For me, the iconic Canadian plaid is reminiscent of lumberjacks, bush parties, high school, and weekends at the lake. I’ve recreated it in knit form using intarsia and slipped stitches. There is no stranding in this stitch pattern.
You’ll need a circular or double pointed needles for this is a swing style stitch pattern. Two right side rows are worked, followed by two wrong side rows. When you reach the end of the first row, slide the stitches back to the other end of the needle and work the row again.
1. The first row in each pair of rows is always worked using the intarsia technique, using butterflies or bobbins of yarn for each section of colour. You’re basically creating vertical stripes. Work a right side row in intarsia as follows.
2. Intarsia row: Work up to the spot where you’ll change colours.
3. Intarsia row: When changing colours, pick up the new colour from behind the old colour, allowing the strands to cross (old colour crosses over top of new colour). The old colour will be trapped in place and this will prevent holes in your fabric.
4. Intarsia row: Work in this manner to the end of the row, changing colours where required; do not turn. The new stitches on your needle will clearly show the vertical stripes. This swatch shows checks that are 3 stitches wide; the checks in the photo at the top are 7 stitches wide.
5. Slide the knitting needle through the stitches so you’re ready to work another right side row.
6. Slip-Stitch row: The second row in each pair of rows is always a slip-stitch row with no colour changes; the working yarn for these rows is separate from the intarsia rows. *K1, sl 1; repeat from * to the end. All stitches are slipped purlwise.
7. Slip-Stitch row: When you’ve finished the row, the stitches on the needle will be a jumble of colours. Now it’s time to turn your work and get ready to begin a new intarsia row.
8. Intarsia row: Work the first wrong side row in intarsia. The new colour is picked up from underneath the old colour which is held out of the way to the left, when purling. Work in this manner to the end of the row; do not turn.
9. Slide the knitting needle through the stitches so you’re ready to work another wrong side row.
10. Slip-Stitch row: The second wrong side row is always a slip-stitch row. Remember the working yarn is separate from the intarsia yarn, so find the correct strand of yarn before beginning. *K1, sl 1; repeat from * to end of row. Turn and you’re ready to begin a right side intarsia row.
When knitting the Checkered Stitch Pattern, you can’t go wrong with the traditional red and black, but it’s fun in other colour combinations, as well. Experiment with it and use more than two colours or make your stripes uneven in width.
Ready to try out this Checkered Stitch Pattern in a project? Get the Lumberjack Mitts knitting pattern.