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The Magic Of A Plain Garter-Stitch Scarf

Blog » Beginner Knitting » The Magic Of A Plain Garter-Stitch Scarf

The Magic Of A Plain Garter-Stitch Scarf

Liat Gat - Founder

October 28, 2010

On the plane to New York City, the most gorgeous guy sat next to me. When he asked, "What are you knitting?" I explained that this was a beginner scarf and that anyone can learn to knit. It took him about five minutes to say, "Okay, so show me."

What a week! I promise not to stray too far from the scope of this blog, but I’m so excited to tell my lovely and gentle readers about my trip to NYC to promote KnitFreedom to the media.

Easy Garter Scarf made with Misti Alpaca
A garter-stitch scarf can be a great conversation-starter, and may lead to something more...

Today, we’ll talk yarn. And gorgeous men.

I left at the crack of dawn on Monday, and flew to Chicago, where I phoned with my web-mistress about the website and published the quick iPhone cozy pattern.

Then, on the plane to New York City, the most gorgeous guy walked onto the plane. Then he sat next to me!

“Be awesome. Be awesome. Be awesome,” the helpful voice inside my head said.

As I chatted with him about the mini-guitar he had brought on the plane, and where he was from, I took out my Magical Beginner Scarf and began to knit.

When he asked, “What are you knitting?” I explained that this was a beginner scarf I was using to show that anyone can learn to knit.

It took him about five minutes until he said, “Okay, so show me.”

Men really are fantastic at learning to knit! They’re not afraid to make mistakes, and they don’t get scared when they mess up.

Nico was a great student – I came away with a wonderful appreciation for Argentine men, and for the power of a garter-stitch scarf.

man knitting on plane and smiling
Handsome strangers can become knitting buddies with a simple scarf

A garter-stitch scarf (where you knit every stitch, on every row) is like vanilla ice-cream: the ingredients must be sublime for the product to shine.

Misti Alpaca chunky garter stitch scarf
Because of the soft yarn and the changing colors, you don't need fancy stitches for this garter-stitch scarf

For my trip to New York City to meet the media, I had a challenge – I really wanted to turn heads, but it had to be with just a plain ol’ garter-stitch scarf.

I chose a bulky-weight, 100% alpaca handpainted yarn from MistiAlpaca called Hand Paint Chunky.

Normally I don’t prefer to knit with 100% alpaca – it is almost too warm, a little fuzzy, and doesn’t hold its shape as well as wool.

But for a garter-stitch scarf, the handpainted colors really shone, and the stitch pattern had plenty of structure on its own.

Magical Garter-Stitch Scarf Pattern

To make your own Magical Misti Alpaca scarf, buy 3 skeins on Hand Paint Chunky, cast on 20 stitches using size 10 1/2 needles, and knit until you drop.

If you’d like me to teach you to knit, just watch my learn-to-knit videos here.

In them, I show you step-by-step how to start from the right end of your ball of yarn, cast on, get comfortable with your needles, and knit your very own scarf.

If you like this pattern for a chunky garter-stitch scarf, post in the comments and click the “Like” button!

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33 thoughts on “The Magic Of A Plain Garter-Stitch Scarf”

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  1. First off, thank you for the laughs. It’s July 4, 2023 & I just got the email for this story. So naturally, I thought this trip happened recently. It wasn’t until I noticed the dates on the previous comments that I discovered this post was written 13 years ago! But stories like this are timeless, right? 😊

    Secondly, I agree with the commentor who said the cost of 3 skeins of the alpaca yarn might scare away beginners. I lucked out. I befriended a lady in 2009 who had an alpaca farm, and she paid me in yarn made from her herd’s fiber for knitting and crocheting items for her farm store. At $18-30 per hank/skein, I couldn’t have afforded it otherwise.

    And besides the cost of the yarn, there’s the special laundering care required. I thought I understood the “rules” when I agreed to knit and felt hats for a friend’s daughter. But instead of the hats shrinking during the washing and drying process, they stretched and felted into slouchies rather than beanies. So embarrassing!! That’s why I love that others shared the all-acrylic alternatives they used. ❤

    1. Hi Sherry!
      I love this story about the alpaca. Alpaca is tricky yarn! I have found out the hard way, too. And I know it’s a little funny to use my old blog posts in the emails – I should put a little disclaimer that it’s not a recent post – but I do like to update new readers with my best blog posts from the past years.

  2. Omg I love this! My 17-year-old nephew is named Nico, too. I have a photo of him learning to knit when he was about seven or eight —super cute. Of course he has since moved on to other things…..😆

  3. That is a fantastic story, Liat!! I hope I have the chance to teach a handsome stranger to knit sometime!😄

    1. Hi Erica,
      Haha, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! If you bring your knitting with you while out and about, you will probably have the chance to teach someone and make a new friend!

