Knitting expert Stephanie White shares a simple garter stitch tutorial from her new book, You Can Knit!
The simplest of all stitch patterns, garter stitch, is also my favourite. I love the graphic, ridged pattern it creates, and I love that I never have to worry about the edges curling. Garter stitch lies flat.
Super Bulky Garter Stitch Swatch
11 stitches × 26 rows = 4″ (10.2cm) square
Using the long tail cast on – instructions here – cast on 11 stitches.
Now that you’ve cast on, it’s time to actually start knitting! The first row is always the hardest, so hang in there. If you’re having trouble getting your needle into the stitches, you may have cast on too tightly. Not to worry. Simply pull the cast-on stitches off your needle and pull a loose end to unravel the stitches. Cast on again, but do it looser this time (practice makes perfect!). You can also use a larger needle or hold two needles together to make sure your cast-on stitches are loose enough.
There are a few things to keep in mind while knitting. First, the stitches you’re going to knit are always on the left-hand needle, and the stitches you’ve just knit will be on the right-hand needle. Also, try to be conscious of how tightly you’re
pulling the yarn. Don’t knit like you’re angry at the yarn, but also avoid being so laid back that your stitches fall right off the needle. Relax and have fun. The more you do it, the easier it will get.
1 Hold the needle with your stitches in your left hand. Push the stitches forward on the needle so that they’re close to the tip.
2 Hold the empty needle in your right hand. Slip your right needle through the loop of the fi rst stitch. Move from the left side on the front of the stitch through to the right side on the back of the stitch. The two knitting needles will form an X.
3 Use your left hand to hold the two knitting needles in place, pinching them where they cross. With your right hand, grab the yarn end that’s still attached to the ball. Double-check that you’ve grabbed the correct end—you won’t get very far if you start knitting with the short end. Wrap the yarn around the back of the right-hand needle and pull it down between the two needles.
4 Continue to hold the yarn in your right hand, pinching it between your thumb and forefi nger. At the same time, use your remaining fingers to grab hold of the right knitting needle. Slide the right needle down, under the left needle and through to the front, creating a new loop on your right needle.
5 Use the right needle to slide the stitch off the left needle. You now have 1 knit stitch on your right needle. The loose tail end may slip up a bit between your stitches at this point. Just hold it down and in place for the time being. Once you start your next stitch, it will stay put.
6 Slide your right needle into the next stitch on the left needle and repeat the process: in, around, to the front, and off.
7 Continue knitting until you’ve knit all the stitches on the left needle. Count the stitches to make sure you still have 11.
8 Flip your work around, moving the needle that’s holding stitches to your left hand again and the empty needle to your right. Continue knitting in each stitch and switching your needles at the end of each row until your swatch measures 4″ (10.2cm) from the cast-on edge.
At the end of every project, you will need to cast off. It’s fairly straightforward, but once again, you’ll want to pay attention to how tightly or loosely you’re knitting. If you cast off too tightly, the finished edge will also be tight and will pull in. If it’s too loose, the edge may ruffl e a bit. If you found yourself knitting tightly throughout the gauge swatch, you may want to swap your right-hand needle for a larger one as you bind off to keep from knitting too tightly.
9 Begin the next row, as usual, but knit only 2 stitches.
10 Slip your left needle through the first stitch on your right needle, from left to right.
11 Pull the first stitch on the right needle over the second stitch and slip it off the left needle. You now have 1 stitch on the right needle.
12 Knit another stitch so there are, again, 2 stitches on the right-hand needle.
13 Use your left needle to slip the first stitch over the second stitch on the right needle and then slip it off the left needle.
14 Continue in this fashion, knitting 1 stitch so that there 2 stitches on the right needle, then slipping the first stitch over the second, until you have no stitches left on the left needle and only 1 stitch on the right.
15 Cut the yarn, leaving a short tail (about 6″ [15.2cm]).
16 Pull your needle straight up, pulling the yarn through the stitch.
WEAVE IN THE ENDS
17 Thread one end onto a tapestry needle. Pull it up through the stitches, catching the backs of the stitches. Stitch up and down the piece until the end is woven in. Repeat with the second end.
18 Trim both ends close to the swatch, being careful not to cut your knitting.
And there you have it! You’ve made a garter stitch swatch that can be used as a coaster! How simple are these steps to follow – the photos are excellent and so clear. Learn more knitting stitches and knit and purl your way through 12 fun and easy projects such as the ones shown on the cover in Stephanie White’s book You Can Knit!