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What Is a Box Stitch?

A.E. Freeman
Updated Feb 19, 2024
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The box stitch, also called the square stitch, is the stitch used to create lanyards out of plastic lace, or gimp. It is also used in knitting to make a group of stitches in a box shape. In knitting, the stitch can be used to make sweaters and scarves. Whether used in knitting or with gimp, the box stitch is simple enough for even beginners to learn.

To make the box stitch using gimp, a person needs two lengths of plastic lacing. To give the lanyard visual interest, two different colors of lacing are often used, though a person can use only one color. The finished lanyard can be used as a key chain or, if long enough, worn around the neck.

The box stitch is started by crossing the two pieces of gimp over each other to form a plus sign. It may help a stitcher to label the ends of each strand A, B, C, and D so that she doesn't get confused as she builds the stitches. The first strand, or A, is lifted up and over the C and D strands so that it is parallel with strand B. Strand B is then brought down into the position strand A started in.

To finish the first box stitch, the crafter weaves strand C through A and B and then weaves strand D through A and B. The center of the lace should look like a small checkerboard with four pieces of lace extending from each side. To make a lanyard, the crafter continues to make box stitches until the product is the length she wants. She can finish the craft by tying the four strands together. For extra decoration, she can slide pony beads onto the gimp before tying the strands.

In knitting, a crafter makes a box stitch by knitting and purling an equal number of stitches on one row and then purling and knitting an equal number of stitches on the next row. For example, she can knit four stitches, purl four on row one, and then purl four stitches and knit four stitches on row two, and so on, to create a boxy look. The last row of the stitch in knitting should be the same as the first, so if the knitter began knitting four stitches and then purling four, the final row should involve knitting and then purling stitches. Another name for the box stitch in knitting is the double seed stitch.

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A.E. Freeman
By A.E. Freeman , Former Writer
Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and retention. With a background in the arts, she combines her writing prowess with best practices to deliver compelling content across various domains and effectively connect with target audiences.

Discussion Comments

By anon954753 — On Jun 03, 2014

I love the box stitch. I tried this, but it took me a while. I would have preferred a video, though.

By KaBoom — On Mar 13, 2012

@starrynight - I think making lanyards is kind of a universal camping activity. I never went to Girl Scout camp, but I went to day camp a few years in a row and I learned the box stitch when I was there too!

I'm actually a bit more interested in the knitting box stitch though. This stitch sounds exactly like the way my favorite scarf looks. I've worn the scarf for so many years it's starting to come apart and I just can't seem to find a replacement! I've been thinking about learning to knit just so I can make myself another one.

I guess I should get and easy "How to Knit" book and get going so I can learn the box stitch!

By starrynight — On Mar 12, 2012

I remember the lanyard box stitch! I went to Girl Scout camp every summer when I was younger, and I wove a ton of lanyards. I'm pretty sure the box stitch was the first stitch I ever learned when I started weaving lanyards. I remember using it to make key chains for every single adult I knew!

After awhile, you can definitely learn more complicated lanyard stitches that look a bit showier. But in my opinion, the box stitch is a classic! And since it's very easy to learn, it's great for beginners and younger kids.

By JessicaLynn — On Mar 11, 2012

@andee - I made a scarf using the knitting box stitch when I first learned to knit also! It is a very easy stitch to use, but I think it looks really interesting. I used yarn that was variegated (it was basically two colors woven together) and I always liked the way that scarf turned out!

The box stitch really is great for beginners, because it looks great but isn't that complicated. Plus, it's a really good stitch to practice "reading" your knitting on. It really gives you a feel for how knit stitches look versus how purl stitches look.

By bagley79 — On Mar 11, 2012

I was never able to master the skill of knitting. I learned how to crochet when I was a girl, and had a hard time feeling comfortable using two knitting needles instead of one crochet hook.

You can also use the box stitch when you are crocheting. I have used this stitch to make some baby blankets.

I have also used what is called a crochet diagonal box stitch. Some people also call this a crazy stitch or a brick stitch. This stitch is a common stitch that has been around a long time. The reason I like to use this to make afghans is because it is a close knit stitch.

This is perfect if you are wanting to make an afghan that is very warm and cozy. There is nothing better than curling up with a warm, hand crocheted afghan on a cold day.

By andee — On Mar 10, 2012
When I was learning how to knit, the box stitch was one of the first stitches I was taught. I think this is probably one of the basic stitches when it comes to learning how to knit for beginners.

Basically all you need to do is alternate between knitting and a purl stitch. You follow your pattern by repeating these over and over, and can knit some simple, beginning projects.

Like many beginning knitters, one of my first projects was using the box stitch to knit a scarf. Once you get the basic steps down, you can add variations to your pattern that mix things up a bit.

I think one of the easiest ways to get started with knitting is to learn the box stitch and use the same color of yarn.

Once you are familiar with that, you can use different colors of yarn in the same pattern, and use different stitches for projects that are a bit more complicated.

A.E. Freeman

A.E. Freeman

Former Writer

Amy Freeman, a freelance copywriter and content creator, makes engaging copy that drives customer acquisition and...
Learn more
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