One of the designs I’m well into working on right now is bias knit. Bias knitting is when you are knitting something diagonally instead of side to side or up and down. As you can see in the photos here, the stitches in this swatch of knitting lie diagonally compared to their edging, so they’re an example of something that’s bias knit, a.k.a. knit on the bias. Just like in sewing, the term bias, at its most basic level, can essentially be understood as a synonym for diagonal.
Why knit on the bias?
Bias knitting is an easy way to create a project with visual interest. The grain of your finished knit piece lies differently that one would expect from most traditionally knit projects. Stripes are amazing to play with in bias knitting because they can zig and zag all over your work in beautiful ways. If you’re a newer knitter in particular who’s nervous about playing with changing colors to play with stripes, never fear! That’s what variegated yarn is for. Let the built-in color changes of your yarn shine as you knit on the bias!
What sort of projects can you knit on the bias?
For me, I really like bias knitting for creating flat pieces. Baby blankets, shawls, wraps, scarves and cowls (not coincidentally some of the most relaxing things to knit, no?) are all perfect for knitting diagonally.
How do I knit on the bias?
It’s just a matter of where to place increases and decreases. If you want to knit a rectangle (i.e. a scarf), all you’ve got to do is increase along one side of your rectangle, while at the same time decreasing on the other side of the rectangle. Here’s a sample pattern for how to construct a rectangle on the bias:
row 1. (RS) Work an increase near the beginning of the row (such as a M1, YO or kfb). Work a corresponding decrease (like a k2tog or ssk) near the end of the same row.
row 2. (WS) knit in pattern without increasing or decreasing.
PS: If you want your rectangle to slant the opposite direction from the pattern above, work the decrease at the beginning of the row and the increase at the end. Simple!
Let’s say you’re hoping to knit a square shape that is knit on the bias but the outline of the shape isn’t slanted like the piece would be above. For the first half of the project, you’ll need to work increases along both sides of your project until it’s at its widest point. Then, you’ll need to work decreases along both sides until you’ve finished forming the square. This graphic should help explain what I mean:
In the end, bias knitting is a fun way to cure garter or stockinette stitch boredom while still being able to knit relaxing projects. Bias knitting will literally turn your knitting on its head, resulting in beautiful, interesting-to-look-at fabric. Why not give it a try?
Have you done any bias knitting that you’d like to share? What’s your favorite bias knit project?