How to Knit the Garter Stitch – Knitting for Beginners

Garter Stitch Video

The Garter Stitch is an easily recognizable stitch that is perfect for beginners and is the first stitch in our Sampler Stitch Project. When I first learned, knitting Garter Stitch scarves became my “go-to” project. I was taught by my Great Grandmother, who I would call for advice as my Mother and Grandmother had no clue. Usually, one of the first things my mother or grandmother would do when I was ill would be to make a Mary Maxim run for new yarn. I would then sit and knit a giant Garter Stitch scarf. Looking back at my collection of giant scarfs that varied greatly in length from barely useable to big enough to keep several people warm, I could tell how long I stayed in by the length of the scarf. I was always so appreciative of my family’s support of my crafting hobbies, and those are some of the items I wish I kept around.

Sampler Stitch Afghan Project

There are three sized blocks in our stitch sampler project. We are offering a variety of blocks sizes to add interest to our piece but mostly because if you find a stitch you aren’t sure about committing a whole 10 inches of knitting to then, you have the option of a 5 inch block that is much more manageable. If you choose to, you can always add another larger block to be arranged in your afghan later.

Garter Stitch
Garter Stitch Sampler

Gauge is the most important aspect of the construction of this project, take a look at our post on gauge here. It doesn’t matter how many stitches will be in your blocks, although those can be some great clues when figuring out your gauge. What matters is the finished size. Some blocks will have more stretch to them than others and will have small variances in size, and that is ok. What you don’t want to do is finish a block that measures 8 inches when you are really looking for blocks that are 10 inches. 9 3/4 to 10 1/4 is also acceptable and will happen as we have to accommodate for the stretch, and stitch count in the pattern.  

How to Knit The Garter Stitch

The Garter Stitch is the perfect beginner stitch. All you need to know how to do is the knit stitch. It’s a wonderful first-time stitch. Try a few projects in the garter stitch, take a look at this video on the right. This is an easy Triangle Scarf that requires no increasing or decreasing stitches, no shaping, and just a little bit of decorative ribbing at the bottom. You can even choose to leave out the purl stitches, and it will still look beautiful. Check out our post on how to purl as well. 

Step 1, begin with a long tail cast on and cast on the following using Mary Maxim’s Best Value Yarn:

      10″ block:  46 Stitches

       5″ block:  23 Stitches 

These stitches, measured after a few rows, gave me approximately 9 3/4 inches when worked up in the Garter Stitch. The Garter Stitch is very stretchy and will stretch out a bit when used, so I wanted to accommodate for this. If you knit a few rows and are not getting between 9 3/4 inches and 10 1/4 inches, then count how many stitches it would take to achieve that and start over.  


Clean Sides for Picking Up Stitches

We wanted to make sure no matter what stitches we use in a block, that we are always picking up the same stitch. At this point in our project, you need to make a choice. You can choose to always make sure the first two and last two stitches in a row are a knit for a Garter Stitch edge, or you can choose a Stockinette Stitch edge, which is what the first two stitches and the last two stitches of our instructions reflect. The Stockinette Stitch is also very easy to identify as when most people think of knit they think of the Stockinette Stitch. We chose it because when seamed up it will lay very flat and will show off the rest of our stitches well. The drawbacks to the Stockinette Stitch is that it will curl as you work it, but when we seam it, the stitches will lay flat.

Stockinette Stitch
How to Knit

Step 3, (stockinette stitch) purl the first two stitches, then continue in the knit stitch until you reach the last two stitches, purl the last two stitches of the row, turn.

Step 2, knit the entire row of stitches, turn.


Stockinette Stitch

Repeat Step 2 and 3 until you have reached either 10 inches or 5 inches for the block. Then, bind off your stitches.  Check out this video on how to bind off.

Stay Tuned

Stay Tuned!  We have lots more knit stitches coming your way and will be starting our Crochet Beginner Stitches soon as well. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, then now is a great time to start.  There is so much more to come, so make sure to subscribe and never miss a thing!

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Happy Crafting!

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