At this time of year there are many new knitters – I’ve noticed the number of “Help” emails increase since Christmas. And the stitch that all new knitters can do is the Garter stitch – where all stitches are knitted and there are no purls.
I think the Garter stitch is much maligned. Serious knitters scoff at it and newbies want to get away from it. Perhaps I should start a “Like-the-Garter-Stitch” petition.
The pros of Garter Stitch
- everyone gets the hang of it quickly
- it is a super textured stitch
- it is very stretchy
- used wisely, it can add a lot of interest to a garment
- it doesn’t curl – fantastic for those (dare I say it) scarves
If you are not of the Garter Stitch faith, it is possible to turn all those positives into a negative, but today, I’m a glass half-full person (mainly because I’ve ALMOST finished my son’s jumper).
The one thing you do have to watch when you’re using garter stitch is the gauge – measure very carefully on a flat surface without stretching the fabric. Since garter stitch is so stretchy, it is quite a feat not to stretch in any direction when counting your stitches.
So what do you knit with Garter Stitch? Obviously there are scarves, blankets, comforters, wash-cloths – for these the most effective way is to knit on the bias, or from corner to corner, increasing every other row. A good example is the pram blanket I blogged about a while ago. But that’s not all!
How about this delightful baby jacket using variegated yarn?
Or how about this jazzy short jacket for you?
Or this sweet heart to make for the one you love?
Just bear in mind that simple stitches are very effective, try it with lots of colourful yarn and use it carefully – I know I said it before, but it does bear repeating: it is VERY stretchy.
Long Live the Garter Stitch!