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How to knit a square

Did you know that one of the most commonly asked question on google is:

"How do I knit a square?"

Like many things with knitting and crochet, there are lots of answers to this simple question, but by starting at the very beginning, we can unravel the mystery of how to knit a simple square.

photograph showing knitting needles and yarn in a baskets. Lots of different colours of yarn to knit a square


This will depend on how large or small you would like your square to be, but to help you make a start, I have listed the steps below so that you can work out how many stitches you need to knit a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) square, regardless of the thickness of your yarn or the size of your knitting needles.

First, we will look at the ball band or yarn band information as a starting point.

To do this you will need a ball of yarn along with its yarn band or ball band. You need the yarn band (or ball band) because it contains all the information you need.

  • Step 1. Take a look at your yarn band. This is the piece of card that is wrapped around your ball of yarn.

  • Step 2. Find the little square grid that tells you how many stitches and rows you need to knit in stocking stitch, to create a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) square). This is called the tension (or gauge) and it relates to the size of the knitted stitches.

  • Step 3. Look underneath or next to the grid to find out what size of knitting needles you need.

yarn band or ball band information show tension for stitches and rows to knit a square

Even though it doesn't say so, the industry standards for the tension information found on a ball band is always stocking stitch.

For stocking stitch you knit all the stitches on the first row (which is the right side row) and then you purl all the stitches on the next row (which is the wrong side row).

With the ball band information, you can therefore take the correct size of knitting needles and cast on the stitches as stated, and then work in stocking stitch for the number of rows as stated.

Using the image above as guide, which shows the yarn band for double knitting weight yarn (light worsted weight), you would cast on 22 sts and work 28 rows in stocking stitch to create a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) square.

Note that everyone's tension is slightly different so your square may not measure exactly 10 x 10cm, but don't worry too much about this for the moment. I will cover this is a separate post.


If you don't have a ball or yarn band handy, here is a quick reference guide to standard stitch tensions.

standard knitting tension for how many stitches and rows you need to knit a square


You can now decide if you want to knit a 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) square as in the steps above, or whether you would like to knit a larger square.

If you want to knit a larger square, use the following method for working out your stitches and rows:

  • Step 1: First, take the number of stitches and rows given in the tension information and divide each one by 10, by simply moving the decimal point one place to the left. This will give you the number of stitches and rows per cm.

For example with double knitting yarn, this would give a cm tension of 2.2 stitches and 2.8 rows per cm. This means that to knit a square of 1cm, you need 2.2 stitches and 2.8 rows.

  • Step 2: Decide how big you want your square to be. We will use 15 x 15cm as a guide.

  • Step 3: Take the cm tension from Step 1, and multiply this by 15. For our double knitting example, for the stitches this will be 2.2 stitches x 15 = 33 stitches.

For the rows, this will be 2.8 x 15 = 42 rows.

Therefore, casting on 33 stitches and knitting 42 rows in stocking stitch will create a 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in) square.

hands holding knitting needles to knit a square in stocking stitch


Now that you know how many stitches you need to cast on, you can choose your preferred casting on method to cast these onto one needle.

For a 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in) square with double knitting yarn, you would use 4mm needles and cast on 33 stitches.

Row 1 (right side): Knit all stitches.

Row 2 (wrong side): Purl all stitches.

Repeat these two rows until you have worked 42 rows in total, or until you have a square.

Then you can cast off.

I hope you have great fun trying out different squares in different thicknesses of yarn.

And I hope your squares bring you as much joy as they are bringing me. Sometimes, it's the simple things that are the best.......

I'll be back with more simple guides on how to knit different stitch patterns and how to check your tension and block your knitting when you have finished.

Happy knitting and crocheting, Lynne xxx

If you're looking for a fun knitting project, you could try my knitted cakes and buns pattern.

Or if you are looking for a fun and practical crochet project you could try my reusable cotton face pads.

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