Garter Stitch Checkerboard edging....

Here is my garter stitch edging -- thanks to Lorraine for posting photos of her inspired me to take this photo....after all, it's a much more interesting photo than the knitting lying on the table cloth or whatever right? Lorraine's peonies are that beautiful soft pink.....I've got the darker pink. Thanks Lorraine.

The garter stitch edging, when done in two colours per row, 2 stitches of each colour, makes a very effective checkerboard border for this sweater. I love this border, but it does have it's technical issues.

It does not stretch at all -- so it's best as an ornamental border - don't use it if you want your sweater to gather in at all at the bottom.

I've seen a few comments on Ravelry lately about this kind of border flaring out....yes it can.....but if you knit it on a smaller needle than what is used for the body, and you take care to keep the floats between each 2 stitch area just right (not too loose and not too tight) works fine. On the purl rows - with all of that back and forthing of yarns...from the back to the front to purl and back to the back bringing up the other shade to the front to purl and then back again......

When doing the purl row, make sure to give a little firm tug on the yarn that you are stranding back to the front for the next set of 2 purl stitches -- you'll see that it snugs up the previous stitches in the colour and helps it to form a nice neat checkerboard.

OK - on to the body of the sweater.

When I knit fair isle (stranded) I usually use both hands -- the background shade in my right, the pattern shade in my left. By setting up this way, it is natural that the background shade gravels along above, with the pattern shade travelling along below, coming up to be used when necessary in the pattern.

If you know what I mean LOL!!!

If I am taking a break from two handed and am only using my right hand (I'm a thrower by nature) -- I keep the background shade always in the over position, and the pattern shade coming from under - I never twist the yarns.

When doing workshops on two-colour stranded knitting - my party trick is to put one ball of yarn in one corner, the other in the opposite diagonal corner, do the whole workshop and never have to untangle the yarns LOL!!! I may get circled myself, but I just have to untwirl and I'm free.

This is not like intarsia where you have to always lock the yarns together where they meet.....this is stranded -- and it's important that however YOU choose to knit your stranded work - with both yarns in one hand or the other, or a yarn in either hand......that you establish and maintain the position of the yarns.....background above, pattern below.

I'm not going to go into this in great detail -- because fortunately for all of us -- a couple of great knitters have already done in depth posts about hand dominance in colour knitting.

One is Janine Bajus at her blog Feral Knitter - "Alpha Hand (or Why You Need to Pay Attention)"

Janine's blog links back to a post on Nanette's "Knitting in Color" - "The Mysteries of Yarn Dominance"

Janine points out that she does her charts with the X in the pattern square, and the background square is left empty. I do this also. When knitting from a black and white chart that is full of different symbols - it can be hard to determine what the background shade is and what the pattern shade is.......coloured charts, like the Hibiscus Cardigan chart are better........

I also prefer to work from a black and white chart -- with only one X emblem used to indicate the pattern stitches -- and I usually make my own version of the chart in Excel or Stitch Painter to follow -- marking on it which shades are used in which row.

Of course, as with just about anything in the knitting world -- it's your choice!

I'm on to the body of the sweater now. I'll get back to you next week when I have done a significant part of the body.

Any questions? Please feel to post via a comment here....or send me a pm.......I see by my statistics there are a lot of readers right feel free to comment. I'll be having a draw or two (or more) throughout this project.....each comment to these Hibiscus posts will get you an entry to the draw -- be a follower and every time you comment you get an extra entry. I'll keep all of the entries going throughout this project from one draw to the other - so each post will count for all draws.

Happy Knitting


  1. I have already learned some new info just from the post on gauge. thanks. i want to be a sponge and soak up very bit of info I can, anne. mary in

  2. Anne- People do tend to get their knickers in a twist about which hand goes where, and things.

    I refuse to take part in that particular conversation.


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