5 Ways to Use Garter Stitch

Garter stitch is truly an unsung hero of knitting. It’s the first knitted fabric learned when one takes up the needles because it only requires the ability to create knit stitches. However, just because garter stitch is based on the most elementary knitting skill doesn’t make it useless after you master it. There are several ways to use garter stitch that are most definitely not boring that we can see in action in knitscene Spring 2020. In this issue, all of the projects are based around garter stitch and/or knitted edgings.

The designers who contributed patterns to this issue did NOT disappoint. Below are five different ways you can use garter stitch in your knitting, with fantastic examples through 10 projects from knitscene Spring 2020.

1. As the Main Fabric

The most obvious way to use garter stitch is as the fabric of your piece. We all learn how to knit a garter-stitch scarf very early on in our knitting education, and we can keep this in our toolbox forever. You can go far beyond a basic rectangular scarf with a garter-stitch fabric, as shown through the Trilateral Cowl, Trilogies Hat & Cowl, Arrows Shawl, Ellipsoidal Shawl, and the Alongside Slouch.

knitscene Spring 2020

Trilateral Cowl by Megi Burcl. The Plucky Knitter Traveler Sport.


 knitscene Spring 2020

Trilogies Hat and Cowl by Amy Palmer. Berroco Arno.


knitscene spring 2020

Arrows Shawl by Susanna IC. Manos del Uruguay Alegría Grande.


knitscene spring 2020

Ellipsoidal Shawl by Moon Eldridge. Anzula Cloud.


knitscene spring 2020

Alongside Slouch by Stefanie Bold. Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply.

2. As a Design Detail

Use isolated garter ridges on a stockinette stitch background as a design feature, as shown in the Peaks and Valleys shawl and the Garter Grooves Cardigan (below). The great thing about using garter stitch as a design element is that, the farther apart the garter ridges are, the less they will affect the stockinette stitch gauge.


knitscene spring 2020

Peaks and Valleys Shawl by Lana Jois. Blue Sky Fibers Alpaca Silk.


knitscene spring 2020

Garter Grooves Cardigan by Emily Ringelman. O-Wool Balance.


3. As a Stable Edge

The designer of the Garter Grooves Cardigan, Emily Ringelman stabilized the edges of the cuffs and hem of the sweater with garter stitch, rather than ribbing. Emily also incorporated garter stitch edgings into her Swingy Top design, which also features garter stitch as a design element above the lace border.


knitscene spring 2020

Garter Grooves Cardigan by Emily Ringelman.


Swingy Top by Emily Ringelman. SweetGeorgia Yarns Mohair Silk DK.

4. As Ribbing

Designer Courtney Spainhower incorporated garter stitch into a ribbing pattern on her Currents Shawl. The garter stitch ribbing pattern flows seamlessly out of a ribbed leaf lace pattern.


knitscene spring 2020

Currents Shawl by Courtney Spainhower. Green Moutnain Spinnery Cotton Comfort.

5. All Over the Place!

The Sidelong Tee, designed by Elise Young (aka illitilli) combines all the above features of garter stitch to create a truly unique top. The piece itself is knit side-to-side in stockinette stitch as the main fabric of the body with decorative garter ridges at the center front (which makes the ridges vertical rather than horizontal). Elise also used garter stitch as a stabilizing edge on the sleeves of this top. Additionally, she incorporated garter stitch along the hem of the body that also runs vertically, which is an another take on traditional ribbing. How absolutely clever!

knitscene spring 2020

Sidelong Tee by illitilli. Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima Fine.

What is the most innovative way you have used garter stitch in your knitting?

Happy garter stitching!

Main photo: Ten projects in knitscene Spring 2020 feature garter stitch fabric and accents. All photos by Caleb Dane Young.

Get all these patterns and more in the latest issue of knitscene!

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