Mitered squares can look quite imposing, especially when you see a blanket with 100 squares...did they have to stitch every single one of those together? How did they manage without losing their sanity? Well, cats out of the bag, you can join mitered squares as you knit. Not only does this help with the sizing and continuity of your project, it also leads to a very satisfied feeling when you finish that last block. (Could you imagine if you finished square 100 of a blanket only to then have to stitch the damn thing together? The thought gives me chills.)
When you stitch a mitered square (featured in a separate upcoming tutorial) you get a neat little zipper affect. You can play with colors, using two or more per square or changing the color square to square. This can lead to some pretty nifty projects. To give a quick and dirty run down of a mitered square, you cast on an odd number of stitches. For the sake of simplicity, let's say you cast on 21 stitches. You then place a marker where, when holding the needle in your right hand, there are 11 stitches on the rights side and 10 stitches on the left side of the needle. You proceed to knit a row. Then, on the next row, you knit to one stitch before the maker, slip the stitch, slip the marker, then knit the next two stitches together. You then pass the slipped stitch over the two stitches you knitted together, replace the marker, and continue knitting to the end. This three stitch combo is what ultimately gives you the zippered little square. You repeat this knit a row, zipper a row until your square is complete.
Like I said, that was the quick and dirty explanation. Now, let's say you've mastered the art of mitered squares and now you would like to make a baby blanket where you have more than one square connected. Easy peasy. Here's how.
1. Knit one complete square that will be your bottom left square in the pattern and color scheme you have brilliantly contrived.
2. Let us use some hypothetical numbers. If you originally cast on 49 stitches, your finished square should have 24 stitches along each side. When you first cast on your stitches, you had 25 stitches on the right side of your marker and 24 on the left. We are going to carry this same idea to the next square. The next step in your project is to connect the square that goes on top of your bottom left corner.
To do this, you will pick up and knit 25 stitches from your existing square, place your marker then (here's the kicker) cast on 24 stitches . The stitches should be picked up and knit along the top of your existing square and will become the bottom of your new square. So, you will pick up first, cast on second. Once you have all of your stitches (both the picked up stitches and the cast on stitches) on your needles, knit one row and then work a zipper row.
3. Proceed to knit your mitered square as if it were not connected to anything. Using our same hypothetical numbers, you will have picked up 25 stitches and cast on 24 stitches, and your finished square will have 24 stitches along each side.
4. Fast forward. Say you've worked a row of mitered squares and would now like to add a second row. I will break this down into two steps.
Your first square in the second row will have to attach to the right side of your original bottom corner square. This will be done in much the same fashion as attaching squares atop one another except you will cast on 25 stitches, place your marker, then pick up 24 stitches along the right edge of your original square. The difference here is that you are casting on fist and picking up second. Proceed in the knit one row, zipper one row pattern until your new square is done. It should be connected to the right side of your original square.
After you complete your fist square in the second column, you will have quite a pickle...you now have two sides that need connecting! Surely it's not possible. Fret not. You are going to do the same thing you've done all along, except now you will pick up stitches on both sides of the marker. First, you will pick up 25 stitches along the top of your most recent square. You will then place your marker and proceed to pick up 24 stitches along the right edge of the square in previous column that will be next to the square you are creating.
5. Smile. You've connected mitered squares while knitting them.