Knitting Domino Squares

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Modular Knitting Shapes
Written by Jean Lampe

Learn just how easy it is to take the mystery out of mitering. Follow our simple rules and helpful instructions for success.

iters arc usually worked in knitwear to produce a slope, either inside the fabric or at the edges of two pieces that are later joined together. For example, we use miters in V necks or for the corners produced for square necklines, socks, cardigan bands, shawls, blankets, or afghans,glove and mitten fourchettes, hat crowns, and so many more projects. Miters are made by either using decreases or increases, depending on the desired shape.

This article, however, deals with the au courant phase of mitered knitting that is often referred to as modular or domino knitting. While there are many shapes in this form of mitered knitting, one favorite is the square. The Rainbow Blanket on page 36 and the Mitered Afghan and Pillows on pages 56-57 all use this technique.

I'll use the square as a basic example because its simple to make, easy to use when designing, and very effective. Garter stitch is the most common mitered knitting stitch, but you also can use stockinette stitch, lace, slip stitches, or a combination of all, as well as multiple colors, and mixtures of different yarns; there are many choices to consider once you master the basics.

basic square

Swatch A, opposite top, is our basic mitered garter-stitch square and is shown as a schematic as Figure 1. I used a sport-weight yarn on size 5 (3.75 mm) needles and cast on 35 stitches, then followed the Basic Garter-Stitch Square Instructions, page 60.

OQ Mitered squares have a few ground rules to consider:

Work with an uneven number of stitches.

^ ^ 2 Choose a cast-on method and selvedge 1 • stitches that make it easy for you to pick up new stitches and create the next square.

iWm 0 Use a double-decrease method over the 3

center stitches.

. | Always pick up stitches with the right side of work facing.

Pick up both stitch loops when picking up stitches. i ^ I r jQ Remember that gauge establishes size.

in-selvedge sbibches tr first stitch is used as a selvedge stitch, ping the first stitch in each row produces elongated stitch, which is stretched over .rows. By paying attention to the method d to slip the first stitch, you can create a ¿tain selvedge, which makes it even easier to k up stitches when making a new square, the basic pattern, I used a simple version chain-selvedge stitches by slipping the t stitch as if to purl (purlwise) on every i (except for the first row after the cast or after picking up stitches). There is variety of selvedge-stitch methods to se from; if you have a favorite method, all means use it.

double decreases ost knitters know more than one double-•ase technique, and each produces slighdy different appearance. You may 'er the basic k3tog; k3tog through the ck loop; si 1, k2tog, psso; or the SSSK. All of these methods will decrease 2 stitches. My preferred method for the double ;ase is the centered double decrease D). I like the vertical line of knit stitches method produces and often use it as part ■my design. To make the GDI), work across jie row to the 3 center stitches, slip the first 2 hes together knitwise (the same as when inga k2tog decrease, but don't knit them her), knit the next stitch from the left e, then insert the left needle tip through th slipped stitches from left to right and lift them over the knit stitch, then drop both ped sts from die needle.

bhe lasb sDidch

If you're making a sample square or the last square in the design, cut the yarn and fasten off by inserting the yarn tail through the stitch and pull tightly to close. However, if

Figure 1

Basic Garter-Stitch Square

Knitting Squares

When using the CDD in Garter stitch, the center stitch must be purled on the wrong-side row in order to maintain the vertical line of knit stitches on the right side of the work.


As in all knitting, gauge will determine the size. To show you what I mean, Swatch A and Swatch B, right, both use a 35-stitch base and have the same number of rows. However, you'll notice that Swatch B is considerably larger. That's because the yarn is thicker and I used larger needles, thereby creating a different gauge. If these two swatches were placed side by side, they ^ wouldn't match up very well. ^fl

Gauge is always important but especially so when using stash yarns in mitered knitting. Its * easier to join the squares and to establish consistency in the \ shape of the knitted item if the \ squares are all the same size. This \ means the yarns \

you have chosen ^^^ should work up M

to the same gauge or your squares will be different sizes and very hard to assemble.

suuatjch b

Bigger needles and thicker yarn make a bigger swatch even though the number of stitches is the same as in Swatch A.



