Mitered knitting is a fun way to make beautiful square and square-based projects
A few years back I wrote about the joys of knitting on the bias, which is a special way of knitting that produces fabric diagonally, rather than vertically or horizontally. Today I want to introduce you to a different kind of diagonal knitting that happens to be my favorite way to knit squares: Mitered knitting.
Mitered knitting is almost like bias knitting in reverse. In most bias knitting patterns, you start with one stitch, increase your way to the full width, and then decrease back down to one stitch. In mitered knitting, you start by casting on stitches that will ultimately be two full sides of the square (or rectangle, in some variants of this basic pattern), and then you gradually decrease until you’re left with one stitch.
Below you’ll see some squares that I’ve knitted for my local prayer shawl group that used the mitered knitting technique. (Pardon the wonkyness — these haven’t been blocked yet!) The striped side is where I cast on for each of these squares. Partway through each of them, I switched from striping to solid color to create the square in the corner.
You’ll probably notice the diagonal line that runs through the center of these squares. That might be one of my favorite aspects of mitered knitting — that straight line looks so sharp.
My other favorite thing about mitered knitting is the way the number of stitches left to knit decreases as the fabric itself grows. That does wonders for my psychological state as I progress through my project. (Have I mentioned recently how much I love knitting as therapy?)
A Quick Mitered Knitting Tutorial
You’ll need one special tool — a stitch marker — and one special technique — slip, knit two together, pass the slipped stitch over (often abbreviated as S,K2tog, PSSO) to learn mitered knitting.
If you want to try mitered knitting for yourself quickly, without having to dig through an extended tutorial, here’s a quick set of instructions.
Cast on an odd number of stitches. Need a number? Let’s say… 33.
1: Knit all stitches.
2: Knit until one stitch before the center stitch of the row (so, using the number 33, you’ll knit 15); slip this stitch, knit the next 2 together, then pass the slipped stitch over the two you knit together; slip the previously-worked stitch to the left-hand needle and place a stitch marker; slip this stitch back to the right-hand needle; knit to the end.
3: Knit all stitches.
4: Knit until one stitch before the marker, slip, remove marker, K2tog, PSSO, slide stitch to left needle, replace marker, slide stitch back to right needle, knit to the end.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’re left with 3 stitches after the second row. Then knit all 3 stitches together, cut the yarn, and pull through. Weave in ends, and you’re done!
More Mitered Knitting — Patterns Galore
Hooked on mitered knitting now? Or simply intrigued and want more? See below for a smorgasbord of patterns featuring mitered knitting!
Shadow Magic: This fascinating pattern comes from the great Frankie Brown. This is a pillow pattern that creates the illusion of shadows beneath the individual mitered squares. This is a great way to use up leftover yarn.
Mitered Square Throw and Pillow: No hocus-pocus here, just a simple pattern combining mitered squares to create a throw blanket and a matching pillow.
Itchy Scratchy Rug Recipe: From the files of “Nicole wonders why she didn’t think of that”: This ingenious designer found the perfect way to use up itchy, scratchy wool that no one would ever want to wear next to their skin — a rug! I imagine you could really use any yarn that you’d feel is too scratchy or stiff or otherwise uncomfortable for clothes or accessories.
Mighty Miters Handbag: What a fun way to use and display all the leftovers of yarn you’ve loved in the past — knit them together into a handbag!
Mitered Scarf Pattern: This is one of Lion Brand’s most beautiful patterns; it features mitered squares combined in an interesting diamond-and-triangle design. (Lion Brand is in the midst of a site redesign; if the link in the title doesn’t work for you, this link should.)
Shaded Mitered Hat: Mitered knitting isn’t restricted to flat projects. Here’s a beautiful, fun hat pattern that uses mitered knitting in the round!
Knitted Patchwork Recipe: I’m sold on this beautiful way to put together your leftover yarn into a quilt-like design. I think I’ve found my next blanket project (after you finish your UFOs, easy there Nicole)!
Mitered Hanging Towel: This will forever be my favorite hand towel pattern. It makes a wonderful gift! These (right) are the towels I knitted for a friend for her bridal shower.
God’s Eye Blanket: Another blanket design, this one uses mitered knitting to create blocks reminiscent of the “God’s Eye” crafts I did in Girl Scouts (and many of you probably made these crafts at some point growing up!). Another great use for leftover yarn.
Mitered Diamond Poncho: This is so clever yet so easy! It’s basically a square made out of mitered squares with a collar added and a little sewing to create a poncho. Beautiful and creative and I want to make one now! (Someone please teach me to control myself…)
Mitered Phone Cozy: This one feels even more like a “must make immediately” because my daughters have been begging me for new cell phone purses for a while… anyway, here’s a fun and quick way to use mitered knitting to create an utterly practical project. If you have beautiful leftover yarn that you’d like to knit into quick gifts or even for fundraising projects, this pattern could be just what you need.
So what are you waiting for? Have some fun with mitered knitting!