Martin Storey KAL square 2 – Slip Stitch Nordic Stripe

Clue 2 is here already, it’s come around fast! You can get the details here. This square might look intimidating if you’ve never done colourwork before, but this is actually a very clever cheat! Instead of true stranded colourwork like Fair Isle or intarsia, this uses slipped stitches to carry colour from one row up over following rows.

I was very glad to see Moonstone featured again this week, it’s such a gorgeous colour. Against the dark of Charcoal Grey it really glows.

The first repeat of this was a little tricky as I got used to how the slipped stitches worked and switching between the garter stitch and stocking stich rows threw me off a little to start with. After I’d done the whole repeat once, I finally understood the construction and after that I knitted the rest of the square completely from memory. I also carried my yarn when changing colours so that I didn’t have to cut and sew ends every time. In this square I carried either 2 or 4 rows depending on where the colour change happened. The 4-row carries were a bit messy especially because they carried up from a purl stitch on the right side, which doesn’t give as neat a result as if you carried from a knit row. If this was going to be the visible edge of the finished product I wouldn’t have been happy with how messy the carried colours are but because all these edges will be seamed to another square or the blanket edging, they will never be visible. Lucky me! With the pattern memorised and knowing I can carrying the colours between stripes, finishing the rest of the squares for this clue should be a breeze.

Square 2 - yarn carries on reverse


If you’ve never done slipped stitches before, the trick is to not pull the yarn tightly across the back of the stitches, otherwise you’ll pull them too tight. This will make your knitting look puckered and also throw off your gauge which will give you squares of the wrong width. Speaking of gauge, I did knit a swatch for square 1 to get the right needle size because my knitting is very loose and I always have to go down at least 1mm in needle size to get the right fit! I winged it with this square and just used the same needle size that I gauged for on the first square. If you often have awkward gauge or want to be absolutely sure you’re using the right needle size, do take the time to make a gauge swatch. But if you’re brave, just go for it! Some good blocking and then the final sewing together should even out any minor gauge mismatches.

Square 2 - Slip Stitch Nordic Stripe (detail)

As this design doesn’t have a garter stitch border, you’ll find that the top and bottom roll over a lot. When blocking, make sure to use plenty of pins on the top and bottom edge (if you aren’t using blocking wires) to make sure it lies flat and doesn’t curl back inbetween the pins, otherwise you’ll get really scalloped edges. The fact that the squares will ultimately be sewn together or attached to the border should help keep those edges straight in the finished product, but the more you can help yourself now via blocking the less trouble it will be later and the better the final blanket will look.

Square 2 - Slip Stitch Nordic Stripe

Let me know how your KAL is coming along. What do you think of this faux-colourwork technique?


  • Kristen

    13 February 2016 at 18:40 Reply

    I’m with you–I just loved this slip stitch square. It’s so nice to know a technique that looks difficult but is actually very easy.

  • karen

    01 January 2017 at 18:31 Reply

    Hi Alison I’m getting confused on this square ( not with the slip stitch bit) where do you switch from garter stitch to stocking stitch? They all look like knit rows to me in the pattern so not sure how to achieve the stocking stitch? Aaaagh! Please can you make sense of it for me? Many thanks in great anticipation. Was so looking forward to this square and now stumbled at the first hurdle!

  • Karen

    01 January 2017 at 19:15 Reply

    Actually with some patience and confidence to follow the pattern I’ve worked it out now! But I’ll have to start again as the little triangles are very baggy and the tension is too loose

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