Cast on an uneven number of stitches (35 sts were used for the swatches shown). Row 1 (WS): K to the 3 center sts and place a marker (pm) before the first of these 3 sts and pm after the 3rd st; then knit to end of row. Note: Do not slip the first stitch on Row 1; the chain-selvedge stitches always begin with the second row in this pattern.

Row 2 (RS): With yarn in front (wyif), si 1 st pwise, take yarn to back between the needles, k to the first marker, slip marker (sm), work the CDD as follows: si next 2 sts tog kwise from left to right needle, k 1 (the next stitch on the left needle), lift both si sts at the same time over the k stitch and drop both from the needle (only the center st remains), sm, k to end of row. Note: You will have 2 fewer sts after working this row.

The CDD is worked on every RS row, as Row 2 is repeated. Row 3 (WS): Wyif, si 1 st pwise, take yarn to back, k to the center st., sm, p1, sm, kto end of row. Note: If you've decided to use a different double-decrease method, you won't need to purl the center stitch on the WS rows unless the stitch must appear as a knit stitch on the RS.

Now move the stitch markers away from the center stitch by one stitch on each side. That means move the first marker one stitch to the right and the second marker one stitch to the left. You now have

3 sts in the center again, with a marker placed before and after.

The markers are moved outward on each side of the center stitch after every WS row is finished. Row 4: Rep Row 2.

Continue working Rows 3 and

4 until 3 sts remain. Remove markers.

Next row (WS): S11 pwise. p1, k1. Next row (RS): SI first 2 sts tog kwise, k1, lift both si sts over the k stitch-1 st rem. (See Figure 1 and Swatch A on page 59)

the next square is worked with the same yarn and color, or another yarn or color, don't cut the yarn; use the last stitch ot this square as the first stitch in the next square.

adding anodhen square

With RS of work facing, rotate the finished square to the right until the left side becomes the top edge, pick up stitches along the top edge (Figure 2, below).

Counting the last stitch of the previous swatch, pick up one stitch in each chain selvedge st. plus one stitch from the cast-on edge—you should have half the number o! stitches of the total needed plus I.)In our sample 35-stitch square, this total would be 18 sts.) Continuing from this point with the same needle, cast on the number o! stitches needed to complete the square. (In our sample, we cast on 17 sts here in order to complete our total of 35 sts.) Turn the work, and begin the square with Row I of the basic instructions. When the second square is finished, repeat the process until the panel has the desired number of squares or begin the next panel. For the sake oi brevity, we'll begin the second panel.

dhe second panel

With RS of finished panel facing upward, begin the second panel of squares by casting

Figure 2

Adding On


Cast on enough new stitches to complete the total required for another square.

on half the number of stitches minus 1. his is 17 sts in our sample.) Working the rig it edge of the first square in the t panel, pick up 1 st from the old cast-». then one stitch in each of the chain-idge sts along Square 1 to complete the tal of stitches (Figure 3a, below left). Turn the work and begin with Row of the basic pattern. When this swatch is finished, there are 3 attached squares Figure 3b, below center).

Ifyou rotate the group counterclockwise, voti have the base for a triangular shawl mire 3c, below right).

uses for mibened squares

Using the instructions for the basic square, you can create pillows, blankets, scarves, ;oles, shawls, pot holders or any square, ngular, or triangular item. To make iters with neckline or armhole shaping, aid small triangles to fill in between the uares and create the necessary shape. Depending on the shape required, these smaller pieces are made by picking up half the number of stitches and decreasing along one edge, or picking up the full number of stitches and working the center double

Figure 3a

Adding Square for the next column

C —

n o

^ co



<1) c


c o


O c/)


cl 3 =3 a


Q- O

o s

Cast on half the total required to make the new square, less one st.

