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Sarah E. White

Garter Stitch: A Basic, Yes, But Don't Overlook it

By January 21, 2013

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I decided at some point near the end of last year that this year I wanted to spend some time getting really focused on particular knitting topics. So instead of just knitting whatever I want and posting things as they come to me, instead I would have a theme that I would delve into really deeply so that we'd all hopefully learn something and build some fantastic resources on the basics and beyond.

garter stitchGarter Stitch in progress. Sarah E. White.

So for the next couple of weeks we're going to be taking a close look at Garter Stitch. Yes, it's just knitting (and knitting, and knitting), but there is beauty in that simplicity.

Elizabeth Zimmermann called it "elegant" and noted that "it forms beautiful crinkly ridges." June Hemmons Hiatt isn't so lyrical in her descriptions, but she points out that Garter lies flat and has great elasticity and resilience, all of which are things we like in our knitting.

Garter Stitch is the first thing most of us learn to knit because it is all knit stitches, but many of us abandon the stitch or use it rarely once we learn how to purl.

That's a shame, as I've been rediscovering. Sometimes it's really nice to knit something simple. It's meditative, purposeful, fast and slow at the same time. I hope this exploration of Garter will cause you to take a second look if you haven't been a fan in the past. And if you are already in the pro-Garter camp, I'd love to hear why you like knitting this easy stitch.


January 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm
(1) Mary P says:

I have knit at least 10 log cabin afghans from Mason-Dixon Knitting…all in garter stitch. They all look elegant and rustic at the same time. I highly recommend the pattern to anyone looking for a garter stitch project that will keep them busy for a while.

January 22, 2013 at 11:41 am
(2) knitting says:

I got the chance to see some of their blankets in person and they are just so lovely. I really want to make one for myself (though right now I’m working on a giant garter stitch blanket that’s just strips, and that may well blow out most of my odd balls!). Thanks for sharing!

January 22, 2013 at 12:19 pm
(3) Anne says:

Although I actually do all kinds of projects, every time I leaf through my copy of Sally Melville’s The Knit Stitch, I think that I could spend the rest of my life knitting (and only knitting) happily from the ideas in that book. (ok, I have 3 of her knit projects on needles right now.)

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