In this post, you will learn how to knit garter stitch.
Garter stitch is usually the first knitting stitch that any beginner new knitters learn.
It’s the basic knitting stitch pattern, it is reversible and it can be used for many projects including scarves, hats, sweaters, and blankets.
The tutorial below will show you step-by-step how to knit garter stitch.
Knitting Garter Stitch
It is a very easy stitch pattern to learn and can be used in so many projects.
What is Garter Stitch?
The short answer is – Garter stitch is created by knitting every row.
When you knit every row you create a knitted fabric that looks like it has small bumps (as you can see in the photo below).
- It is also used to make borders and edging because it does not curl.
- The fabric that it creates is thick, strong, and a little stretchy.
- Knitting garter stitch is really easy and all you have to do is knit every stitch for every row.
- Before you begin this stitch, you will need to know how to cast on knitting.
- If you are a total knitting beginner you might want to read through these knitting lessons first before you get started – Knitting Lessons.
Use it with other basic knitting stitches
Once you have practiced this stitch, you will be able to work row after row of garter stitch and use this stitch with other simple knitting stitches for beginners.
For example, used with the purl stitch, you will be able to create stockinette stitch.
Garter stitch is perfect to use when you need to make a border, so is often seen in patterns at the start and end of rows.
What Does Work In Garter Stitch Mean?
The Knit Stitch – To learn the basics of knitting most people start with the knit stitch, which is also known as garter stitch.
If you are working from a pattern and it asks you to work in garter stitch, this means that you will knit every row.
In most patterns, you will see this abbreviated as g st.
When the pattern asks you to knit a stitch you will see a K for knit.
What Is The Difference Between Garter Stitch And Knit Stitch?
Garter stitch is the fabric pattern that you make by knitting every stitch for every row.
The knit stitch is a technique and garter stitch is a pattern.
Garter stitch looks like lots of little bumps in the knitted fabric, and it is the same on the front (right side) and back (wrong side) of the work.
Garter Stitch Knitting Tutorial
Take a look at the knitting tutorial below and see step-by-step how to do garter stitch.
- This pattern can be worked on any number of stitches.
- On two needles: Knit or purl all stitches.
- The wrong side of the work looks the same as the right side.
- Note – Take care when counting the rows.
- On either side, you need to count the rows that seem to be ‘inside’ as well as the alternate rows that seem to stand out.
For this tutorial, I used 9 mm/US 13 knitting needles and super bulky yarn (check the yarn weight you have by looking at the yarn label/ball band).
You will also need some scissors and a darning needle/yarn needle for weaving in any ends.
You can cast on around 10 or 12 stitches for this sample swatch/square gauge.
Please note the right side of your work (RS) will look the same as the wrong side (WS).
How To Knit Garter Stitch (Pattern Instructions)
- Step 1 – Insert your needle into the first stitch
After you have cast on, you will start to knit into your first stitch and create your first row of garter stitch.
Insert your right-hand needle into the first stitch on the left-hand needle, going up into the back of the stitch.
- Step 2 – Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle
Wrap the working yarn that is attached to the ball, around the right needle.
The yarn should be wrapped counterclockwise so that it comes between the two needles.
- Step 3 – Bring the right-hand needle to the front
Then you need to slide the right-hand needle under the left needle, catching the wrapped yarn and bringing the needle to the front.
- Step 4 – Slide the stitch off the left-hand needle
Next, you slide the completed stitch off the left hand needle.
The completed stitch will now be on the right hand needle.
You have just made one knit stitch and can continue to knit the next stitch and then the other stitches in the row.
- Step 5 – Continue to knit the stitches on the row
Knit into a new stitch (the next stitch) and again into every stitch across the row, then turn the work and continue to knit every stitch across that row.
Repeating this process creates garter stitch.
As you can see in the photo below the garter ridge is created by the bumps created by the stitches.
Does Garter Stitch Curl?
No, it doesn’t and that is why it is commonly used for borders and edges in patterns.
To make neater edges when working garter stitches, you can create a selvedge edge:
- You can make the edges of the garter stitch more smooth by slipping the first stitch of every row.
- This is a slip stitch and you transfer this stitch purlwise.
- Then you knit every stitch across the row.
- Repeat for every row.
This can make the edges easier to seam when you are knitting a sweater or cardigan.
You can see an example of this in the chunky cardigan knitting pattern.
Working Garter Stitch In The Round
Please note – Working in garter stitch by knitting every row only works on straight knitting needles (working flat).
If you want to create garter stitch on circular needles, while working in the round, you need to work differently.
This means that you will need to knit one round and purl the next to create garter stitch.
This is because knit and purl are opposites, the purl ridge gives you those little bumps you see in garter stitch.
If you knit every round when working on circular needles, you will see stockinette stitch.
More Knitting Tutorials
- Knitting cast-on methods.
- Knitting cast-off methods.
- How to cast on knitting.
- How to cast off knitting.
- How to knit the purl stitch.
- How to knit stockinette stitch.
- How to read knitting patterns.
- Knitting abbreviations and terms.
- How to knit rib stitch.
- Mattress Stitch Tutorial.
Garter stitch is a really simple basic stitch pattern that is created by knitting every row. This creates a stretchy, reversible knitted fabric that lies flat.
This depends on the pattern instructions and project you are making. Sometimes it is possible to substitute garter stitch instead of stockinette stitch, but this can change the size. You will probably need more rows as stockinette stitch is taller and narrow.
Garter stitch is more condensed than stockinette stitch and the knitted fabric lies flat. Stockinette has the tendency to curl. If you add weight, like a heavy mixtape yarn or cotton yarn, garter stitch can stretch a lot, becoming longer.
Garter stitch is alternating rows or rounds of knits and purls. They look similar when knit, with small bumps on each row of the knitted fabric.
Garter stitch is used in many knitting patterns, from blankets, shawls, sweaters, cardigans, scarves, and dishcloths.