Thinking about mitered squares.

I am not a monogamous yarner. I am never knitting only one thing. I am never working on only one fiber craft.

Right now, I have Firebolt on the needles. I have an experimental project featuring a skein of the Three Irish Girls’ Adorn sock yarn in the colorway Kaleidoscope. There is some merino-and-silk blend started on my spinning wheel. There isn’t any crochet going at the moment, but my fingers are itching for something with shelly clusters of stitches like Catching On, otherwise known as the Virus shawl.

I am always going to have more than one project going at a time.

And so it should come as no surprise that, while I am still plunking away on Firebolt, my mind is wandering elsewhere.

Thank goodness Dale’s new truck came with a yarn holder!

Recently, my friend Kate finished a gorgeous baby blanket based on mitered squares. As I watched her knit, it occurred to me: I have never done mitered squares!

I am not a big Pinterest person, but it seemed the likeliest place to get some ideas. I poked around there for a while, looking at both knitting and crochet ideas. (Those are links to my respective boards.) While I like the idea of colorful mitered granny squares, I decided to just make a go of it with knitting.

I pulled out my US 6 straight needles, which I hardly ever use, and my cone of lovely speckled cotton yarn. (I’m pretty sure it’s Peaches & Creme, but I cannot remember the colorway.) Not sure of which technique I’d like best, I said what the hell and made three different kinds!

They are all based on the same concept, though:

Cast on ever-so-many stitches. Knit a row. Knit another row, but this time, decrease by two stitches somewhere in the middle. Repeat these two rows and watch as the ends of the cast-on row magically levitate upward to become the corners of a square—or diamond, really. When no stitches (well, one, two, or three) remain, break the yarn, run it through these last stitches, and cinch it up. Tada! A mitered square!

Mitered Square #1

For this one, I cast on an even number of stitches, in my case twenty.  I placed a stitch marker smack-dab in the middle so that I had ten stitches on either side. On the decrease row, I did a k2tog right before the stitch marker and then a ssk right after.

When I had four stitches left (two on either side of the marker), I did the decreases, and then I ran the yarn through the last two stitches.

This is what I ended up with:



Mitered Square #2

 This time, I cast on twenty-one stitches for an odd number. Instead of doing right- and left-leaning decreases, I did a centered double decrease across the middle three stitches—slip two as if to k2tog, knit one, pass slipped stitches over knit stitch. An extra tweak with this one is that I purled the center stitch. No stitch marker was really necessary because the stockinette “seam” down the middle was so obvious.

When three stitches remained, I did the centered double decrease, broke the yarn, and pulled it through the last stitch.

Here is what I got.




And yep, I sure did forget to purl the center stitch on the wrong side once. Was it worth fixing on this little swatch? Nope.

Mitered Square #3
This one was meant to be the best of both worlds, but honestly, I think it made it a little unnecessarily complicated. I cast on twenty-one and did the k2tog and ssk decreases on either side of the center stitch, which I left alone, except for purling on the wrong side. See? It’s like #1 and #2 combined.

The extra weirdness happened when I had three stitches left. I couldn’t do the decreases on either side of center, and I hadn’t been doing the sl2k1psso business, so it didn’t seem right. So I just ran the yarn through the last three stitches, but in hindsight, the centered double decrease probably would have been fine.

Here’s the final product.




There you have it! Three mitered squares. In case you feel like you have been seeing the same square over and over, here are all three, side by side.

Despite my flub-up on #2, I think it is my favorite. Something tells me that this is how mitered squares are supposed to look. If I come up with a project, that is definitely the technique I’ll use. It looks the cleanest, and the decrease happens in (kind of) one step. I just have to remember to always purl that center stitch on the wrong side!

I have no idea what I would do with these guys. Joining them together is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish—one I’m not sure I’m interested in! If I did take a whack at it, I’m pretty sure I would use a yarn with long color changes because I’m not about that weaving-in-ends life.

In the meantime, I can kind of imagine a dishcloth made from a single mitered square. Maybe fifty-one cast-on stitches?

The thing I like most about these is that the rows get shorter as I go. Right now, Firebolt (a crescent shawl) is growing, growing, growing with every repeat. I enjoy the pattern, but there is definitely the fatigue of increasingly long rows. With these squares, the longest row in the cast-on row, and things just get zoomier and zoomier from there.

That’s an experience I could get used to!


One thought on “Thinking about mitered squares.

  1. I just did an entry on how to make one of these! Although I didn’t reference Home Improvement and Binford Tools in mine, I went for Norm Abram and The New Yankee Workshop. Method #2 is normally how I go about mine, and I love how the stockinette column goes up the spine of the square. (I can also do rectangles, Ls, and large squares in the same method.)


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