Figure 3b

Figure 3c

3 joined squares rotated left

Figure 3c

3 joined squares rotated left

Domino Knitting

example, you can continue working in stripes to the end of the swatch, you could make the stripes wider by working 4 rows in each color; or work one color in narrow stripes and another color in wide stripes.

To visualize your finished squares before you begin knitting, work out a plan with graph paper and colored pencils. Or use a computer paint program to design your swatches. This is especially helpful when working with stash yarns because you can duplicate the colors in your stash to get ¿in idea of how your finished piece will look.

decreases until you have a half square with stitches remaining on the needle. The remaining stitches are bound off or used to add other knitting techniques such as ribbing, I-cord, trims, and so on.

adding colon

Swatch C, right, is the same basic pattern as Swatch A, with contrasting-color stripes added every 2 rows and repeated 4 dmes.When you Ye working with more than one color, don't cut the old yarn each time you use another color; simply carry the yarn not in use upward along the side edge. When the next 2 (or more) rows are finished, drop the old yarn, pick up the new yarn from under the old yarn, and begin knitting with the new color.

Notice that when you change colors the first stitch (the slipped st) in that row will be in the old color, and that's okay—this stitch is worked in the new color at the end of the next row. You don't want to break the chain selvedge sequence by knitting the first stitch with the new color.

Study the swatch and think about other options you have when adding color. For

Square 2

Square 1

Square 3

Knitting Counters Chain Style

Square 2

Square 1

Square 3

Advanced Domino Knitting

knitting tools

A Flexible straight needles B Tape measure

C Knitting-needle point protectors D Circular needle E Blunt-end yarn needles F Double-pointed needles (dpns) G Thread cutter pendant H Row counters (two styles) I Stitch-marker rings J Split-ring markers K Cable needle

L Crochet hook (great for picking up dropped stitches) M Stitch holder N Knitting gauge O Spool knitter and needle (for trims)

skill levels defined

BEGINNER: Projects for first-time knitters are labeled ''Beginner." These patterns use basic stitches, minimal shaping, and very simple finishing.

EASY: Projects labeled "Easy" use basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing. INTERMEDIATE: Projects labeled "Intermediate" use a variety of techniques, such as cables and lace or color patterns, with midlevel shaping and finishing. EXPERIENCED: Projects labeled "Experienced" use advanced techniques and stitches, with detailed shaping and refined finishing.



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CMKiTIB. C0NM0A*ll breviations

The abbreviations used throughout this book—plus other common ones—are listed below.

approx approximately beg begin(ning)(s) cn cable needle dec decrease(s)(ing) dpn(s) double-pointed needle(s) est established foil follow(s)(ing) inc increase(s)(ing) k or K knit kwise as if to knit k2tog knit two stitches together (right-slanting decrease when right side facing) M1 make one stitch (see page 66) p or P purl pat pattern pm place marker psso pass slipped stitch over p2sso pass two slipped stitches over p2tog purl two stitches together (right-slanting decrease when right side facing) pwise as if to purl rem remain(s)(ing) rep repeat(s)(ing) rev reverse rnd(s) round(s) RS right side(s) of work si slip sm slip marker ssk (slip, slip, knit) slip two stitches, one at a time knitwise, insert left needle and knit two together (left-slanting decrease when right side facing) ssp (slip, slip, purl) slip two stitches, one at a time knitwise, pass back to left needle, purl together through back loops (left-slanting decrease when right side facing) st(s) stitch(es)

St st stockinette stitch (knit RS rows, purl WS rows) Tbl through the back loop(s) tog together WS wrong side of work wyib with yarn in back wyif with yarn in front yo yarn over yon yarn over needle yrn yarn around needle

() work instructions within parentheses in the place directed and the number of times indicated [ ] work step in brackets the number of times indicated *or * repeat the instructions following the single asterisk or star as directed slip knot

Leaving a 6" tail, * use your right hand to wrap the yarn clockwise around the index and middle fingers of your left hand, then drop the yarn strand behind those two fingers as shown in illustration 1, below; let your middle finger slip away from the work and pull the strand of yarn through the middle of the circle, forming a loop.

