Amaranto Scarf: Garter Stitch Knitting on the Bias
Garter stitch is having a moment. Garter stitch projects have made a comeback in recent times, which is an interesting phenomenon considering garter stitch is the most basic fabric in knitting, the first thing all knitters learn. You only need to know how to cast on and how to make the knit stitch to create something in garter stitch (and, you know, how to bind off if you want a finished project). Once the muscle memory kicks it becomes a pretty mindless task—a lot of knitters can knit away without looking at what they’re doing.
Another aspect of garter stitch that is appealing, besides the sheer ease of it, is its texture. It’s an orderly, clean texture that’s deeper than stockinette stitch. The fabric usually has some bounce to it. Garter stitch projects can look either simplistic and young or sophisticated and high-fashion, depending on the design and palette.
Designers and knitters are using garter stitch lately in atypical ways on the sophisticated end of the spectrum. As a lover of the simplest of knitting, I am here for this garter stitch trend, and I have an awesome garter stitch project to show you.
The Amaranto Scarf is a delicious garter stitch project. It’s super pretty and super simple. It incorporates seven colors of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, an incredible single-ply yarn that includes both solids and semi-solids. It’s knit on the bias, which basically means it’s knit diagonally using Make One (M1) Increases.
In this pattern, the increases go up one side of the scarf, and sectional bind-offs occur at each stripe change on the other side. The M1s plus the occasional bind-offs are what create the zigzag edge—a really cool idea that is also brilliantly simple.
My dear friend and coworker Rachel Koon has this beautiful purple and blue Amaranto Scarf, which I fell in love with when I noticed her wearing it. I knit one for myself in a completely different colorway that has gorgeous browns, a red, and a natural. It was a delightful project that zoomed as I knit the lucious yarn with a pair of addi Turbos. It was like a really good book, or addicting Netflix show: I didn’t want it to end.
The designer of the Amaranto Scarf, Jocelyn Tunney, also loves garter stitch and simple knitting. I asked her about her inspiration for this pattern and this is what she had to say:
I really love exploring geometric shapes in garter stitch, finding clever ways to construct them, and also creating color gradients or unique color combos. Manos [del Uruguay] Silk Blend is my favorite Manos yarn—it’s lovely to work with in your hands, and the colors are just brilliant because of the silk content.
That season [I designed this pattern], Manos came out with a bunch of new colors on Silk Blend that I fell in love with and that I knew I needed to use in a design together somehow. Four of the colors used in Amaranto were new that season! I’m always exploring, “What if I increased here, and knit straight here, and decreased here, and picked up stitches there—THEN what kind of shape might I get?”
I also love drawing shapes inspired by what I’ve seen out in the world or in fashion and fabrics, and then I sit down and think about all of the ways it could be constructed. I love simple knitting—something you can get into the groove of quickly, but that won’t bore you. Usually this involves some kind of simple structural repeat, but changing colors keep things fun. I find it very motivating to work through a skein because I know the next one will be a brand new color and that excites me.
If you’re looking for a project that requires little concentration, very basic techniques, and stunning results, I highly recommend this one. It’s a blast! You can get all the colors together in a beautiful loaf in the brand-new Zinnia colorway, or the original blue and purple (which y’all picked as one of your favorite kits of 2017!)
There is even enough yarn at the end of the project that you could use to make a tiny version of the Amaranto Scarf. (I almost did, and I may yet because I love the idea. Stay tuned.)
Happy simple knitting,