Monday, October 8, 2007

more (sort of) concentric squares

via email, from Keren: elizabeth's blanket reminded me that i want to learn how to do that striped square thing you were working on last year. I think your intention was to make it into a belt if you know what I'm talking about. Can you teach me how to do that?

I do, actually, remember what she's talking about and remember how it became yet another thing I started making for myself that I never finished. But the squares she mentions, which are mitered squares, are a neat little trick that I thought everyone on the blog would appreciate. (Except for maybe Samir, since I don't know if you can crochet them.)

The basic idea behind the technique is that you cast on a certain number of stitches and then continue decreasing in the middle so that the cast-on edge is pulled to create two sides of a square. Here's how you'd do a sample square:
Cast on 25 stitches loosely.
Row 1: Knit 24, purl 1
Row 2: Slip 1 stitch as if to knit (just move the stitch onto the right needle without actually knitting it), knit 10, slip 1 stitch, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over the last knit stitch, knit 10, purl 1.
Knit 2 together:

Pass slipped stitch over:

Row 3: Knit to the last stitch, purl 1
Row 4: As row 2 except knit 9
Row 5 (and all future odd rows until row 23): As row 3
Row 6: As row 2 except knit 8
Row 8: As row 2 except knit 7
Row 10: As row 2 except knit 6
Row 12: As row 2 except knit 5
Row 14: As row 2 except knit 4
Row 16: As row 2 except knit 3
Row 18: As row 2 except knit 2
Row 20: As row 2 except knit 1
Row 22: As row 2 except knit 0
Row 23: Slip 1 stitch, knit 1, purl 1
Row 24: Slip 1 stitch, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over. You will only have one stitch left. Cut the yarn and pull the tail through this stitch but do not pull very tight.

To attach the squares to each other, you use the last stitch on the first square as your first stitch, you pick up 11 stitches along the top edge of square, pick up the corner stitch and then cast on 12 stitches. You should probably use the cable cast on, which is decribed in S'n'B. You then have 25 stitches cast on and are ready to start again. (You can also pick up stitches on other sides of the square if you want to make something other than a long strip of squares.)

You can do a variety of striped patterns: for example, to do a 2 color stripe, you'd alternate between colors every 2 rows. (You can just pull the yarn along the side rather than cutting and restarting it to limit the number of times that you have to weave in ends.) When doing so, I suggest knitting the first row after picking up and casting on in Color A and then switching to Color B for rows 2 and 3, then back to A for 4 and 5, etc., etc. For more ideas about mitered squares, see Vivian Høxbro's Domino Knitting. I'm happy to loan it out if anyone is interested.

Here are some abbreviations Keren should no longer be afraid to see in patterns, because if she's tried out this square, she's done them all:
k 1 = knit 1
p 1 = purl 1
sl 1 = slip 1 stitch
sl 1 kwise = slip 1 stitch as if to knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
psso = pass slipped stitch over
CO = cast on
BO = bind off


kzwick said...

Thanks HEB. I think these are cool, and they're going to be my next project. The instructions are detailed, but we'll see if I can understand them. I'm sure I'll have questions as I get started.

Elizabeth said...

I love these squares (though I question their concentricity), but more than that......instructional photos!? Awesomeness.

CH said...

I think what Keren really wants is for somebody to just speak the directions to her while she is knitting.

kzwick said...

CH, that's exactly what I want. It's the only way I've ever learned any knitting project. My success depends entirely on my ability to have someone help me when "something bad happens."