Place the loop on the needle and gently tug on the two strands to shape the knot. See illustration 2, below. For practice, take the stitch off the needle; make it two or three times more, repeating from *. Once youVe mastered the slip knot, make a single knot on the needle; then try the cast-on method that follows on page 64.

Domino Knitting Pattern

making a gauge swatch

Using the recommended needles and yarn, cast on a few-more stitches than the number indicated by the gauge printed on the yarn band for 4" (10 cm).Work the pattern for at least 4". Loosely bind off or remove the swatch from the needles. Place a ruler over the swatch; count the number of stitches across 1" and the number of rows down 1M, including fractions of stitches or rows. If you have too many stitches and rows, switch to larger needles; if you have too few stitches, use smaller needles.

long tail cast-on

Estimate a yarn tail length that is three times the length of what the cast-on edge will be.

STEP 1 Make a slip knot this distance from the yarn end and place it on the right-hand needle.

STEP 2*Position thumb and index finger between the two strands of yarn. Close the other fingers into the palm of your hand and securely hold the yarn.

STEP 3 Moving in an upward direction, insert the needle under the yarn on the thumb and into the loop thats formed around the thumb. Take the needle over the top of the yarn in front of the index finger and guide it down into the thumb loop—the strand of yarn from the index finger easily moves along with the needle. Pull the strand through the thumb loop, making a new loop on the right-hand needle.

STEP 4 Drop the yarn around the thumb, and spread your index finger and thumb to tighten the loop on the needle—one cast-on stitch is made. Repeat from * to make a second cast-on stitch, and so on.

knit stitch

STEP 1 With yarn in back, insert the right-hand needle from front to back into the first stitch on the left-hand needle. Notice that the right-hand needle is behind the left-hand needle.

STEP 2 Form a loop by wrapping the yarn under and around the right-hand needle.

STEP 3 Pull the loop through the stitch so the loop is in front of the work.

STEP 4 Slip the first or "old" knit stitch over and off the tip of the left-hand needle, leaving it on the right-hand needle.

STEP 1 With yarn in front of the work, put the right-hand needle from back to front into the first stitch on the left-hand needle.

STEP 2 Form a loop by wrapping the yarn on top of and around the right-hand needle.

STEP 3 Pull the loop through the stitch to make a new purl stitch.

STEP 4 Slip the first or "old" purl stitch over and off the tip of the left-hand needle, leaving it on the right-hand needle.

purl stitch

single crochet

With RS together, hold in one hand two needles with an equal number of stitches on each and with points in the same direction.

STEP 1 Using a third needle of the same size, knit together one stitch from each needle.

STEPS 2 & 3 *Knit together the next stitch from each needle, pass the first stitch worked over the second stitch to bind off; repeat from * across to bind off all stitches.

STEP 1 Insert the hook into the second chain so that two strands are over the top of the hook and one strand is under the hook.

STEP 2 Wrap the yarn over the hook; then pull a loop through the chain. (There should be two loops on the hook.)

STEP 3 Wrap the yarn over the hook and pull a loop through the two loops.

3-needle bind-off specialty stitche s

INCREASING STITCHES • make one (M1)—version A increased stitch slants to the right

Insert the tip of the left needle from back to front under the strand that lies between the next stitch on the left needle and the last stitch worked on the right needle. See the illustration at right.

Referring to the illustration at far right, insert the right needle from left to right into the front loop of the lifted strand, and knit it from this position.

• make one (M1)—version B increased stitch slants to the left

Insert the tip of the left needle from front to back under the strand that lies between the first stitch on the left needle and the last stitch worked on the right needle. See the illustration at right.

Referring to the illustration at far right, knit the strand on the left: needle, inserting the needle from right to left into the back loop.

• slip, slip, knit (ssk)— decreased stitch slants to the left

As if to knit, slip the first two stitches from the left needle one at a time to the right needle as shown at right.

Insert the left needle into these two stitches from back to front as shown at far right, and knit them together from this position.

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