Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Garter Stitch

I am a bind off away from finishing the penultimate section of the Maize and Blue Stained Glass Blanket. This section is a rectangle, roughly 42 inches wide and 9 inches tall, done in off-white Red Heart Super Saver in a colorway called "Aran." The beauty of this section that makes it such a sigh of relief: it's comprised entirely of garter stitch.

If you are new to the lingo of the knitting world, garter stitch is one of the two workhorse stitch patterns that make up most knitted fabrics. The other is stockinette stitch.

For flat knitting, garter stitch is what happens when you knit every stitch of every row, resulting in V-shaped knit stitches for every other row, with the bump-shaped purl stitch for the rows in between. This happens because knitting creates knit stitches and when knitting back and forth on a flat piece of fabric, the knit stitch is created on opposite sides of the fabric for every row. The purl stitch is really just the backside of a knit stitch, so on one side of the fabric, the first row will be knits and the second will appear as purls and the other side will have a first row of purls and a second row of knits. Garter stitch is reversible, looking fairly identical no matter which side of the fabric faces front.

To create stockinette stitch when knitting flat, you have to learn how to purl. Purling creates purl stitches. Thus, stockinette stitch, which involves knitting for a row and then purling for a row, results in all the knits being on one side of the fabric and all the purls being on the other.


When the main side of the garment is the purl bump side, this is called reverse stockinette stitch.

For circular knitting, because you knit every row from the same direction, the reverse is true: knitting every row creates stockinette stitch and garter stitch requires purling every other row.

I love really complex stitch patterns and unique constructions on small projects. It makes them take a little more time, but that's okay, because they really don't take too much time in the first place. A 70-inch by 50-inch flat-knit blanket, however, is just huge, so for something this time-consuming, I'd rather it not take any more time than necessary. Most of the sections, though, required lace patterning or color work, each of which takes a long time to do compared to the ever-efficient garter stitch (not to mention a significant amount of concentration and the added time required to figure out the charting). Hence the year it's taken to get this far.

I'm so into this nice, easy, meditative garter stitch. Just one knit after the other until this blanket is done.

...Well... almost done. There will need to be a crocheted edging. And possibly a fabric backing. But the blanket will be totally done knit-wise. Of course, first I have to buy another skein of the Caron worsted weight in Cape Cod. I've run out of blue yarn, and this last section, all blue.

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