Getting Gauge in Garter

    
The Flamboyant Shawl

If you know how to work the knit stitch, you know how to knit garter stitch. Known as the simplest of all stitch patterns, garter stitch is what you probably learned when you were just beginning knitting.

Many of us abandoned it when we became more advanced knitters, able to knit stockinette, cables, and lace.

But garter stitch shouldn't be relegated to the beginning knitter only—its inherent texture and elasticity makes it very useful and attractive in all sorts of knitting patterns.

Judging from the most popular patterns here on Knitting Daily and on Ravelry, garter stitch is making a comeback. There are a lot of really beautiful garments and accessories that use garter stitch, some of them are even entirely knit in garter stitch. The Flamboyant Shawl by Maria Leigh (pictured above left) is one of those; it's all garter stitch with a lovely garter ruffle.

There are a few things you need to know to knit a successful garter stitch project, and one of them is how to read gauge. Here's a tutorial on that, from the new DVD Beyond Basic Garter Stitch.

  
Calculating stitch gauge Calculating row gauge

To calculate stitch gauge, lay your swatch on a flat surface, without stretching it. Place your tape measure on the swatch and count the bumps (as shown above left) between 0 and 4 inches to see how many stitches you have over 4 inches. That number is your stitch gauge.

    
The Oscilloscope Shawl

To calculate row gauge, lay your swatch on a flat surface, without stretching it. Place your tape measure on the swatch and count the ridges (as shown above right) between 0 and 4 inches to see how many rows you have over 4 inches. Each ridge counts as 2 rows. That number is your row gauge.

—From
Beyond Basic Garter Stitch with Kate Gagnon Osborne and Courtney Kelley

It's all about the bumps with garter stitch, isn't it? I enjoy knitting garter because it's quick and working the knit stitch row after row is relaxing. And when you add design elements such as eyelets and applied I-cord, you get something spectacular like the Oscilloscope Shawl, a pattern which comes free with Beyond Basic Garter Stitch. Bonus!

Get Beyond Basic Garter Stitch today. Here's a huge teaser: You'll learn how to knit garter stitch in the round without purling! I just blew your mind, didn't I?

Cheers,

P.S. Leave a comment below and tell us why (or why not) you enjoy knitting garter stitch.

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