Checkerboard Stitch

Checkerboard Stitch is an eays way to learn to knit with two colors in a row.
Checkerboard Stitch used on a hot pad. © Sarah E. White, licensed

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're knitting.

It's almost like a simple basketweave knitting pattern in that you're alternating colors in blocks every few stitches, then after a few rows you switch, making 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 by just reading your knitting and counting stitches.

How to Work Two-Color Checkerboard Stitch

You can work this sort of checkerboard design on more or fewer stitches, and you like, but as shown it works on multiples of 8 plus 4 stitches.

The design calls for two colors here called color A (dark purple in the picture) and 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 the colors every four rows.

Use Checkerboard Stitch

It is a great little pattern to use for simple projects like this Checkerboard Hot Pad. It's worked flat, then folded and seamed along the sides, which makes it extra thick.

I used acrylic yarn to knit the sample, but your best choice for something that's going to be around a lot of heat is cotton. (I tested mine with a hot kettle, and it didn't melt, but different yarns have different tolerances, so either test your swatch or use a cotton yarn if you're worried about it).

Materials

  • 100 yards each of two colors of 100 percent cotton or acrylic yarn (I used Caron Simply Soft in Violet and Orchid)
  • one pair size 7 US knitting needles
  • scissors
  • yarn or tapestry needle

Gauge

21 rows and 25 stitches per four inches in stockinette stitch. Gauge is not critical but should have a firm weave.

Size

When sewn up, the finished project is roughly 6 inches by 7 inches. Size may vary depending on how much you block the project.

Instructions

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.

Other Projects Using Checkerboard Stitch

You can find a similar checkerboard patter in projects like Gail Bable's Checkered Band Hat, the Shepherd's Checkerboard hat by Wendy Ellis and Adrienne Ku's Checkerboard Mitts, among others.