An Ode to Garter Stitch

The humble garter stitch: knit-stitch-only for row after row, with not a single purl or other embellishment to break the so-called monotony. It’s likely the first “pattern” we learn to knit, often left behind as we learn to yarn-over, knit-two-tog, and slip stitches for jazzier and more impressive knitting.

But lately, I’ve embraced the garter stitch as the ultimate in meditative, no-brainer knitting. Once you’ve mastered it (which can be done in an afternoon), you can mindlessly let your fingers work while you carry on a conversation, watch a TV drama, or just zone out. If you do make a mistake, rip it out and start over. It’s not like you’ve messed up some intricate lace work. You just get more knitting in.

Better yet, beginners and experts alike can make practically anything out of garter stitch – a simple bulky weekend sweater, a scarf, a placemat, a coaster. I once stayed at a beach house that didn’t have coasters for cold, icy drinks. Our family didn’t want to ruin the furniture, so I whipped out a set of coasters lickety split, leaving them in the house for the next vacationers. Garter stitch gets it done. 

Here’s my no brainer coaster pattern:

  • With cotton yarn and size 8 or 9 needles, cast on about 20 stitches (as you choose; I don’t micromanage these things).
  • Knit in garter stitch for about 20 rows (or about 4 inches), cast off
  • Add glass of cold iced tea. 

Happy Knitting! Cindy

Cynthia Coe is a blogger, avid knitter, and author of several books. Visit her Author Page on Amazon for more information and a complete list of her books.

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