Doing a checkerboard stitch is a great way to learn how to work with two colors in a row without having to focus a lot on the pattern of the colors you are knitting.
It's almost like a simple basketweave knitting pattern in that you alternate colors in blocks every few stitches, then after a few rows, you switch, and make a checkerboard type pattern.
It is a great way to learn about yarn control in stranded knitting and to practice and even work a whole pattern without having to worry about reading a chart or keeping your place in a pattern more than you need to. You just read your knitting and count stitches.
How to Knit a Two-Color Checkerboard Stitch
You can work this sort of checkerboard design on more or fewer stitches, if you like, but as shown, it works on multiples of 8 plus 4 stitches.
The design calls for two colors here: one, called color A (dark purple in the picture) and another, color B (light purple).
Cast on in color A.
Row 1: *K4 in color A, k4 in color B, loosely stranding the yarn that is not in use across the back of the work. Repeat from * across.
Row 2: *P4 in color A, p4 in color B. Repeat from * across.
Rows 3 and 4: Repeat rows 1 and 2.
Row 5: *K4 in color B, k4 in color A. Repeat from * across.
Row 6: *P4 in color B, p4 in color A. Repeat from * across.
Rows 7 and 8: Repeat rows 5 and 6.
Continue in this manner, changing the order of colors every four rows.
Using a Checkerboard Stitch
It is a great little pattern to use for simple projects like this a checkerboard hot pad. It's worked flat, then folded and seamed along the sides, which makes it extra thick.
You can use acrylic yarn, but the best choice for something that's going to be around a lot of heat is cotton. (You can test your yarn with a hot kettle to see if it doesn't melt. Different yarns have different tolerances, so either test your swatch or use a cotton yarn if you're worried about it).
Materials You Will Need
- 100 yards each of two colors of 100 percent cotton or acrylic yarn
- one pair size 7 US knitting needles
- yarn or tapestry needle
The gauge is 21 rows and 25 stitches per four inches in stockinette stitch. Gauge is not critical but it should have a firm weave.
Size of Final Product
When sewn up, the finished project is roughly 6 inches by 7 inches. Size may vary depending on how much you block the project.
Cast on 44 stitches in color A. Work in a Checkerboard pattern as described above for about 14 inches/35.5 cm.
Bind off in color A.
Finishing the Piece
Stranded knitting can get rather compressed, even when you are keeping your strands loose across the back.
Blocking will be necessary to help stretch the project out.
The more you block, the wider the project will end up. The example shown is six inches wide.
Once the project has been blocked, fold in half with the front sides out and sew the side seams using color A and the mattress stitch.