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« Giant, Giant Granny Square Blanket | Main | Whit's Knits: Snowflower Ornaments »

Garter Gaiter

We all know about late night holiday knitting and 42-inch scarves, stopped short to finish in time for giving! That's why every year we come up with the perfect quick knit, one that takes less than an afternoon to make but that you can give with pride.

This Garter Gaiter is perhaps our best inspiration so far! Knit out of Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino, it is delectably cozy and totally gorgeous, but even more to the point, it is a generous chunky weight that knits up here at a speedy 2 1/2 stitches to the inch!

Our Garter Gaiter features a beautiful play of color and a striking woven texture, all of which is really just the simple trick of single round stripes of garter stitch. We love it in crisp and festive candy cane colors, but can happily imagine any of our Super Soft Merino brights paired up with Heirloom White. Or for a dark and mysterious version, we love the idea of an interplay between Timeless Navy and Soft Black!

Lots of people left on your list? Check out more of our very quick, but very special, knitted gifts: our Bandana Cowl, Eleventh Hour Scarf, Fun Kid's Hat, Hats for Everyone, and Infant Mittens. A little something for everyone!

The Materials

The Pattern


2 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch

Finished Dimensions

24 inches in circumference by 12 inches tall


With color A, cast on 60 stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Round 1: With color A, knit.

Round 2: With color B, purl.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until the piece measures 11 3/4-inches from the cast on edge.

Repeat Round 1.

With color A, bind off knit-wise.

Weave in your ends, and ta da, you've finished the Garter Gaiter!

Reader Comments (51)

Hello, and thank you for a lovely pattern! I'm not so good at knitting in the round and was wondering - how do you handle two colors? Does one of the threads just hang there while you do a round in the other color? How do you attach the second color for the first time? Or do you attach for each of the rounds??

(sorry if I'm spamming, it keeps asking me to confirm the post, maybe I'm getting the captcha wrong)
December 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkatja
How much yarn does it use - would one skein of each color make two gaiters?
December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
Hi Julie-

Good question! You need both skeins to make one gaiter.

Thanks for your question!

December 7, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is what I would do- on the first round, just use color A, then on the second round, use both yarns to purl the first stitch, then complete the round with color B. On the first stitch of every round you'll knit/purlwith both colors, that way you won't have a million ends to weave in. Hope that helps. You'll leave a small tail for weaving in the ends when you first use color B.
December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRaychel
I don't see size 15 needles in size 16 inch length. Am I missing it here?
December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
Can I assume you can just cast on fewer stitches if you wanted it less than 24"?
December 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Marie Joyce
Hi Ann Marie-

Your assumption is correct. Please let us know if you have any more questions!

December 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Hannah-

It looks like we're sold out at the moment. If you'd like to be emailed when they come back in stock please drop us a line at customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com.

Thank you!

December 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love it! And what a fast knit! Thank you for that wonderful idea. Are you going to put it on Ravelry any time soon? I bet it will hit the top list very soon!
December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonstermønster
Hi Katja,
Raychel has a great suggestion, that is actually how I handled it with out White Caps Cowl. With yarn this thick however sometimes you don't want to work a stitch with both, it will create a stiff row of stitches, interrupting the simplicity of the piece. You can simple carry the yarn up on the inside of the cowl, When working a white round, hold the red yarn vertically up so that it becomes tucked behind the white stitch and vv.
Hope this helps,
December 12, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello, I am a bit confused here. Do we have to knit round 1 and purl round 2 or is it all knit? I thought garter stitch is all knit! Sorry if I sound silly I was wondering ...
December 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranna
Hi Anna-

When you're knitting straight garter stitch is knit every row. When you're knitting in the round it's knit one round purl one round because you're always on the same side of the stitch.

Thank you for writing in!

December 14, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I had a lot of fun knitting this up - such a quick project! However, it was very drapy and looked far more like a cowl than I expected. The picture on the dress form looks like the neck is very tight with the rest draping out (almost like there were decreased stitches toward the last few rows). Did I miss something? I really liked this project and would like to make another one.
December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Hi Heather-

We're so glad to hear that you enjoyed knitting this project but are sorry to hear it wasn't what you expected. There are no decreases in this project. We would recommend that you check your gauge and make sure it matches the pattern's. If that's not the issue then you might want to cast on fewer stitches for the next one to make it less cowl-like.

Please let us know if you have any more questions and thanks for writing in!

December 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello. This is so lovely and fun!

I'm writing in from Canada.
Would it also work with baby alpaca?

composition 100% Baby Alpaca weight Chunky
needle size 6mm length 100m stitches 15 rows 19 ball weight 100g
December 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjen
Hi Jen-

It sounds like your yarn is a little thinner than the yarn we used but you can just cast on more stitches and follow the pattern. With this weight and gauge I think casting on 90 stitches would yield a similar result.

