My Garter Carriage Love/Hate Relationship!


I waited years until I chanced upon an opportunity to buy a Brother knitting machine and a much anticipated Garter Carriage. I’d been a Singer knitter (they don’t have garter carriages) for about 25 years when this happened and I was so excited and looked forward to working garter stitches into my designs.

This pink and periwinkle jacket has garter stitch as the lower half and cuffs on the sleeves.

I’ve made jackets like this and also scarves (fun and easy to make for Christmastime shows). I love experimenting with different yarns that I can’t used for jackets but work well for scarves.

It took a while to get it going and sometimes I need to sit in front of the machine to make decreases/increases, short rowing, check patterning and so on. I’ve sent one of my carriages across the country into the US to have it fixed, spending another $400 or so over the $250 purchase price (used – a bargain!) They need to be babied and I keep each of my two carefully tucked away and protected when not using them.

Anyway….today, as I work on an order which is partially worked on the garter carriage, I am endeavouring to complete some web work, updating web sites and so on, and am sitting in my studio to do this. The garment needs a decrease every 8 – 10 rows so when the GC stops I jump up, make the decrease and reset the row counter.

After a few hours I realize I MUST GET OUT!!!!! My head is going to explode or turn to mush….the steady noise is not bad, endurable but you need to take breaks….that’s why when the GC stops I sometimes am absorbed in what I’m doing elsewhere in my studio…am comfortable in the quiet (OK it means I can actually hear what they’re saying on General Hospital!) and forget to go to decrease and reset….
Then, I head over, sit down and find there’s a dropped stitch or it’s off patterned for some (probably simple) reason and I need to pull the work off the machine, rip back and rehang. It can take a bit to get the garter carriage going on the right row of the pattern…two purl rows one after the other are NOT GOOD on a garter stitch piece….sigh!
….and so, it takes for ever sometimes for me to make a garter stitched item which needs shaping. BUT…I will keep going because I love the garter carriage pieces and accents in my work.
Garter Stitch Hems.

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