Knitting diagonals is a popular technique for knitting shawls, wraps, scarves and blankets for hand knitters. With a few considerations, machine knitters can join in the fun!

If you are a perfectionist or want a row by row pattern, stop reading.

If "close enough" is good enough, this technique might be just for you!

The concept

Start in one corner and cast on a few stitches. increase to the desired width of your shawl, wrap, or scarf. Knit the length of the piece diagonally by increasing on one side and decreasing on the opposite side. Finish by decreasing down to a point.


Of course, there are some considerations for machine knitters, let's continue to explore ....

Things to consider

  • Tame the curl. Because by default our machines produce stockinette, it can curl.

    • Video: Tame the curl
    • Add some reverse stockinette, hand manipulate some garter rows, add some stitch patterns.
      Mix it up for texture, interest and to tame the curl

  • How many rows to knit?

    • As machine knitters, we can't accurately measure our knitting as it is hanging on the machine. (unlike hand knitting)
    • Scarves and shawls don't have to be a specific length, so "close enough" may be "good enough"
    • OK math geniuses ... is there a mathematical calculation that can tell us how many rows to knit? Let us know

  • Needlebed limitations (see blankets below)

Things to consider when planning diagonals

Machine Knit Diagonal Blankets

This diagonal knitting technique can easily be applied to scarves and shawls.

Because of our needlebed limitations, blankets would need to be knit in panels.

  • Consider alternating the angle of the diagonal. (Work the center section increases/decreases on the opposite side of the bed)

  • Consider alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette panels

Are You Ready to Knit Diagonals?

There are many uses for diagonals when designing machine knitting patterns. Shaping darts, waist shaping, shoulder shaping and even sleeve shaping all involve diagonals.

Don't be intimidated by planning and charting patterns with diagonal shaping.

It doesn't take a lot of complicated math, plus there are tools available to make it easy.

Pinterest Inspiration

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Lorraine L
 Jan 6, 2022
LOL always inspiring - too many ideas to knit them all!

Paul H
 Jan 6, 2022
fantastic blog. Thank you