered Square

Stock­inette Stitch Ba­sic Square

The photo on the left shows the tra­di­tional “pub­lic” side of a piece with garter stripes. But it’s fun to play with us­ing the “wrong” side fac­ing, which cre­ates a more im­pres­sion­is­tic, graphic de­sign.

Stock­inette Stitch Cen­tered Dou­ble De­crease Square

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