Thursday, January 17, 2008

Garter Stitch Lovefest

Silk Garden Garter Stitch Love
There was a stage in this knitter's life when I disliked nothing more than the wavy gravy look of garter stitch. (Incidentally, Wavy Gravy is Ben & Jerry's grossest flavor. Ever). Garter stitch seemed so unsophisticated and screamed 'amateur hour' to me. My disdain and revulsion were unequivocal.
Silk Garden Garter Stitch Love
But I must say that within the past several months I have done an about-face and am absolutely smitten with the old world stylings of this simple stitch. I can't get enough of it. Upon receiving the Opinionated Knitter several days ago, the frontispiece alone stopped me in my tracks and put me into a mini-trance. I stared and stared and couldn't stop staring.
Silk Garden Garter Stitch Love
The garter stitch. It's so right. And when done in Noro? Well that my friends just sends me into paroxysms, gasping for air because of the rustic charm of the two together. What took me so long?

It's Love American Style, starring me and garter stitch in Noro. Right now I'm working on a plain jane scarf in Silk Garden (2 skeins of #242, alternating every-other-row for maximum mini-striping) and the simple beauty of it all is killing me. All other knitting has ceased for the moment. We're talking about a grinding, screeching halt, here.
Silk Garden Garter Stich Love

Such changes of heart can't be specific to me alone. I am very curious: what in the world of knitting did you used to despise, but now love? Or vice versa, what do you currently loathe that you once adored?

46 comments:

gradschoolknitter said...

I've got to agree - lately there has been something rustically charming about garter stitch for me too. I don't know if I could stomach it for a full sweater or anything (although picturing it in my head it seems a rather pleasant finished product...) but I'm definitely leaning towards some smaller garter stitch projects. Also, I generally am not a sock knitter but I've been struck by the urge to knit socks lately. Another pair of monkeys or even a few design ideas that are knocking around in my head.

Carrie said...

I'm the same about the garter.. I did garter stitch scarves for years and it totally represented "amateur" so I stopped doing it.. now it's somehow quaint and simply beautiful! I used to love making scarves but now I just can't stand the thought! I also hate moss stitch.. I hope that reverses someday because there are some beautiful moss stitch patterns out there :)

kim said...

Love American Style - Ha! Remember Larry Storch?! Ah, I digress...

I don't think I can ever embrace sock knitting. I can respect it but not adore it. I used to love making sweaters, and now I cannot seem to finish one to save my life. I think it's on account of the short attention span...

Olga said...

I use to hate knitting socks, so fiddley-I thought! But now its all I've been knitting. Only took ten years to get the sock love....
And I remember Larry Storch!!! He was also on that show about the calvery- mind won't let go and give me the title!

weezalana said...

Back in my supernewbie days, I couldn't stand cables. Now, I can't get enough of them! They are my sun, my stars, my moonlit sky...

Hmmm...well, I used to adore knitting and now *it* hates *me*, so I guess all bets are off. :P

Miss T said...

Nice post! I love garter stitch, too. There's something so essential and perfect about it.

Anonymous said...

I love garter stitch, if I can remember to slip the first stitch in each row, and then knit into the back of the last stitch on each row. I hated my edges until I started doing that.

Hmm, your questions are interesting. I made about 6 or 7 Clapotises (Clapotes?) in a row, and now I can't even bring myself to think about them. Same thing with Danica, I made mini-Danica's and modified Danica's and mega-Danica's. Now I get hives when I think about doing another one!

-Carolyn ("yarntherapy88" on Flickr)

Heather said...

You have read my mind. I even posted once about my garter prejudice and now I am choking on the big fat crow I have to eat.
Love it now. I think I had to prove to myself I wasn't struggling to learn anymore and since I feel more accomplished, the charm of the simple stitch is no longer obscured by my ego.

Still hate picking up a zillion stitches for neckbands though.

Dove Knits said...

I used to hate garter, too! And seed stitch. Now, I love both!

I also hate using acrylic now.

Stella said...

I'm totally with you on the garter stitch. I've done a slow but complete about-face on that subject, and I blame Jared almost entirely.

There really isn't anything that I hate, other than unfortunate yarn/pattern combinations. But I have to rotate through things -- I can't do two lace projects in a row, for example. I constantly find myself jonesing for whatever I'm not currently doing.

Jennifer said...

