Garter Stitch Step-by-Step Knitting Guide

Garter stitch is easily the easiest stitch pattern to create when knitting, even if you’re new to it. Double-sided, it’s your perfect choice for knitting flat pieces, like scarves and knitted blankets, where you don’t want the edges to curl.

And if you’re looking for knitting patterns to inspire you, look no further – we’ve used this basic knitting technique to create Orinoco’s scarf in our free Womble knitting pattern.

Garter stitch uses only one stitch – the basic knit stitch. You knit each stitch in each row, simply stopping to turn your work over when you’re ready to start a row again. This is the stitch you will learn when you first learn to knit. And, along with the purl stitch, it also forms the basis of other knitting stitch styles.

Elasticated garter stitch creates a ribbed double-sided fabric – identical inside and out.

What you need to knit garter stitch

Garter stitch can easily be created using any knitting needles accompanied by the appropriate yarn thickness. Even if you use circular needles working this technique on a flat piece, garter stitch is a dream.

If in doubt about needle size, check the label on your ball of yarn – it will give you a recommended needle size to use for that particular yarn weight. If you are mixing yarns, make sure they all match the needle sizes and, more importantly, the care and washing instructions. You will thank us later!

For garter stitch, use any knitting needle with the appropriate yarn weight.

Garter stitch step by step with photos

Cast on the number of stitches you have chosen.

How to make a knit stitch

1. Bring your yarn to the back of the work. It will stay there the entire time you work on this simplest stitch pattern.

garter stitch

Always start with the thread at the back of your work

    2. Insert your right needle into the first stitch of your left needle.

    garter stitch

    Insert your right needle into the stitch

    3. Take the yarn and wrap it underneath to the left and right of the right needle tip at the back of the work.

    garter stitch

    Wrap the thread under to the left and to the right of the tip of the right needle

    4. Gently bring the wrapped yarn towards you and through the stitch on the left needle you worked in.

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    The first stitch on the left needle has been worked

    5. Now that this first stitch on the left needle has been knitted, gently push it up to the tip of the left needle and let it drop. Now let’s move on to the next one!

    garter stitch

    Continue to knit throughout the row

        6. Continue knitting the rest of the row until you reach the end and there are no stitches left. Turn your work over and switch hands so that the row you worked on now rests on your left hand needle and your right needle is empty.

        7. Repeat to work another row, and another, and another – until your work reaches the desired length. When you’re ready, just jettison.

        garter stitch

        Garter stitch creates a ribbed double-sided fabric

        Top Garter Stitch Tips

        If you find that your edges are wobbling a bit, don’t worry – this is because the tension (how tightly you knit or hold your yarn) becomes too tight or too loose when you reach the end of a row. To avoid this, try keeping your yarn when you start a new row or making a slip stitch at the start of each row.

        The garter stitch has very nice horizontal ridges – it’s a nice texture. Try embroidering or changing colors a few rows for interesting effects.

        Check out our other video tutorials, including how to knit seed stitch and our stockinette stitch. Don’t forget to also try our free Prima knitting patterns!

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