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Lesson 3: How to Knit a Border with Garter Stitch

Lesson 3: How to Knit a Border with Garter Stitch

Inside: Learn how to knit a border of garter stitch around a smooth stockinette center. Lesson 3 of the How to Knit for Complete Beginners series includes videos for both right and left handed knitters.

I’m excited about this lesson! You’re about to learn to solve a common knitting problem before it ruins your project.

I mentioned briefly in Lesson 2 that once you know the knit and purl stitches you can make many different stitch patterns. A stitch pattern is set combination of knit and purl stitches arranged by rows. A stitch pattern is the base for most knitting patterns.

So far, we’ve covered two stitch patterns: stockinette and garter.

In this lesson we’re going to combine these two stitch patterns into one knit project: the Basic Garter Border Washcloth.

how to knit a border with garter stitch
Stockinette stitch with Garter Border

Can’t I just use stockinette?

Stockinette stitch is smooth and makes a beautiful knit fabric. It’s the classic knit fabric that everyone pictures when they think of knitting.

stockinette stitch
Stockinette Stitch

But stockinette has one major flaw!

When used alone it curls up around the edges.

This happens because of the structure of the knit stitch. It tends to pull the fabric toward the front. Since the purl stitch is the reverse of the knit stitch using all purl stitches creates the same problem in reverse. All your eges will curl toward the back side of your work.

So how do I prevent curling?

It’s easy! Use a stitch pattern that has a balanced number of knit and purl stitches around the edges of your work.

Since you already know garter stitch, let’s use that one.

How to Add a Border in Garter Stitch:

  1. Cast on and knit a few rows of the garter stitch. (How many rows you knit depends on how large your project is. Bigger projects like blankets need wider borders.)
  2. After the bottom border is finished, knit a set number of stitches at the beginning and ending of each row in garter stitch.

Now it’s time to watch the video and grab your free pattern to start practicing!

This Lesson includes the Basic Garter Border Washcloth pattern for you to practice your new skills. Click the link to go to the free pattern page.


how to knit a border pin image

Lesson 3: How to Knit a Border in Garter Stitch Tutorial Video

If any of the videos below do not show they may be restricted to GoodKnit Kisses YouTube members only. Find out more about GKK Membership HERE!

These Lesson 3 timestamps will help you find specific parts of the video quickly:

00:00:00 Welcome
00:00:13 Video Overview
00:01:21 Beginning Notes
00:02:08 Supplies for 2 Options
00:06:18 How to Read the Basic Pattern
00:08:26 Pattern Instruction Walk Through
00:11:07 Casting On
00:12:52 Row 1 (Wrong Side)
00:13:41 HOT TIPS Working with a circular needle
00:15:12 Row 2 Right Side
00:16:07 Repeating Rows 1 & 2
00:17:24 Row 3 Adding Stitch Markers
00:21:12 FIXING MISTAKES; undo a stitch
00:21:51 Row 4 Slip Markers & Repeat RS ROW
00:23:37 Row 5 Repeating WS Row
00:24:55 FIXING MISTAKES; accidental increase
00:26:21 Knitting until Measured Length
00:27:41 HOT TIP Make a square for any size
00:30:50 Rows 6 & 7
00:31:47 Bind off/ Cast off
00:32:46 Wrap Up

Right handed

Left handed

Be sure to follow all the How to Knit for Complete Beginners Lessons.

  1. How to Knit – Garter Stitch for Complete Beginners includes Basic Garter Scarf pattern
  2. How to Knit – Purl stitch for Stockinette
  3. How to Knit – Stockinette with Garter Border includes Basic Bordered Dishcloth pattern
  4. How to Knit – Ribbing 1×1 and 2×2 includes Easy Ribbed Headband pattern
  5. How to Knit – Seed Stitch for Beginners includes Seed Stitch Washcloth pattern
  6. How to Knit – Moss Stitch for Beginners includes Moss Stitch Washcloth pattern
  7. How to Knit – Basketweave Stitch for Beginners includes Basketweave Cowl pattern
  8. How to Knit – Knitting in the Round includes Moss Cowl pattern.
  9. How to Knit – 5 Cast Ons for Beginners
  10. How to Knit – 4 Increases includes Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth pattern
  11. How to Knit – 5 Decreases includes Grandma’s Favorite Dishcloth pattern
  12. How to Knit – Slip Stitches