A step-by-step tutorial on seaming two pieces in garter stitch cast-on edge to selvage stitch in a super invisible way
Seaming can be a super fun way to join two smaller pieces of knitted fabric and turn them into something that says wow. Even as a beginner, you could knit a huge afghan using simple mitered squares. But when it comes to assembling these, how do you join seams in garter stitch cast-on stitch to edge stitch?
Well, you have to use a special technique and this tutorial is all about it. Quite unsurprisingly it’s a bit of a mixture between the mattress stitch (used to join two edges together) and the simple garter stitch graft (used to join cast-on edge to bind-off edge), and it’s actually just as easy.
It will create a super neat transition on both sides without a lot of bleed-through. The best part: it doesn’t create visible ridges either and lays perfectly flat. So, let’s show you how to seam garter stitch in this particular case, eh?
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Instructions: How to seam garter stitch edge stitch to cast-on edge
This method of seaming garter stitch works best if you use either the cast-on tail or a spare length in the same color.
- Thread a little length of yarn on a blunt tapestry needle (or use the cast-on/bind-off tail if it's long enough).
- Align the two pieces so the wrong sides are facing each other.
- Next, push your tapestry needle through the corner stitches (or just the one corner stitch on the other side if you are using the cast-on tail).
- On the bottom part, find the cast-on edge and go through the inner leg of the first horizontal "V".
- Move over to the other side, find the very first ridge, and go through the very first bottom purl bump. It's sometimes a bit hidden/slanting downwards.
- Move over to the bottom part again and find the next cast-on V, the one adjacent to the one you went through first, and pull the tapestry needle through the inner leg of that stitch as well.
- On the top part, find the next ridge, follow it all the way to the edge and go through the very first bottom bump of that ridge.
- Continue repeating steps 6-7 and pull tight after every couple of stitches but not so tight the fabric starts to pucker.
- When you used up all stitches on both sides, go through the corner stitches on both sides to finish the seam.
You don't have to fold the two pieces together like I do. You can also seam them together flat. I just feel that holding them between your hand like that makes it much faster to sew. Plus, you can bring your project close to your eyes so you don't accidentally skip a ridge.
Here’s a close-up shot of a little swatch in garter stitch. I hope it helps you find those bottom bumps a bit better as they sure can be a bit more difficult to spot at the end of these ridges. But with a bit of careful prodding and good lighting, it should be easy to discern them
Further things you should know about joining garter stitch
Now, I want you to understand that is certainly not the only way to join seams when knitting garter stitch. If you look around the internet (or read older books), then I’m sure you will find 10 more different ways to join these two pieces together. I just happen to like this one the most.
Not only is it very easy but it’s also super flat, and you can barely see the yarn/color you used for the seaming. And in the places you do so it peeking through (especially on the wrong side) it looks like a feature and not a mistake.
That being said, you can certainly toy around with my method a bit. The true trick behind any good seam is simple: Whatever you do, you have to do it consistently without skipping stitches. So, instead of going through the bottom bump, you could go through the top bump. You could also go underneath both legs of the V, and so on.
Depending on your project, the colors you were using and the place you are using it, a different way to do it might even be more invisible. After all, for a shoulder seam, you will actually stress/fold the join, while for a blanket you won’t.
8 thoughts on “How to join seams in garter stitch edge stitch to cast-on edge”
Hi, Norman. I just finished a shawlette in garter stitch, which I seldom use. I noticed some ‘rowing out’, and went online to see what I might change to avoid it. All I found was that it’s caused by a difference in height between the knit and purl stitches (i.e., the back side of stockinette), but as this was garter stitch I was only doing knit stitches.
Since you get a garter stitch look when you knit every row or purl every row, could purling every row give me evener spacing between rows? Any thoughts about how to avoid rowing out with garter stitch (if it’s a tension issue)?
And, if it’s not too great an imposition on your time, could you explain why knitting or purling every row both give a two-sided garter stitch look? Many thanks.
A purl stitch is a mirror inverted knit stitch. See here for more details: https://nimble-needles.com/tutorials/knit-vs-purl/
As for rowing out…i am not exactly sure what you mean. This typically happens with patterns like stockinette stitch, etc..but with garter stitch – without a clear picture or a better description i am not sure I can help you.
Hello again. I can’t send a photo in this text box, but what I mean is that the garter rows aren’t completely and consistently abutting one another as the stitches in your blue square above are. There are areas where the rows drift very slightly apart. Not horribly, but definitely not the look I’m aiming for. I’m hopeful you have some advice to help me improve my technique.
Thank you. Ihre Tutorials sind ausgezeichnet.
this sounds like tension imbalances and without further details, my only advice can be to practice. The yarn could also be the culprit but the only way for you to verify is if you knit a swatch with a different yarn and compare.
thank you for this detailed instruction, really appreciate the zoomed in clear photos showing exactly where to join. I feel more confident now to join my squares
This is a great tutorial. Thank you for the great photos and written instruction as I need both!!
Hi there. I’ve been searching for a way to join my squares to make a double sided blanket. I knitted double the amount of squares and was hoping to join them so they are stacked on top of each other, 24 squares to make a blanket with 12 squares x 2 layers thick. They edges are all done in moss stitch. Is this possible?
sure it is possible. But since they are all in moss stitch it’s going to be a lot more difficult and maybe not very invisible.
I never seamed moss stitch, so I would have to knit a swatch myself and figure things out. Righ tnow, I don’t have the time to do so. sorry.