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The blanket squares are taking over! It might seem a little odd to be knitting a squishy blanket in the middle of summer, but bear with me.

… And maybe light a candle, too.

My hands need stitches all year round. Hot weather can leave me feeling flustered and lacking focus, and thus I propose that blanket squares are just the ticket!

Depending on your pattern, blanket squares can be the simplest of projects, requiring neither casting on, nor casting off. They are exceedingly versatile and you can give yourself a regular pat on the back as you complete each square.

Pop a slip knot on your needles. Knit into the front and back of the first stitch and knit to the end of every row, until you are happy with the size. Then k2tog at the start of every row until you have just one left. Break the yarn and pull through.

That’s all there is to it. It works with any weight of yarn. You don’t have to worry about tension, as long as you are happy with the fabric you’re making. You can use up leftover scraps, or treat yourself to a selection of beautiful skeins. Anything you fancy! Just keep stacking up those squares, ready for an autumn day when you are in the mood for putting together a blanket.

Here are a couple of video tutorials to help you to finesse your simple blocks. First up is a tip on how to weave in your ends in garter stitch. It’s a simple method, and of course there are lots of alternatives, but this makes a secure and tidy end which is ideal for something like a blanket where the finished item might get stretched and pulled around.

Once you have a satisfying stack of squares, you need to start joining them together. Seaming garter stitch is super-pleasing as the little ridges can all be perfectly matched up, making for even seaming. You can join them in pairs, or strips, as you wish. Our next Little Lesson video shows you the way.

Here on MDK, where the knitting is always fun, you can take the humble blanket square a bit further—although I should warn you, that casting on for the following blanket led to me spending an inordinate amount of time stopping knitting and admiring my work …

Yes, I’m talking about the Picket Fence Afghan. It’s a simple garter stitch design, with a graphic intarsia twist, and I know that lots of you have already fallen for its siren call. I too am now smitten.

In the MDK Shop
Blankets galore! Bundle Field Guide No. 7: Ease for the Picket Fence Afghan with Field Guide No. 1: Stripes and Field Guide No. 4: Log Cabin and save 20% off the single-issue price. Thanks for your Shop purchases. They support everything we do here at MDK.
By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne

In order to help you along your way with this design, I’ve filmed a short video showing you how the intarsia join works. When you change from one color to the next, you twist your yarns in a nifty way so that the different colored sections are properly joined together.

I was put off intarsia for many years by an unfortunate incident when I was a new knitter, but it turns out that with the right pattern, intarsia is a whole heap of fun! Mountains of fun! Go on! Dive in and give it a try! You know you want to…

The other clever trick that Julia Farwell-Clay had up her sleeve when she designed this pattern, was the way that the stripe sections are set up. You do a little switcheroo in order to keep everything looking crisp, with the color joins only showing on the wrong side. I’ve filmed another short video to show you how the stripes are set up. It’s not at all difficult to do, but sometimes it’s useful to be able to see what’s happening. Knitting isn’t always easy to visualize from written instructions, so I hope this video will help you on your way.

Once you have the intarsia join and the stripes set-up under your belt, there will be no stopping you from knitting ALL the Picket Fences. I can’t stop thinking about color combinations, and contrast stripes. I just need a few more knitting hours in each day!

About The Author

We think Jen Arnall-Culliford is flat-out brilliant. Jen is one of the knitting world’s superb technical editors and teachers, and the star of the tutorial videos.

Cheerful. Cool headed. Supersmart. To take lessons from Jen ups our knitting game, every time.


  • Marvelous…and timely for me. Just about to finish a Papa and cast on a Picket Fence. And now the strpe squares have muscled their way into my queue near the head of the line.

  • Oh! That’s a clever pattern. I want to knit it now that I can see how it works.

  • No casting on or casting off, just start with a slip knot… What a cool concept. So you’re knitting a diagonal garter square. Wow, mind-blowing! Thx Jen;)

  • Thank you so much for the visuals! Seeing it done makes it so clear and shows me that I can actually do this pattern!

  • I have a question about joining knitted blocks. When I crocheted there were different ways to crochet pieces together instead of seaming with a tapestry needle, and I’m wondering if there is any way just to knit the blocks together (after the fact, not as you’re making them). Is that a thing that’s done?

  • Dying from the heat….doing sweaters…No deadlines…probably pick up a good read….possible triple digits this weekend..deb

  • Jen’s videos are awesome. Wish I’d had them when I started my Picket Fence. (I’m 10 blocks in). She makes it all so very clear!

  • Seven blocks done on my Picket Fence and was reassured by these videos that I’m doing everything right! Thank you Jen and Julia.

  • I don’t see the bookmark to save the article? Thanks

    • Looking for the sawtooth square blockers that are illustrated here. Is there a notions page?

    • You need to sign in, then the bookmark will appear.

  • I like center out blocks that I weave together, a technique from Elizabeth Zimmernann. I also like a 3 needle bind off as a design feature.

  • I am intrigued by this pattern but all the turning and slipping and knitting and purling – what happens when you have to stop mid stride – when life calls you away! I can only imagine I’d lose the plot in more ways than one. But the video tutorials are a great help.

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