I first came across 'constructional' knitting in a magazine a couple of years ago; learning to make and join 'mitred' squares opened up a whole new world for me and I was quickly addicted! One of the chief bonuses is there are NO seams to sew up! :-)
I've included some of my square blankets in previous posts ( here and there for example ) but when I was asked by some members of our embryonic church crafting group to explain the technique I decided I needed to do something easy for people to follow! One of the activities we take part in is making blankets for charities worldwide; some of our more 'senior' knitters can only manage to knit the individual squares - these are then sewn up by those of us with more nimble fingers, as we'd like EVERYONE to be able to take part even if they're not able to cope with the growing weight of a blanket. Meanwhile, to save sewing-up, the more 'adventurous' amongst us asked me how to do the construction method.
So, without wishing to teach any of you experienced knitters out there how to 'suck eggs' (and I know there are other examples out there on the 'web) - here's my first attempt at a tutorial!
How to knit a mitred square
Mitred squares require an odd number of stitches. For this example I used 33 stitches.
Cast on 33 stitches.
1st row. K to last st; P1
2nd row. Sl 1, K to last st; P1
3rd row. Sl 1, K to middle 3 sts; (sl 1, K2tog, PSSO); K to last st; P1
4th row. Sl 1, K to last st; P1
Repeat 3rd and 4th rows until 3 sts remain; after final 4th row K remaining 3 sts tog.
Now you have completed the first square. Well done! Draw yarn through loop and cut end.
To start the 2nd square, pick up and knit 17 sts down one side of 1st square:
Then continue and cast on 16 more sts. You should now have 33 sts on needle:
Next row: K to last st.; P1
Now continue to rep 3rd and 4th rows as on previous square until completed:
Continue to add squares until desired width is achieved. You will see that the mid-row decreases create a diagonal ‘line’.
Now to create a new row of squares on top!
Cast on 16 sts, then pick up 17 sts along edge of block, like this:
Again, you’ll have 33 sts on needle.
Next row: K to last st.; P1
Continue 3rd and 4th row repeats as before and complete the square:
So, 1st square was Blue; 2nd square was Pink; 3rd square was Green. To make the 4th square, this time you’ll be picking ALL your 33 sts, like this:
From the top left hand side of the green square, pick up 16 sts; pick up 1 st at the corner of the blue square:
then continue to pick up a further 16 sts along the adjacent side of the pink square.
You should now have 33 sts on needle. K to last st; P1. Continue as before, repeating the original 3rd and 4th row:
If you continue in this manner, always adding squares right to left, you will see that the diagonal ‘lines’ run all in the same direction.
If you want to create a diagonal zig-zag with each new row of squares you just need to alter the direction you add the squares:
This time you’ll be placing your squares left to right. See pic. above. Start picking up stitches from the right hand side of the square below (purple) and pick up 17 sts, then cast on a further 16. Now you have your 33 sts in total, carry on and complete the square.
Repeat the process to add a new square – start from the top right of the green square and pick up 17 sts. Note: the 17th stitch will be picked up from the corner of the square below (purple, in this case), then continue to pick up a further 16, making 33 sts. in total.
Can you see the change of diagonal direction? Just alternate between these two methods for each row of squares and you’ll see the zigzag appear!
There - I hope this explains the technique easily! Picking up and knitting stitches for each new square saves the laborious procedure of sewing the squares together - and if you turn your work over you'll see it also gives a nice smooth finish!
The only dilemma with creating blankets in this way is - which colour shall I use next.....! ;-)