Thank you!

December 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I knit two of these as Christmas presents - one in the red and white and one in green and white. They knit up quickly and they look funky and festive! It's going to be a very purl-bee Christmas :).

While I didn't use any decreases, I did cast off tightly on the second one I made, which made the cowl drape like the one pictured. So it may be that to get the desired draping, you need to tighten the cast-off to make it a little tighter around the upper neck.

happy knitting!
December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHayley
Thanks for the comments and replies! I am knitting up another one and have cast on fewer stitches. I think that, plus a tight castoff, will do the trick!
By the way, I gave the first one to my mom and she adored the drapiness. The next will be for me. Thanks for a cute pattern.
December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Oh my this is perfect for our Warm Scarves for Newtown project! We are trying to get 80 green (&white) scarves for each staff member at Sandy Hook. My daughter is student teaching at Newtown High School as a graduate student this year and she's helping me with the project! I'm going to share this for sure!

THANK YOU, and please share our project with your readers. If we get enough scarves, we'll be doing ALL of NEWTOWN SCHOOLS.
December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrice
Hi! This has already been asked but I'm still a bit confused ('m 15 and a newbie when it comes to knitting with two colors and circular needles haha). Since you cast on the stitches with the color A, while your doing knit stitches with that color for a round, how do you iinclude the color B for the next round with purl stitches? I think in a comment you said not to knit both yarns together or else you may end up with stiff results. I don't really understand when you say to hold the yarn verticially to tuck it in :/

Your blog is great by the way
December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIris
Hi Iris-

When you get to the marker simply stop working with yarn A and begin purling with yarn B. When you get back to the marker stop working with yarn B and start knitting with yarn B. This way both yarns will move up along the marked point as you knit.

You might want to give it a try because sometimes its easier to understand these kinds of things as you do them.

Hope this helps- please let us know if you have ant more questions.


December 22, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
would love to make the gaiter and see your stock of the new merino yarn is very low-could you email me when you get a bunch more colors, please?
December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam G
Hi Pam-

Will do!

December 30, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm just finishing this pretty gaiter in navy and black. The color combo does give it an elegant edge. The yarn has a luxurious feel and knitting with it is bliss. I "caught" the yarn when beginning the next round, too. Makes for a decorative faux seam. A fun, quick and easy pattern.
December 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki
I tried this pattern as well, but I definitely wanted that snugger-at-the-neck shape. So I CO more stitches (80), then every other KNIT row, when I was at the marker (which I thought of as my "back seam," to be always placed at the back), I K2tog. It shaped it beautifully, then I did Jenny's Super Stretchy Bind Off, and the recipient loves it (and it's a guy!) He thought it was shaped that way to stick down in his jacket, so everybody was happy in the end!
Thanks for all these free patterns and great advice--I turn here for inspiration quite often 8D
January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Thank you so much for this pattern - it's the first time I've used circular needles as well as the first time I've used a purl stitch (!) but I'm really pleased with my results (I used Debbie Bliss 'paloma' yarn in a soft grey and a caramel). I'm so chuffed that I'm sat in bed wearing my cowl, grinning like a loon!
January 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNoodle
I love this pattern, I used the blue and red from the merino range and it looks lovely. However I cast off way too tightly and so its a bit tricky to get over my head :) Just need to give it a good pull. The seam at the back is also not so neat but for my first attempt I'm happy !

Going to try using the black and dark blue or a male friend of mine! Thanks for sharing this pattern.
January 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinny
Hi, I love this pattern. I'm a beginner at knitting. I have Artesano aran wool that's 50% superfine alpaca, 50% Peruvian highland wool. The tension is 17 stitches in 21 rows in 10 cm. Will this yarn work?

Also will I get comparably similar results if I use US 11/8mm needles? I love the drape. Thanks!
January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarie
Hi Marie-

It seems like your yarn is a little thin, but if you can get the correct gauge (which is 2 1/2-stitches per inch) it can work. You could also try doubling the yarn.

Thank you for your question!

January 21, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi - First of all, I adore Purl Soho (spent too much money there this week!) and the Purl Bee. But I have to let you know that this pattern needs to be re-written with instructions about the best way to change colors. I just read through all of the comments and questions here, and many of them are about this very issue. Though I am most definitely not a beginner knitter, even I had questions about changing colors. Though the project overall is perfect for beginners, it needs to be re-written with clearer instructions. Just a tip.
February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Ok, I get the change of colors, but do I cut a tail to weave in for each row? Otis it a hang there at the marker? That sounds right to me, but my knitting friend says it would get tangled and to cut a tail for each color change?