Chunky knits! They were so over in my mind, but my love affair with Plaid has made them new again. I'm with you on the garter too, but I agree with Stella - that's been all about Jared. He could make fun fur look good ;)

kim said...

Brooklyn Tweed made me see garter stitch in a whole new light.

I still dislike making lace and I have not budged on my anti-sock stance.

spiraling said...

For me, it's noro. I couldn't understand why everyone was so nuts about a scratchy, VM filled $20 a skein yarn, until I tried it.

Now I have six kinds waiting to turn into knit perfection. Yeah.

Robin said...

I only like garter stitch with variegated/self-striping yarns like that Noro! It looks great. I really don't like the actual process of "doing" garter stitch. I don't like that the stitches are oriented slightly differently than they are for stockinette (seriously, there is a small difference - I don't know if anyone else notices this..) And yeah, I still like cables and lace, and always have, and don't like sock knitting. No changes - at least not YET!

peaknits said...

I was once not too excited about a kitchener - now, I love it - I don't even need total silence anymore - maybe that was the turning point, uh? The garter does have some unique charm - I really need to get some Elizabeth Zimmerman!

~Kristie said...

My mind still hasn't changed regarding blocking and seaming. I don't like 'em, but I'm most definitely hoping that changes.

Janet said...

There was a time when I was officially "against" scarf knitting of any kind. I thought that knitting rectangles was somehow below me and my awesome skillz. I desperately wanted to learn new things and become a Better Knitter.

Funny thing is... these days, most of what I knit are easy-patterned-scarves.

So I'm totally over being "over" scarves!

sophanne said...

With you on the garter- I thought it was something that knitting babies did because they didn't know how to purl. 'doh. So many beautiful EZ's Baby Surprise Jackets changed me on that- now I have to get around to it.

Still not friends with socks on circs (one or two-socks or needles) all that damn cord whipping around- how stupid is that. I'm pretty sure that sentence will come back to kick me in the ass. I give it a year.

Beverly said...

I used to fear and loathe kitchner, but now I look forward to it. Also, I thought lace knitting was silly until I knit my wedding stole; now I'm smitten with lace.

SJ said...

I totally agree with your thoughts about garter stitch. I used to hate it because I thought it looked so quaint and "homemade" (not in the good sense). But then I was introduced to EZ and discovered a new love for the mighty garter stitch. There is a simple elegance in it, really. And there's something to be said about the stress-relieving, meditative powers of just knitting.

TopHat said...

I used to be a yarn snob. I WOULD NOT use acrylic at all. But I now know that acrylic has its place. Sometimes an acrylic blend is good, especially when I'm making gifts. I know I'll take care of my knits, but if I'm making a gift (especially for someone with lots of kids), it needs to be washable.

Mintyfresh said...

I think it's kinda of like ee cummings not capitalizing. Since we know he KNOWS that that's the "proper" thing to do, when he does it the more "simple" way, it's art. same thing with garter and more experienced knitters :)

janet said...

I'm a new knitter and I think St stitch is really boring. However, since I'm struggling to finish a mere 8 rows of lace knitting I can't wait to get to St st land.

anne said...

You've got me re-thinking my garter stitch disdain, for sure.

Lazuli said...

Hmm. For a long time, I didn't mind purling, thought it was just fine. When I switched to knitting continental, though, I stopped liking the purl stitch that my friend had so kindly taught me alongside the knit so that I wouldn't dislike the purl. I'm finally getting comfortable enough with purling continental that I don't mind it, anymore - it must have been those shawls and all the garter-in-the-round on Cobblestone!

schrodinger said...

You know, I've actually got to second the garter-stitch hate, then love thing. I'm also much more of a lover of tweed than I would have imagined when I first started out, and a even bigger hater of variegated than ever. Although I'm sure I will changed my tune in a few years time again...

tiennie said...

Yes, love how the garter stitch shows off the yarn!

Pikku- Kettu said...

That texture is truly gorgeous! The stitch, the yarn, the colors. I'm swooning over here, I tell you.

nova said...

I used to love knitting socks, I thought they were the perfect project. I am so over socks right now... I heart your noro garter scarf. Marvelous.

a friend to knit with said...

i have been thinking about this since yesterday. i don't really know what i like now, and never did.
although when i did make that blanket out of acrylic, that is something i would have NEVER done in the past. my mom taught me to never waste time with acrylic. but hey, i LOVED it!
i do love how this garter stitch looks out of noro!

gypsyknits said...

