How To Knit Garter Stitch

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In this post, you will learn how to knit garter stitch.

Garter stitch is usually the first knitting stitch that any new knitters learn.

It’s the basic knitting stitch and it can be used for many projects including scarves, hats, sweaters and blankets.

garter stitch knitting

Knitting Garter Stitch

  • 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. 
  • You can see more here – Knitting Lessons.
How to knit garter stitch

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 stitches.

For example, used with the purl stitch, you will be able to create stockinette stitch.

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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.

example of purl stitches in knitting

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.

garter stitch in super bulky yarn

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 example in pink yarn

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.

Video Tutorial

You can see the step-by-step photo tutorial below and the video tutorial.

You can view the video tutorial on my YouTube channel here.

For this tutorial, I used 9 mm/US 13 knitting needles and super bulky yarn.

You can cast on around 10 or 12 stitches for this sample swatch.

How To Knit Garter Stitch

  1. 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.insert the needle into the first stitch

  2. Step 2 – Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle

    Wrap the working yarn that is attached to the ball, around the right-hand needle.
    The yarn should be wrapped counterclockwise so that it comes between the two needles.wrap the yarn around the needle

  3. Step 3 – Bring the right-hand needle to the front

    Then you need to slide the right-hand needle under the left-hand needle, catching the wrapped yarn and bringing the needle to the front.bring the needle to the front

  4. 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 other stitches in the row.completed garter stitch

  5. Step 5 – Continue to knit the stitches on the row

    Knit every stitch across the row, then turn the work and continue to knit every stitch across that row.
    Repeating this process creates garter stitch.garter stitch knitting example

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 stitch, you can create a selvedge edge:

  • You can make the edges of 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 cotton comfort cardigan knitting pattern.

woman wearing a loose fitting knitted cardigan

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.

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2 Comments

  1. hooray! I’ve been knitting for 3 years and never used garter stitch. I’m pleased to learn it here before I start the Carolina shawl.
    We both (hubby and I) have strong Scottish roots. We have watched every episode of Outlander. I was delighted to
    Run into your website!

    1. Hello Peggy,
      Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m so happy that you like the Outlander patterns!
      I hope you found the tutorial useful and enjoy knitting the Carolina shawl 🙂
      Happy knitting!
      Louise