Thank you for your help
April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColleen
Hi Colleen-

Don't cut the yarn, carry it up as you go. Leave the yarn hanging at the beginning of the round marker and it won't get twisted. Give it a try and let us know if you have any questions!

Thank you!

April 30, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Do we have to worry about jogless stripes?
June 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanelle
Hi Janelle-

You don't have to worry about that because the transition from knit and purl hide the joining of the round.

Thank you for your question!

June 3, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for the pattern! However I am still confused with the change of colors: should I knit 2tog or not? Many thanks.
June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohanna
Hi Johanna-

You don't knit 2 together.

Please let us know if you have any more questions and thanks for writing in!

June 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi there,

I've been having some problems with the joining, in that no matter what I do, I get a sort of 'jog.' It ends up looking as though I have an extra line, although I think it's more of a spiral. How can I avoid this happening?

Many thanks for your help,
September 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel Abdai

I was wondering if there is a particular method of casting on I should use for this? Or would any method do the trick?

September 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLizzy
Hi Lizzy-

We used a long tail cast on for this project but you can use your cast on method of choice.

Thank you!

September 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Purl Bee! I'm going to making this for a second time, a Christmas gift for my sister. I found the most beautiful colors of grey and icy blue from Cascade yarns, but the gauge is heavier than the Purl Soho Soft Merino. How do I adjust this pattern for a Peruvian Wool with a gauge of 6-8 inches per 4 stitches?

I did some math on my own, but my lack of experience leads me to question it. Does it makes sense to cast on about 38 stitches with this heavier gauge?

Any assistance would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance!
October 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllie
Hi Allie-

The best way to do this is to knit a gauge swatch in garter stitch. Then measure how many stitches per inch you're getting and multiply that by 24. This will give you the amount to cast on.

Please let us know if you have any more questions!

October 8, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello! I love this pattern, but I would really like to make it with Kersti Merino Crepe wool ( The gauge is 5.5 stitches per inch with size 6 needles. Can you suggest what size needles might make this work? I'll make a swatch, but it would be nice to have a starting point--I'm still fairly new to knitting and don't quite know how to figure things like this out! Thanks so much. I love your blog!
December 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrisha
Hi Trisha-

We would recommend a 16-inch US size 6 with that yarn. After you have made a garter stitch swatch you will be able to figure out how many stitches you're getting per inch. Let's say, just as an example, that you're getting 5 stitches per inch. This cowl's finished size is 24-inches around so you would multiply 5 (stitches per inch) by 24 (inches) to get 120 stitches to cast on. You can then follow the pattern as written.

Thank you!

December 12, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello to the Purl Bee crew !

I`m a newbie to knitting and this awesome cowl was my second project ! I totally love it ! It was quick and fun to knit and your pattern was easy to understand (even for a french girl!). I'm so glad I've come across this amazing blog, so much inspiration.

I just wonder what is the cause of the uneven finish I ended with?? I don`t know how i did that but when I bound off (on the knit row as specified) the last row was not even. It`s like the rows have shifted ! I really hope you`ll be able to advise me because I can't wait to start an other one !

Thanks !
February 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
Hi Laurie,
What a great second project to do... knitting in the round, alternating colors, you took on a lot!

The last round you work before the bind off round is knitting with color A, so after that when you bind off with Color A, essentially you are knitting another round with A in the process of binding off, so the pattern may feel uneven or interrupted. You can modify the pattern so that you skip that last round of knitting with color A, skipping straight to the bind off with color A and then the stripe pattern might feel more regular to you.

I am not positive this is exactly what you are asking about, but I do hope it helps.

We are thrilled you like the site and please keep us posted on this project or any others! We are always here to answer questions.
February 13, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just knit this in the navy and black merino, and it is indeed a mysterious combination. Very nice.

I find the finished product to be a little drapey at the opening, and I think I'll re-do the casting off, which I tried to do in a way that allowed for stretch, but maybe what I need is some structure there.

Other than that, pretty simple pattern which did knit up quickly -- maybe 5 or 6 hours total?

March 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane Kokernak
Hello could you please make a tutorial Video of this beautiful scarf ? Please please
March 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaria
Hi there,

I was looking to buy the size of needles recommended for this project on your site, but I can't find them. Could you please link to them if they are available in the Purl Bee shop??

June 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTara
Hi Tara-

The link given in the materials section goes to all of our circular needles, so you can pick which style you like the best. However, the Addi Turbo needles are our most standard circular needles and we do have them the correct size so here is that link:

Scroll down towards bottom they are listed as: US: 15, UK: 000, metric: 10 mm 16 inch

Thank you!

June 17, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
My 5 years old girl wants to have the same...
How many stitches and row do you suggest?
July 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSylvie

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