How to Knit a Garter Stitch for Beginners

The garter stitch is one of the first stitch patterns beginner knitters attempt when learning how to knit for the first time. It makes for a simple but beautiful stitch that lays flat and has a nice texture.

Scroll on down to find a full written tutorial as well as a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to knit a garter stitch.

What is a Garter Stitch Knitting?

A garter stitch in knitting is made by knitting each row or continuous knit stitches in a row. The first row of knit stitches; the side facing out is considered the right side (RS) of the fabric.

Here is an example of the RS abbreviation being used:

Row 1: (RS) K
Row 2 to ?: Repeat Row 1

A single row of knit stitches produces a V on the front of the work and a bump on the back. More than one row of knit stitches look the same on both sides and are completely reversible.

Since both sides of the garter stitch looks the same, it creates a simple, but interesting fabric that lays flat and works great with any yarn weight, from lace to super bulky. Projects made with a knit stitch are stretchy both length and width wise.

All sorts of projects can be created thanks to the garter stitch, from hats and scarves to blankets and sweaters. My favorite knit project with this stitch is a garter stitch blanket pattern, since its beginner-friendly and looks great when finished.

Garter Stitch in Knitting

Supplies Needed to Make a Garter Stitch

To be able to knit a garter stitch, you will need to have yarn, a knitting needle and scissors on hand. Learn more about each of these essential knitting tools below.

Yarn

You can use any weight of yarn to make a garter stitch in knitting, from lightweight to super bulky yarn types. This example shows a five weight yarn, but you are welcome to use any type of yarn you may have when learning how to knit this stitch.

Knitting Needle

For this tutorial, I used a 10 mm sized knitting needle. The knitting needle size will vary depending on what yarn you decide to use. The recommended needle size can be round on the label of most yarns on the market.

Other Supplies

To complete this stitch tutorial, you will also want to have something to cut the yarn when you are done, such as a pair of stork scissors. They are not a necessity, but they are fun to have. My stock scissors are the designated yarn scissors in my house, which are only allowed to be used for my knit and crochet pattern creations.

Stitches used in the Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is continuous rows of the knit stitch, or in other words, all the rows of this pattern are made using the knit stitch. The knit stitch is an easy beginner stitch to learn and is the first stitch that most start with when learning how to knit for the very first time.

Learn more about the Knit Stitch or (k) abbreviated below.

Tip: Follow along with our step by step knit stitch tutorial with photos for extra help before starting the garter stitch tutorial below.

Garter Stitch Pattern

Skill Level: Basic

Materials:

  • Yarn
  • Knitting needle that corresponds to the yarn you have on hand
  • Scissors

Stitches & Abbreviations:

  • k = knit stitch
  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • rep = repeat

Notes:

  • Tutorial is in standard US terms

How to do the Knit Stitch (k):

  • Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle. Make sure it goes from left to right into the front of the stitch.
  • Take the yarn behind, bring it up and around the right needle clockwise.
  • Using the tip of the right needle, draw a loop of the working yarn through the stitch
  • Slip the stitch of the left needle. You have now created a stitch on the right needle.
  • The row is complete when all the stitches have been transferred off the left needle and onto the right needle.

Garter Stitch Tutorial

To learn the garter stitch, you will need to learn the knit stitch, which is shown below from the start to row 1. Row 2 creates the garter stitch when another row of knit stitches is created. More than one row of knit stitches is a garter stitch.

To Start

Cast on any number of sts

Row 1

Step 1: Insert the right needle in the first stitch on the left needle. Make sure it goes from left to right into the front of the stitch.

Step 2: Taking the yarn behind, bring it up and around the right needle clockwise.

Step 3:Using the tip of the right needle, draw a loop of the working yarn through the stitch.

Step 4: Slip the stitch off the left needle. There now is a new stitch on the right needle.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1-5 for the remaining stitches until no stitches remain on the left needle and all the stitches are on the right needle.

Row 2 to ?

Repeat row 1 until desired length.

Save to Knit It later

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to knit a garter stitch! If you need any clarification, please feel free to contact me!

Common Questions about the Garter Stitch

How Can I tell how many rows of knit stitches I have made?

The garter stitch creates bumpy rows that have interlocking loops. Those bumps are caused by two rows of knitting, so each bumpy row counts as two rows of the knit stitch.

What Can I knit with the Garter Stitch?

Since the garter stitch creates a flat project, it is prefect to create knit scarves and knit blankets with.