Don't understand how I am doing garter

I am a new knitter (just two weeks). I bought a book and have watched online videos as well as visited a local store…but I try and try…and although I am trying to do blocks of knit and blocks of purl–I continue to get the garter stich (one knit, one purl)…I am not sure if I am not holding the material correctly. Please set me straight~! :slight_smile:

First off, it is confusing!

stitch names have NOTHING to do with process, the names are based on the final look of the fabric!

[B]1[/B] --Garter (knit flat) Knit every row.
(turn work at end of row!)

[B]2[/B]–Garter (knit in round) Knit 1 row, Purl 1 row. (do not turn work but continue in a ‘spiral’!)

[B]3[/B]–Stocking knit–(smooth 'V’s on one side, purly bumps on the other side… Knit flat.
R1 Knit, (every stitch)
R2: Purl (every stitch)
(repeat these 2 rows)

[B]4[/B] Stocking knit stitch (Knit in round)
R1 (and all R’s) Knit every stitch.

[B]5[/B]–*seed stitch(knit flat, even # of stitches cast on)
(turn work)
R2: Repeat row 1(repeat these 2 rows)

[B]5A[/B]–seed stitch (knit flat, ODD #of stitches cast on.
R1 *K1, P1, Repeat from * across row
R2: *P1, K1, Repeat from * across row,

[B]6-[/B]-1X1 ribbing… even # of stitches
R1 *K1, P1, Repeat from * across row
R2: *P1, K1, Repeat from * across row,
(repeat these 2 rows)
[COLOR=Red][B]NOTE[/B][/COLOR]: (this is the identical direction for seed stitch–the difference? [B]5A[/B] has [COLOR=Red]ODD[/COLOR] number cast on, [COLOR=Red]6[/COLOR] has[COLOR=Red] even[/COLOR] number cast on!

i could go on (to a count of 20 or more!)

It can be ([I]it IS[/I]) very confusing at first… very small differences (1 stitch!) can change the look of fabric immensely!

Get yourself to a class (now that you know how to do the basics, meet others and learn important details)

get yourself to a S&B or other group… (see lots of examples!)

Persue Video’s (here, a great collection) and look for others on You Tube)

[COLOR=Red]CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK![/COLOR] Knitting is easy… and damn hard, too!

(*Oh, and if you are an Irish girl living in Ireland… be aware… what i call seed stitch (me and everyone in US!) is called Moss stitch in most of Ireland and UK (and some Canadians use US name, and some use UK name!)

just as UK/other UK commonwealth(colonies!) use british english (and call a car’s front a bonnet, and the back the boot, (not US terms Hood or Trunk) there are many small but similar changes in knitting language (bind off vs cast off)
and Yarn forward vs Yarn Over!

so if you are confused, and having problems, remember, its not YOU–is Normal!

i hope some of this helped.

although I am trying to do blocks of knit and blocks of purl

K and P are the same thing, per se, they are just the other side of the same st. If you want stockinette ('V’s on one side, bumps on the other) you have to K a row, P a row. Repeat. Once the sq is done, you can flip it over for all Ps. If the sqs aren’t done separately and you want to work several inches of stockinette, K one side, P the other for the desired length. If the next ‘square’ is connected to the one you just did, you’d now need to do reverse stockinette, Purling on the side you were Knitting on previously…and Knitting on the side you were Purling before.

BTW, ‘one knit, one purl’ if [B]done as alternating sts[/B] will give you either ribbing or seed st. You need to alternate your rows. ‘Garter’ is all K sts, all rows.


Right you are Cam!

i like to say a stitch is like a coin… ’

One side of coin is head, (Knits)
one side of a coin is tails (Purls)

but there is only 1 stitch --it look different (depending on which side you are looking at… but its the same stitch.

There are game shows, that ask: Who is shown on US nickel?
(and contestants, who handle nickels every day are flummoxed!)

the best thing to learn in knitting is to identify a stitch.

are you looking at the knit side (a V) or the purl side (a bump)

Once you can see a stitch, and recognize which side you are looking at. (and again, it sounds easy–but isn’t always) --you are half way there to being a great knitter.

Thanks–this is all great information–I continue to learn!! Now my question is—
1 --Garter (knit flat) Knit every row.
(turn work at end of row!)

What do you mean by turn work at end of row?

I want to knit (the v) for several rows so I know that I have that stitch understood. I think that the “turning” might be what is throwing me off. I don’t mean to be doing one knit, one purl, but that is how my fabric is turning out…

Turning is just what you do at the end of the row - turn the needle so you can knit back.

I think a light bulb just went off—so, I “say” I am trying to do the knit stitch over and over, but in reality, I am turning the work and that is why although I “think” I am doing a knit, I am resulting in a knit row and a purl row??? So, if I want to do 10 rows of knit, so the v is all on the same side, I should actually be be doing a knit and a purl bc I am turning??? Do I have it???

