How to knit a basketweave pattern

I got together last night with some knitting friends to work on a joint project. We’re using up some spare yarn in a collaborative project: we’re each knitting a set of 6×6-inch squares, to be sewn together into a baby blanket that we’ll donate to charity. I’m having a lot of fun with it, since I can experiment with new stitches and it’s okay if they don’t turn out perfectly!

For my first square, I decided to learn how the basketweave stitch is done. This version goes in blocks that are four rows long, so every four rows you change your stitch pattern. But although it looks nice and regular, there’s an interesting trick to it. Each little square does not, as you might otherwise assume, have the same number of stitches in it. The knit ones are only two stitches across, while the purl ones are four! This works out because the leftmost and rightmost purl stitches “bend around” the knit ones, so the overall visual effect is as if they were the same width. But they’re off by a factor of two! Pretty clever.

Here’s the full stitch pattern, to make this particular basketweave (K = knit and P = purl):

Cast on a multiple of 6, plus 4, stitches.
row 1: K4, repeat: (P2, K4)
row 2: P4, repeat: (K2, P4)
row 3: K4, repeat: (P2, K4)
row 4: P4, repeat: (K2, P4)
row 5: K1, P2, repeat: (K4, P2), K1
row 6: P1, K2, repeat: (P4, K2), P1
row 7: K1, P2, repeat: (K4, P2), K1
row 8: P1, K2, repeat: (P4, K2), P1

From “The Everything Knitting Book” by Jane Eldershaw.

How to determine a plane’s heading

A friend offered this great tidbit of information:

The navigation lights on the airplane wings are red on the left side and green on the right side, so that people on the ground and in the air can tell at a glance at night which direction the plane is heading.

It turns out that ships do this, too, and it not only permits the determination of direction but also the resolution of right-of-way questions. From wikipedia:

If he sees green, he is to the impinging craft’s starboard and has the right of way. If the pilot sees the red light, he knows that the approaching craft has the right-of-way, and he is required to deviate from his course to avoid the collision.

So the next time you’re near an airport at night, look up and see if you can detect both colors in approaching or departing planes (you’ll then be able to tell which is which).

Thanks, Leighton! (And thanks to Jim for his addenda, in the comments.)