If you’ve ever tried stitching two pieces knitted in garter stitch, you know that most seams don’t work as well for garter stitch as they do for stockinette and other stitches. But there is one seam that is perfect for garter stitch.
In fact, this seam is useless for putting together knitted pieces made in most other stitch patterns. But if you knit blankets, hats and sweaters in garter stitch, you need to know this seam. Why? Because it creates a perfect join that has absolutely no ridge and is fully reversible, so both sides of the work look exactly the same.
I can’t say that this seam is invisible, because you can tell where the fabric was joined. But the pattern created by this seam is quite lovely and looks a lot like a pine tree to me. I’ve learned this seam from one of my most favourite reference books – “The Principles of Knitting” by June Hemmons Hiatt, and I’ve been using it to put together all projects knit in garter stitch ever since.
Here’s how it works (as usual, there is a video tutorial that shows every step described below):
Align two pieces side by side. It doesn’t matter whether you place them with the right side up or not, because the seam looks exactly the same on both sides.
We’ll start seaming at the cast on edge, so arrange the pieces so that the cast on edge is at the bottom of the work.
Now let’s take a quick look at the “anatomy of stitches” so we could better understand where exactly the wool needle should go.
As you can see in the photo below (and on any fabric knit in garter stitch), there are three loops at the very edge of the fabric – the bottom bar of the last stitch, the top bar of the last stitch, and the strand that is above the top bar of the last stitch. This strand appears when we turn the work to knit the next row, and this is the strand we’ll be looking for when we make this seam (let’s call it “the strand”).
Now that we know what to look for, let’s start seaming:
1. Thread a piece of yarn into a wool needle. It’s always best to leave a long tail for seaming when you cast on stitches, but such level of planning doesn’t often happen even to the most skilled of us 🙂
I will use yarn in a contrasting colour so you could better see how this seam is created, but of course, in most cases, we would use the same yarn that we used for knitting the project.
2. If you don’t use the cast on tail for seaming, make one or two stitches to attach the yarn at the cast on edge. Leave a small tail to weave in when you finish seaming and start making the stitches at the piece on the left so that the wool needle comes out of the piece on the right.
3. Insert the wool needle from the bottom up into “the strand” that is above the first garter ridge on the piece at the right.
Pull the yarn through.
4. Now insert the wool needle from back to front into “the strand” that is above the first garter ridge on the piece at the left.
Pull the yarn through, but don’t pull it too tight. This seam does not stretch, so it’s important to leave enough yarn in the seam to make sure the fabric is not jammed.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 to join every garter ridge of the piece on the right to the corresponding garter ridge on the piece on the left.
As you get into the flow of seaming, you can insert the wool needle into “the strands” on the right and on the left in one motion (as it is shown in the photo below and in the video tutorial). This will save you some time and will decrease the strain on your wrists by half.
When you finish seaming, make one or two stitches to join the bind off edges of two pieces. Secure the yarn and weave in the tails.
Now that you know a perfect way to seam garter stitch, your blankets, hats, sweaters and other projects worked in garter stitch will look so much nicer 🙂