Thanks so much for your help and patience? :slight_smile:

Yes that’s right. When you knit every row, you get garter st, which has both knit and purl rows on each side (or Vs and bumps) When you knit one row and purl the next, all the knit sts are on one side and all the bumps on the other. That’s called stockinette stitch. Stockinette st is what most people think of as `knit’, but you don’t get it by doing the knit st on every row. (unless you knit in the round, but that’s next week’s lesson… :wink: )

You knit a row (knit are facing you)(R1)

at the end of the row, you turn the work and put the knitting in left hand (ready to begin a new row)
NOW -the knits from R1 have their backs to you–you have the purl side of the stitch facing you.

YOU knit R2 (and the knits are facing you)
at the end of the row, you turn the work, and can see R1 and R2.

R1 has the knits (V)facing you R2 hhas the purly bumps facing you.

this is garter. its a fabric that has alternater rows of knits and purls on each side.

Stocking knit is different.
R1–knit all the stitches. (knits face you) Turn work
R2–Purl all the stitches (previous row has purls facing you, and the row you knit has purls… (and other side has Knits)

repeat these 2 rows, and you end up with a fabric that has:
all the stitches on one side of the fabric with V (knits all on one side)
and all the Purls on the other side.

BUT: knit and purl are just names for the side of the stitch you are looking at (going back to the coin; head/tails

if we are facing each other, and you hold up a coin, I see one side, you see the other.
if i see heads, you see tails.

if i see tails, you see heads.

its still just one coin, but it looks different depending on which side you look at!

Because in flat knitting you “turn the work” at the end of each row, you are always looking first at outside and then inside of the knitting (outside being what people see in a garment, inside the side that lies next to your skin.)

and even non knitters recognize “purls” (inside of undershirt/vest) and knits (smooth outside of undershirt/vest)
(even if the don’t know the name knit and purl–they recognize smooth vs bumpy surface)

(in some kinds of knitting, you don’t turn the work… (knitting in round for one, and knitting backwards for two (and machine knitting for three!)

and every stitch is knit. (and all the smooth V’s are one side.

but for MOST (not all but most!) hand knitting, you turn the work at the end of every row.

R1 is "right’(aka outside) –
R2 is “inside”

In hand knits, Knitting on both Outside row and Inside row give you garter (alternate rows of knits and purls)

to have all of the outside be knits, you need to alternate the stitches on the row.

R1 is all knit stitches–(outside),
R2 is all Purl stitches(inside).

Once you ‘get it’–you’ll give yourself a smack to the head, and say “D’oh!”–its so obvious.

but until then, its so confusing!

practice and paying attention, and time… and suddenly the light will go on… (and trust me, its not at all uncommon for new knitters to have this problem!)


To simplify it for you…

(The “bumps” are purls
The “V”'s are knit stitches.)

[B]The Knit stitch and the Purl stitch are opposites[/B] of each other. When you knit stitch the entire piece it 'looks" the same and if you purled the entire piece. You will see “bumps” and “V”'s.

For example, when you are done “knitting” a row you will see that the back looks like purls stitches. When you purl a row and look at the back it looks like a knitted row.


Ok—so, if I want all knits (v) on one side–I really have to go back and forth with knit, purl, knit, purl?

1 row all knit stitches
1 row all purl stitches

repeat (as many times as you want)
this is stocking knit stitch.

[COLOR=Red][B]Stocking Knit Stitch CURLS[/B][/COLOR].

it will roll up both lengthwise and crosswise!

it can be blocked (but it will roll!)

Its not a flaw, but the nature of stocking knit stitch.

the roll can be USED to your advantage, to make a rolled edge.
but a ‘square’ --or a scarf of stocking knit will roll (think of a cinnamon stick!) and roll and roll.

the cure to the roll is an edge stitch (5 to 10 stitches on ends and sides) --garter or ribbing, or lace edging, or a crochet edge will stop (or rather control) the curl.
So will seams

but left to its own, [B]stocking knit will curl! [/B]
(if you want that its fine… but if you want a flat fabric… stocking knit needs to be seamed(at the edge) or edged with some other stitch!

Yes on alternate rows. Knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 1 row, purl 1 row.

Thank you for all your help and responses—I finally got it figured out!! Now on to my first project! :slight_smile:

hi you mention that garter has alternate rows of knits and purls on each side, i’m confused because when i make a garter stitch it looks the same on the back side and the front side, they both look like purls and i cant see any v shapes

Welcome to the forum!
It’s not easy to see the V part of garter stitch at first. If you stretch it out a bit you can see the Vs more clearly. You can also look at the last row that you knit. Pull down on the knitting a bit and you’ll see bumps on one side and Vs on the other side of the row.

See especially about 2:00min.
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ok thank you i will make a new square of the garter stitch and see if i can see the v shapes when i stretch it out

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