Exploring the Simplest Stitch: Garter Stitch Revival

When a knitter first picks up needles, one of the first stitch patterns she learns to work is garter stitch. This basic stitch pattern is not only timeless—a knitter will use it throughout her knitting life— but it also opens up a world of knitting options, as it is an incredibly versatile stitch. As I sat down to chat with my Interweave colleagues about this most basic of stitches, it became clear that it is a stitch that deserves more attention. Interweave’s newest knitting book, Garter Stitch Revival, explores garter stitch and its ability to create stunning pieces.

Late last year, Kerry Bogert chatted with Holli Yeoh, contributing designer to Garter Stitch Revival and author of the book’s forward. Holli spoke about how exciting it was for her to re-discover and play with this stitch. In Garter Stitch Revival, talented designers like Holli have worked garter stitch into innovative designs that explore its versatility. My chats with my Interweave colleagues revealed their favorite aspects of this lively little stitch. It is self-stabilizing and reversible. It can be used to finish edges because it doesn’t curl. It creates springy, stretchy fabric. Depending on the aggressiveness with which a knitter blocks her piece, it can create highly textured fabric that resembles hills and valleys, or it can become a denser fabric that resembles a field of grass.

Let’s take a peek at a few of the brilliant projects from the book!

garter stitch

Melissa LaBarre’s Autumn Evening Shrug perfectly displays how much garter stitch can vary within a single garment. The back and sleeves are worked from side to side so that the ridges are vertical, while the lower back shows off a snugger fabric that cinches at the waist. Made with chunky yarn, this shrug is not only cute, but it’s a relaxing, quick knit to boot!

The Boardwalk Brioche Cowl by Jessie Ksanznak is worked in the round in two colors and features horizontal stripes worked in garter stitch and vertical stripes worked in brioche stitch. There’s no right side or wrong side with this cowl because garter stitch is reversible! I especially love how Jessie’s color choice highlights the characteristic ridges of the garter stitch.garter stitch

One aspect of garter stitch that the Interweave gals and I appreciate is how well it works as an accent stitch. The Asymmetrical Cropped Jacket by Toby Roxane Barna delights in using garter stitch to give the garment some sass. Along with the short-row buttonhole band on the right front, garter stitch is used to edge the sleeves and collar as well as to work a beautiful back panel.

These three projects are only a taste of the wonderful variety of garments and accessories found in Interweave’s Garter Stitch Revival. The rest are definitely worth exploring!

—Lisa Espinosa
Editorial Coordinator, Books

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