  4. The hand paint chunky alpaca yarn is $25/skein. You say to buy 3 skeins for the scarf – $75! I think that expense would scare away most beginners. Experienced knitters might appreciate splurging on luxury yarns, but when I recently bought some pricy yarn for a project, I practiced a bit of the pattern on inexpensive acrylic first to work out any difficulties.

  5. Since the tiny town I live in doesn’t have any resources for yarn other than Wal-Mart (oh, what I would give for a crafts shop here!), I couldn’t find any Misti Alpaca, so I used Simply Soft Paints in Oceania to make a garter stitch scarf. Because the yarn is so thin, I used two strands and size 10 1/2 needles — and it came out beautifully! Sadly, I have no pictures of it as I gave it to a friend for a Christmas present, but I wanted to comment and thank you for the idea to make something quick and simple that also looks really lovely.

    (My friend works at an elder-care facility in Chicago, and she says that she gets lots of compliments on the scarf every time she wears it. So you get a thank-you from her, too!)

  6. Just getting back into knitting and love your site. So helpful and really love your teaching style. So easy to follow.

  7. I love your garter stitch scarf. I’m working on one myself using Caron Simply Soft Party yarn. It’s an acrylic yarn with a very thin thread of sparkle type thread running through it. Even though I’m just knitting every row, the scarf is turning out beautifully because of the sparkle in the yarn. I agree that the magic of a garter stitch scarf is the yarn and it seems that the variegated or solids with some sparkle make the most beautiful scarves.

  8. Loved this article but could you please add metric sizes when you are quoting sizes. In this you say to use needles size 10-1/2 but is this UK size, or US size or metric? You have readers from all over the world so this is important.

  9. Well, I have just signed up today and have managed to be on this site for over 2 HOURS!
    FUN! I’m absolutely delighted!

  10. How fast did Nico pick up the knack for knitting on the plane? His smile says a lot about his experience with you. Looks like he did quite a bit & proud of it!! I hope he was able to bind off his work to take with him to show it off! I’ll bet he went to buy needles & yarn to continue his new found love.
    Did you stay in contact with Nico?

  11. I think every Argentine man I’ve met has been gorgeous, so maybe there’s something in the water there? The scarf is gorgeous, too!

  12. Liat,
    You make me laugh! I enjoy Knit Freedom very much, and check it
    out every day. I knit English, but I would really like to try continental.
    It world up much quicker. I have Knitting like a superstar, and magic
    loop videos. You were born to teach, my friend. Keep going, and we
    will keep watching and learning. Best to you!

    1. Kathi, you are too sweet. I’m so glad that I get to be a part of your life through KNITFreedom and it means so much that you visit every day.

      I hope that you get a chance to try Continental Knitting. You’ll have to let me know how you like it. :)

      1. Hello, my friend. I’m happy you have such faith in me….Could I borrow some?
        I have the wonderful tape from the hypnotist, and believe me, it was made with
        all of us in mind. Is there anything you can’t do? What a blessing you are to so
        many. You inspire great things in otherwise ordinary knitters.
        Come East, and meet all your followers and friends. Liat, you are heaven sent.
        PS If you need a place to stay, I have a super guest room.

  13. Love the colors! Do you ever have any problems taking your knitting needles on the plane? I also love the brown fingerless mitts (?) you are wearing in the first pic, do you have a pattern for those? I have become obsessed with the fingerless mittens for some reason and searching for the perfect pattern. I really like your site, very easy to follow. I found you first on you tube, looking for the magic loop. Planning to buy the ebook soon.
    Thanks for you teaching,

    1. Thanks Jyll! I don’t have the pattern for the brown fingerless gloves – I just made those up as I went along. Sorry! But you can use the worsted-weight mittens pattern and just stop once you get to the fingers, and do some ribbing. That’s basically what I did. And yes, you can take knitting needles on the plane now. I’ve never had a problem bringing circular needles of any type or length, plus metal tapestry needles and small sewing scissors.

  14. Hi Tori!
    I'll actually by giving a workshop in Bozeman at Stix in December all day – Magic Loop and Two-at-a-Time (yet to be announced) – I would love to see you there!

  15. Lucky you, getting to sit next to that eye candy and then to teach him to knit a scarf!
    The scarf is beautiful and the colors are perfect!

  16. Your scarf is perfect! It shouts "KNIT ME!" I'm sure your beginners will be very pleased with this as a first scarf. And ladies…the yarn is a MUST!

    if I were 20 years younger, well heck younger at all, I would really appreciate sitting next to that handsome devil! Oh, by the way everyone, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

  17. …some of the best knitters in Norway are men. There is a 80 year old man that knits a pair of Selbu mittens every day and sells them. He has done so for the past 50 years.
    My son who is 14 is a wicked good knitter.

  18. Ha ha ha. Misti Alpaca has magical properties. I'm gonna get out my own unfinished Mist scarf and see what luck it might bring me.

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