Bias Garter Stitch

knit garter stitch on the bias for an interesting slant to your knitting
Bias Garter Stitch. © Sarah E. White, licensed

Knitting on the bias is a fun way to give a different look to your knitting without actually increasing the difficulty.

You can make a rectangular piece of knitting that biases -- that is, the edges of the knitting slant on the diagonal rather than being straight -- simply by increasing on one edge of the work and decreasing on the other.

This procedure would work on any stitch pattern, of course, not just Garter Stitch, but we will use Garter Stitch as an example.

Cast on any number of stitches.

Alternatively, you could do it this way:

  • Kfb, k to last 2 stitches, k2tog.
  • Knit the next row.

I like to do it with the increase at the beginning of the first row and the decrease at the beginning of the second row because it's easier for me to remember which row I'm on that way. I only need to count stitches, and if I have more stitches than I originally cast on, I know I need to start the row with a decrease.

If I have the same number of stitches I cast on, I need to start the row with an increase. Pretty simple.

Of course, you can use any increase and any decrease you prefer. If you'd rather use make one and slip knit, you are can do so.

If you're using a stitch pattern other than Garter Stitch, you may find it easier to work the increase and the decrease on the same row, as I did with my Bias Knit Scarf, which is worked in Stockinette Stitch. The increase and decrease are both worked on the right/knit side, while the wrong/purl side is worked straight.

I also used bias knitting in the coordinating mitt pattern, where you can see the slanting of the stitches but not the trapezoidal shape because it's sewn into a mitt shape.

Knitting Bias Squares

Another option for knitting that slants is to work squares on the bias. In this case, instead of increasing and decreasing on each side, you start with a few stitches, build up to the center of the square, then decrease down the other side to form the square shape.

Put in more knitterly terms:

  1. Cast on 4 stitches.
  2. Kfb in the first stitch of every row while knitting all other stitches, until one side of the work measures the desired size of the square.
  3. K2tog at the beginning of each row and knit all other stitches until five stitches remain.
  4. Bind off.

Squares may be made large or small. A variety of these squares in different colors would make a cute stash-slashing afghan.

If you use yarn overs to form the increases (and continue to use them decoratively even on the decrease section), you'll get a Bias Washcloth, which is a classic pattern sometimes referred to as Grandma's Favorite. (I used the same idea on a large scale for a baby blanket in one of my books.)

You can also increase on each end of the row until you get to the size you want, then decrease on each end to eliminate stitches. That's the ways it's done in the gorgeous Colorblock Bias Blanket from Purl Soho, which is one giant bias Garter Stitch Square worked in different colors.