Just Beyond the Garter Ridge

by Ali on September 9, 2009

A while back, as I was playing with stitch patterns I found in my Harmony Guides, I fell into some stitch love with the garter slip stitches, which can be knit with 1, 2, 3, or 4 (or more!) colors, each choice bringing a distinct look to the knitted piece. I was in swatch heaven, ok, that might be going a bit overboard, but I was having fun with a couple washcloths.
I think my computer ate the washcloth pictures…
if, no when, I find them, I’ll edit this post to include them,
and hopefully get them a nice Ravelry page…
*Sidenote- a washcloth is a great little project to try out a new stitch pattern. It’s a usable swatch. Seriously, I love the practicality in this one, and I have 2 new washcloths to show for it.
**Another sidenote- my teenage son was cleaning up in the kitchen some months back (no, it was not the 1 and only time, we train ‘em to work their tails off, er, um, I mean to pitch in and lend a helping hand, every day, around here) and he was using a recently knit washcloth. He told me we should go to all hand knit washcloths, because they’re so much sturdier to clean with. Ah, music to my ears, (and 3 kids have washcloths on the needles again, sweet!)

Back to my scarf- after 2 washcloths, a single colored one, and a two-colored one, I knew I wanted to knit more with this stitch, and I wanted to see what it would look like knit up at a very loose gauge. I got my hands on a skein of Brushed Suri (Earl Grey) and I cast on for a light and airy scarf. I knit this on a US 11 needle, a fairly big needle for this yarn. I loved the result. This scarf is so soft and light, admittedly more adornment than utilitarian as far as winter gear goes way up here in the soon-to-be-frozen north, but we won’t be holding that against it.
I wanted to try out a different yarn for a two-colored version and went with 2 lovely shades of Alpaca Silk (Plum & Amethyst), this time using size 11 needles for a nice and loose look, but not quite loose enough for many small fingers to just poke on through- occupational hazard of mine. This scarf still needs to be blocked, but I’ll be sporting this one very soon, blocking or no blocking…

I’m going to offer up a basic recipe for this scarf, rather than a ‘stricter’ pattern. It looks lovely in 1 or 2 colors, the stitch pattern is interesting at both tighter and looser gauges (and so simple to knit!) and it would look nice in almost any width or length- whatever suits your fancy!
For both of these scarves I started out by casting on 21 sts and they both ended up approx 5″ wide. I used the darker color as Color A on the silk version, and I wish I had photographed my swatch when I did it the other way around, with the lighter yarn as Color A- a totally different effect, seriously, I think the slipped stitch showed up more that way, but I went with the darker Color A for the overall darker effect.

Anyhoo, back to the recipe-

You could cast on more or fewer stitches, depending on your yarn choice and your preferred scarf width, just keep it an odd number, or ‘multiple of 2, plus 1′. Then it’s an easy to memorize repeat of 4 rows, as follows-
Row 1 (RS): Knit.
Row 2 (WS): Knit.
I told you this was easy…
Now, here comes that part that is just beyond the garter ridge-
Row 3 (RS): *K1, slip 1 as if to purl, rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 4 (WS): *K1, bring yarn to front, slip 1 as if to purl, bring yarn to back, * rep to last st, k1.

That’s it, all there is to it, now just keep going, and going, and going, until to have a scarf length you love! (and then bind off in knit…)

If you are doing a 2 color version, Work the Rows 1 & 2 in Color A, and Rows 3 & 4 in Color B.


Happy knitting-
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