The Easiest Garter Tab in the Universe

So it seems like the looming of summer is slowing down my knitting. I’m not complaining. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of other activities that need to be done: gardening, shopping farmers markets, attempting to emotionally recover from Avengers: Endgame.

Speaking of Endgame, I loved it except for one single thing. I won’t spoil it, but it was pretty huge for me.

But I’m over it.

Let’s Talk About Knitting Instead

What do the Avengers have to do with knitting? Nothing, this time. I just needed to vent a little.

Knitting may be slowing, but it’s certainly not stopping. A brand new shawl pattern hot off the blocking table will be released soon. Like within a week.

For now, I’ll share a tiny part of it: my favorite garter tab cast on.

knitting garter tab wool yarn needles

A garter tab is a method used to begin a top-down triangular or crescent shaped shawl because it forms a nice, uninterrupted strip of garter at the top of the shawl. Most instructions call for casting on a few stitches, about 2 or 3 (the width of the garter strip), then working several rows of garter stitch to form a long, skinny strip. Stitches are then picked up along the long side of the strip in the ridges and the main pattern begins.

The method I use does not involve picking up stitches. Instead, the stitches along the long side are added as the garter tab is created. I didn’t invent this method, and there are probably several ways of working it, but I’ll demonstrate my favorite way.

This method works with any width garter tab, but I’m going to demonstrate with a 3-stitch wide one.


Step 1: Using a circular needle and Judy’s Magic Cast On, cast on 3 stitches onto each needle.

There are plenty of videos available on YouTube demonstrating Judy’s Magic Cast-On, so I don’t go into detailed instructions. My favorite is Cat Bordhi’s method:

Step 2 (Swipe below for video): Turn needles so that they are pointing right and the purl side is towards you. Place the yarn tail to the front and left of the working yarn. Hold it with your thumb to anchor it. Once you start knitting, the yarn tail will be held in place. Place the working yarn between and behind the needles and pull the bottom needle out to begin knitting.


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Step 3: Knit across the 3 stitches on the left needle, turn the work, yarn over (the yarn will be in front already), knit back across the 3 stitches.

Step 4 (Swipe below for video): Pull the cable through the stitches to get all stitches on one needle.


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Step 5: *Knit 3, turn work, yarn over, knit 3. Repeat from * until you have the desired number of stitches. Swipe the video below to see my completed garter tab with 11 stitches.


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If your garter tab was 2 or 4 stitches wide, you would knit 2 or 4 respectively before turning the work and adding the yarn over.

What do you think? Have you used this method of creating a garter tab before? What is your favorite method?

Feel free to  contact me with any questions or comments. And Happy Spring.