Why Do I Have A Wonky Mitred Square (And How To Fix It)

A mitred square is just one way of knitting a corner-to-corner (C2C) square. Usually for the purpose of making a blanket.

But not all squares come out, well, square. Some come out wonky. Or kiteish shaped.

The Three Groups of People

When making a mitred square, following a traditional mitred square pattern, there are 3 groups of people…

Group A makes a perfect square.

Group B make an elongated wonky kiteish shape. (aka me).

Group C make a squished wonky shape. (I’ve never come across one of these people but logic dictates that they are out there. So I’m including them for completeness – photo squished in Photoshop).

The Myth

One of the general knitting rules myths is that, in garter stitch, you need twice as many rows as stitches to make a square. That means if you cast on 10 sts you need 20 rows to get a perfect square.

This is because your stitches, in garter stitch, are generally accepted to be twice as wide as they are tall. They have a ratio of 2:1. 2 rows = 1 st.

Which by now I hope you understand to not always be true.

We all have our own tension and gauge. We are not all 2:1.

Which Group is Which?

We do not all fit into the “perfect square” box.

The people who do have this 2:1 ratio are Group A. They make a perfect square.

Group B have slightly taller stitches. So they need fewer rows. My personal ratio is 7:4. This means that for every 4 sts I need 7 rows to make a square.

Group C have slightly shorter stitches. So they need more rows. For example, they may have a ratio of 7:3. This means that for every 3 sts they need 7 rows to make a square.

How To Calculate Your Personal Ratio

To work out your own personal ratio, you need to knit a garter stitch square. I recommend casting on a multiple of 4 sts (like 28 or 32) as it’s an easier number to divide later. Cast off when you have a square.

Count the number of rows you knit. A quick way to do this is to count the garter ridges and double it.

Now for the math. (Sorry).

If you cast on 32 sts and have 56 rows (like me) then your starting ratio is 56:32.

Now we just need to reduce the ratio to its lowest form. You need a number that both numbers divide by.

In this case, they both divide by 4.

56 divided by 4 is 14.

32 divided by 4 is 8.

So we get a ratio of 14:8.

This can be lowered even more by 2.

14 divided by 2 is 7.

8 divided by 2 is 4.

So we get a ratio of 7:4.

There isn’t a number that these will both divide into anymore. So the final ratio is 7:4.

Which Group Are You?

Group A will have a ratio where the rows (first number) is exactly double the stitches (second number). Such as 2:1, 4:2, etc.

Group B will have a ratio where the rows (first number) are less than double than the stitches (second number). Such as 7:4, 8:5, etc.

Group C will have a ratio where the rows (first number) are more than double than the stitches (second number). Such as 7:3, 9:4, etc.

How To Use Your Ratio To Make Your Personal Mitred Square

Now you know your ratio, let’s create your personal mitred square pattern. (Sorry, a little bit more math for Groups B and C).

Group A Pattern

You’re lucky and have no further math to do. Woo hoo!

You can use the following pattern, or any standard mitred square pattern, without any alteration:

Cast on half your stitches. Place marker. Cast on the other half of your stitches.

Every Row: Sl1, knit to 2 sts before marker, k2tog, slip marker, knit to end.

Repeat until you have 2 sts left. Cut yarn and bind off remaining 2 sts.

Group B Pattern

We will use the ratio of 7:4 as an example.

When we knit a mitred square we cast on two sides worth of stitches, and reduce it down to 0 stitches. So we simply need to double the number of stitches in our ratio. So 7:4 becomes 7:8. Or 7 rows to 8 stitches.

This means, that for every 7 rows of knitting, we need to decrease 8 stitches to create our perfect square.

So the pattern becomes:

Cast on half your stitches. Place marker. Cast on the other half of your stitches.

Work every row (both right and wrong side) as follows: Sl1, knit to 2 sts before your marker, k2tog, slip marker, knit to end. With the exception of every 7th row (change this to the row number in your ratio) which is as follows: Sl1, knit to 3 sts before your marker, k3tog, slip marker, knit to end.

Repeat until you have 2 sts left. Cut yarn and bind off remaining 2 sts.

Group C Pattern

We will use the ratio of 7:3 as an example.

As with Group B, we simply need to double the number of stitches only in our ratio. So 7:3 becomes 7:6. Or 7 rows to 6 stitches.

This means, that for every 7 rows of knitting, we need to decrease 6 stitches to create our perfect square.

So the pattern becomes:

Cast on half your stitches. Place marker. Cast on the other half of your stitches.

Work every row (both right and wrong side) as follows: Sl1, knit to 2 sts before your marker, k2tog, slip marker, knit to end. With the exception of every 7th row (change this to the row number in your ratio) which is as follows: Sl1, knit to end, slipping the marker as you go.

Repeat until you have 2 sts left. Cut yarn and bind off remaining 2 sts.

And That’s It…

I hope this tutorial will help you go away and create your very own mitred square blankets now.

Let us know what your personal ratio is in the comments. I’d love to know if there really are any Group C people out there!

Best wishes, Sam xox


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