At this time of the year, I love making miniature “knitted quilts” with mitered squares. Used as a pot holder, it’s a quick project and makes a great gift. This blog post is meant to give you a “recipe” that can be easily modified. The beauty of this technique is that, by varying the stitches, you can make different sizes, from coasters to blankets (the stitch count below will give you a 7 1/2-inch square). For best results, use worsted-weight wool and U.S. size 5 (3.75mm) needles. You will need at least three colors.
Begin by casting on 24 sts and work as follows:
Row 1 (WS): K12, place marker, k12.
Row 2 (RS): Knit to 2 sts before marker, ssk, slip marker, k2tog, knit to end.
Row 3: Knit.
Keep at it until 4 sts remain, then work the following rows:
Row 4 (RS): Ssk, remove marker, k2tog.
Row 5: K2tog. Cut yarn and pull through last st to secure. You have now completed one mitered square as shown below.
Now, you will attach a new mitered square to the first one using a different-color yarn. Begin by picking up 12 stitches along one edge of the square (3). Turn the work and use the knit cast-on method to cast on 12 more stitches (4). Without turning the knitting, work row 1 for the mitered square. Follow the rest of the directions for the mitered square above and you’ll end up with two side-by-side squares (5).
Changing back to the original color, pick up 12 stitches along the edge of the last square, turn and use the knit cast-on method to cast on 12 more stitches (6). Now, make another mitered square following the same directions—three squares are complete (7). To make the last square, change color, pick up 12 stitches along each of the open sides of the squares (8). Turn the knitting to the wrong side and complete the mitered square as before.
Isn’t that cool? Four mitered squares attached to each other with no sewing required (9). Next, use a third color to add bands along the sides. Working along one straight edge, pick up 24 stitches. Knit 7 rows and bind off. Repeat for the other side (10). Next, add bands to the remaining edges. Pick up 32 stitches: 4 in the selvedge edge of each band and 12 for each mitered square. Work 7 rows as before and bind off. Repeat for the other side (11).
I like to add a finished edge to the bands. You could make an applied I-cord edge. Click here for a great post showing you how to do that. The problem with that technique is that it is really time-consuming, so I’ve come up with an alternative I like to call Faux I-cord. Using a circular needle, pick up stitches around the perimeter of the square. Pick up 33 stitches per side (squeeze an extra stitch at each corner) for a total of 132 stitches (12). When the stitches have been picked up DO NOT join in the round, turn the work and knit around. At the end, turn the work again and bind off all the stitches. You’ll end up with a tiny seam between the two ends of the edging that you can close using one of the tails (13). To finish, give the pot holder a good steam blocking (14).
You might have noticed that even though I’m knitting with a bunch of different colors, my ends stay tidy and managed. That’s because I knit the ends in as I’m picking up stitches. For information about knitting in ends, check out this post if you want to change the size of your project, change the number you cast on for the initial mitered square. As you can see, the stitches picked up and cast on are all based on the initial number used.
I’ll write up the “recipe” into a real pattern and share it with you through my website, www.coldwateryarn.com, or you can just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a little Christmas gift for loyal readers, I’m also going to put the Itty Bitty Little Bit hat and the Crazy for Cables hat on the website for free.
Carri Hammett is a popular contributor to Annie’s. You can see her love for quick and easy projects in the Winter 2012 issue of Creative Knitting magazine where she has five articles! Carri is also a member of Annie’s online teaching staff and has written several books which are available at your local yarn shop and by clicking here.