Some knitters love garter stitch, others – don’t. No matter whether you belong to the first or the second group, the stitch pattern described in this tutorial will give you a new perspective on the good old garter stitch.
The fabric created by this stitch pattern has all the properties of garter stitch, but it looks very different. The colours are mixed together to form a pattern that looks somewhat like a two-colour woven fabric.
The magic happens when we change the angle of the fabric – if we look at it from the cast on edge, one of the colours becomes predominant.
When we turn the swatch and look at it from the other end, the fabric seems to be done mainly in the other colour.
I learned this amazing way to work garter stitch from a fantastic book “Pop Knitting” by Britt-Marie Christoffersson. It is great that Britt-Marie Christoffersson thought of this simple technique that turns a simple garter stitch pattern into a mesmerizing play of colour (as well as a plethora of other mind-blowing stitch patterns), and I’m happy to share this stitch with you in this tutorial 🙂
We’ll see how we can make this pattern when we work in the round and when we work back and forth. If you are a visual learner, click here to watch every step described below in a video tutorial.
Because it is a two-colour pattern, we’ll need yarn in two colours that look nice together. While we are testing this pattern, it is better to use yarn in two solid colours. I suspect that this stitch will also look great when knitted in a variegated + solid colour, but it is easier to understand how the pattern works when we use two different colours of yarn.
As to the needles, we’ll need double pointed or circular needles in a size that works well with the thickness of the yarn we plan to use. This stitch pattern can’t be worked on straight needles. We’ll use double-pointed needles even when we work this stitch back and forth.
If you decide to use this stitch pattern for a flat project that has many stitches (e.g. a wide scarf or a blanket), use circular needles.
The trick to making this beautiful colour pattern is to change colours in every row or round. No matter whether we work in the round or make a flat piece, we’ll work in the usual garter stitch pattern, but we’ll work one row/round in colour A and the next one in colour B.
It is easier to change colours that way when we work in the round, so let’s start by making a seamless swatch.
Cast on any number of stitches using the darker or the brighter of the two colours. This colour will be our colour A.
Arrange the stitches for working in the round. Feel free to use any type of setup you would normally use when you work in the round – double-pointed needles, one short circular needle, two circular needles or one long circular needle and the magic loop technique.
Tie the yarn in colour B (the other colour) to the yarn in colour A with a simple knot. Move the knot as close to the bottom of the first stitch as possible.
Round 1: Knit all stitches using the yarn in colour B.
Round 2: Purl all stitches with colour A.
Round 3: Knit all stitches with colour B.
Round 4: Purl all stitches with colour A.
Repeat these 4 rounds.
If you want to make a nice line in the spot where you change colours, always bring the yarn that you plan to use in the next round from under the yarn that you used in the previous round. Watch how to do it.
Naturally, the yarns will twist. Stop after every few rounds to untwist them. We don’t want them to become tangled, right? 🙂
Now, that we understand how the pattern is formed, let’s see how we can make this pattern when we work back and forth.
Cast on any number of stitches using the yarn in colour A. Tie the yarn in colour B at the very bottom of the first stitch.
The idea remains the same – we work in garter stitch changing colours in every row.
After rows 1 and 3, the yarn that we need to work the next row will be on the other side of the work. To get to that yarn, we’ll slide stitches to the other tip of the needle. That’s why we can work only with double-pointed or circular needles.
Here’s how to do it row by row.
Row 1: Knit all stitches with colour B.
Do not turn your work. Instead, slide all stitches to the other end of the needle.
Row 2: Purl all stitches with colour A.
Turn your work.
Row 3: Purl all stitches with colour B.
Do not turn your work. Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle.
Row 4: Knit all stitches with colour A.
Turn your work.
Repeat these 4 rows to form the pattern.
No matter whether you work in the round or back and forth when you are ready to bind off stitches, do it in the row worked with colour A, the same colour that we used to cast on stitches. The project will look much nicer when its top and bottom edges are worked in the same colour.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.
Dealing with Unfinished Projects
Dictionary of Knitting Symbols and Abbreviations – E-Book
Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified
Knitting Collection #6
Simple Socks in Any Size with Any Yarn
Top-Down Hat in Any Size with Any Yarn