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Garter Stitch: It's New Again

Mar 5, 2012

    
Fiona is a beautiful knit cardigan that showcases one of the unsung heroes in the craft: Garter stitch.
Garter stitch is probably the first stitch you learned when you started knitting. It was for me, and I knit project after project in garter stitch. Hats, mittens, scarves, felted stuff, hot pads, wash clothes, and so on.

I still have many of those projects, but I abandoned garter stitch after I had it mastered, and I'll bet a lot of you did, too.

I've come across a cardigan knitting pattern that might bring me back into the garter-stitch fold, though. It's called Fiona, from the new book Essentially Feminine Knits by Lena Holme Samsøe.

Lena has this to say about her lovely pattern:

Garter stitch is one of the easiest patterns to knit. You knit all the stitches on every row for an even, ridged structure that looks great on both sides. Fiona is a garter stitch coat with tucks. The tucks are made by knitting one stitch in the row below running all the way up from the lower edge-straight up the tuck.

The coat is knitted with two different yarns that combine for a lovely, lofty texture: a fine and sturdy wool yarn plus a light and fluffy kid mohair and silk yarn.

—Lena Holme Samsøe, from Essentially Feminine Knits

The tucks are the star of this pattern; here's how you make them:

    
The tucks are my favorite! Cute, huh?
Left Tuck (tuck folds toward the left)
Worked over 9 stitches.

Place the next 3 stitches on a cable needle and hold in front of work, place the next 3 stitches on a second cable needle. Arrange the two cable needles with the left needle at the back, the second cable needle in the center, and the first cable needle in front. *Knit the first stitch from each needle together*; repeat from * to * 2 times more, making sure to knit the last stitch of the top needle in the row below-6 stitches decreased.

Right Tuck (tuck folds toward the right)
Worked over 9 stitches.

Place the next 3 stitches on a cable needle and hold in front of work, place the next 3 stitches on a second cable needle. Arrange the two cable needles with the left needle in the front, the second cable needle in the center, and the first cable needle at the back. *Knit the first stitch from each needle together*; repeat from * to * 2 times more, making sure to knit the first stitch of the top needle in the row below-6 stitches decreased.

Isn't Fiona a beauty? And versatile, too. You could easily make the cardigan a little shorter if the amount of garter stitch is daunting to you. Just make sure you knit it long enough so the tucks stand out well.

Essentially Feminine Knits will be available soon, so reserve your copy now!

Cheers,


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Comments

on Mar 12, 2012 9:21 AM

I found the instructions for the tuck in this post to be confusing at best.  You really need an illustration for that one.  There was a knitting pattern for a top a few years back that created an inverted box pleat (or tucks) by making a simple cable twist, twice, holding the cable needles first one way then reversed in order to make the pleat.  Use the number of stitches needed to create the desired depth in the pleat.  If  designing your own pattern, you can make a swatch to experiment for depth and to see if you want the pleats to face each other or face outward.  The cable method seemed much easier than the one above.  Plus you don't get thick fabric from knitting a bunch of stitches together.  

kitty e wrote
on Mar 11, 2012 8:36 AM

I had thought that a peplum would work well for a shorter coat.  Will have to ruminate on just how 'peppy' it should.  I think it would be a great addition to any wardrobe.

Great Pattern.  Can't wait to see it.

chriscol wrote
on Mar 10, 2012 3:37 PM

Please explain what you mean by this: "knit the first stitch of the top needle in the row below".

Thank you.

SonjaM@6 wrote
on Mar 10, 2012 10:56 AM

Thanks for reminding me about how wonderful the garter stitch is.  I just ordered Essentially Feminine Knits and can't wait for it to arrive in May.  I will probably knit every pattern in the book.  Happy Knitting Everyone, :)

AmandaB@41 wrote
on Mar 5, 2012 11:16 PM

This is a beautiful coat!

How sturdy are the tucks at the top? I'd be concerned (with my luck) that it would stretch and pull after just a few wearings. Also, could these tucks be used to create a small peplum? Or would that just look weird to have lots of tucks in a relatively short vertical distance?

on Mar 5, 2012 11:58 AM

I'm actually loving garter stitch in an oddball sort of way after doing more than 50 rows of it in fingering weight yarn. It's produced a pretty pattern...and I'm thinking even a child could do this pattern in a fingering weight yarn...all children learned how to knit with these thinner yarns years ago. I'm certain one could do it today and an all garter st pattern makes it easy peasy. (My hat pattern is the Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch in Time, vol. 2)