I love the look of cables but detested using a cable needle. For 30 some odd of years of knitting, I fought with making cables. Until recently. I just discovered cabling without a cable needle and I am smitten. I absolutely love making cables now. I'm off to knit, cable style.
p.s. your noro scarf and your so called scarf are gorgeous.

Lone Knitter said...

I've always loved garter stitch. I'm using it with handspun right now, and it's do die for. Love that Noro color.

Sonya said...

I've come around on garter stitch too. I can't get into lace shawls. Tried. Can't do it. I used to hate Donegal Tweed with a passion. Now I'm rather fond of it.

WonderMike said...

Well, the one thing that I can say about my loves and hates in knitting is that it always reverses WITHOUT FAIL:

1. Wool - yes, I hear you gasp, but I'm from Louisiana and now live in California. Wooly sweaters are too damn hot, but I'm now finding the love in fine merino, cotton fleece and hand-dyed sock yarns.

2. Colorwork - I used to think Fair Isle and intarsia sweaters were an evil 80s holdover until I was introduced to Alice Starmore. Now, I'm a stalker.

3. Garter Stitch - I, like you, thought GS was way too kindergarten, until Lord Jared reminded me that EZ knew this long before I was born. Garter is so fun and squishy and forgiving.

4. Knitting Magazines - Being a guy I find most patterns in magazines to be for women, babies or colorblind men. But, now I can see the beauty in discovering a new technique, reading a bit of history or just admiring the designs for my sister knitters and their kids.

So, I know it's only a matter of time before I find the love for lace, seaming and acrylic! Thanks for a thought-provoking and fun post. :-)

ali said...

Yep, I used to despise garter stitch as well... it's still not my favorite, but I don't hate it anymore...
And well, that Noro is rather tempting- that may push me to the garter side...

Happy knitting-
ali

James said...

Two words: Fun fur. Shut up, I'm sure you did it too. I never actually knit with it, but somehow it ended up in my house.

Yarnhog said...

Orange. I always thought of it as red's ugly stepsister. Hated it. With my red hair? Are you kidding? Then I did a chanel-like cardigan in burnt orange, and now I appear to be hooked. Looking at my recent yarn purchases, I discovered that more than half of them are some shade of rust/orange/copper.

Wannietta said...

I'm still not a fan of garter stitch, but in the right yarn it can have a certain appeal. I do love the utter simplicity and mathematical ease of it though.

nicole said...

"Kiiling me softly with your pooost, telling my whole liiiiife, with your wooooords...."

Yep, me too, exactly how you describe it. It's all EZ's fault (with a good dose of Brooklyntweed to throw me over the edge!) I knit a garter stitch scarf out of beautiful Noro Kochoran, but lengthwise (casting on over 200 stitches!), which means the colours were even more subtly striped. One of the simplest, yet most beautiful things I've ever knit.

Diana said...

I'm definitely not a garter stitch snob; however, I don't have any recent garter stitch projects.

Craptina said...

God Bless EZ. I too never understood the wonderfulness of garter stitch until I read Knitting Without Tears.

Mohair and I had a personal love affair until about three years ago. The jerk decided to move in and live on every other article of clothing I owned. I have since dropped the shedding fiber. You cant get me near any of it now, not even 10% content.

Knittymuggins said...

I love garter stitch! And yours looks especially fantastic :)

Hmmmm....well I used to despise orange, but now I find myself gravitating to it like nobody's business! I guess that's not specific to the knitting world, but that's all I got :)

knittymuggins

Yarnhog said...

Hey, you got an award! Details on my blog :)

Sarah said...

I am having a scarf lovefest after seeing what you have been knitting but my favourite by far is the My-so-called-scarf. Maybe because I love the colour or because of a slight crush I had on Jared Leto, but it is gorgeous!

Mary said...

I'm currently in a garter stitch love phase. Being a new knitter though, I now realize that this is my very first garter stitch love phase. Hah! Love that Noro scarf!

savannahchik said...

ok, so i'm a bit behind on my blog reading but i had to comment about garter -- i went through the same thing! i think once i learned how to do fancy stuff, garter just seemed so mundane. but it's so pretty for showcasing a nice yarn and letting you...just be...with your knitting.

and you're right, it does really go great with noro!