A Knitting Dictionary—The Letter G is part of a series of posts that will eventually make up the Complete Knitting Dictionary a comprehensive knitter’s resource!


(aka: Guernsey)

A style of knitting and the sweater where it originated.

The original gansey was highly textured, seamless, densely knit, boxy sweater with gussets under the arms for shaping and shoulder flexibility. It was warm, water and wind resistant. The original gansey was knit in a tightly spun, Guernsey 5-ply (sport weight) deep blue wool and sometimes in a natural wool

Often the back and the front of the sweater were identical, making it easy to wear the sweater backwards to extend the life of the garment. Often the wearer’s initials were worked into the sweater for identification of the sweater and some say, for identification of the fisherman’s body should he drown.

The style apparently originate on Guernsey (an island in the English Channel) but has been adapted throughout the British Isles. 

For more information on everything gansey, see http://www.ganseys.com/


a piece of clothing

garter stitch

A pattern where on both sides of the fabric a knit row and a purl row alternate. It is usually the first fabric a new knitter learns.

Garter stitch produces a thick, squishy fabric that has approximately as a gauge where one stitch equals 2 rows. So , for example, 20 sts x 40 rows per 10 cm/4″.

It is most commonly worked by knitting every row of a piece of flat knitting, but can be also done by alternating knit rows and purl rows in the round. This can produce at the beginning of each round, but the jog can be disguised or even eliminated (helix knitting) using some innovative knitting techniques.

Garter stitch


To gather usually refers to pull the last stitches on a closed circle together instead of binding off. This allows for virtually no hole at the top of a hat, mitten, toe of a sock or center of an outside-in knit shawl. 

Another approach to gathers is the same as in sewing, where large stitches are worked with a sewing needle across the knitted fabric and the fabric is pulled in to a narrower width and then fastened to maintain the new width. This can be helpful is a neck hole or hem is too loose for example.

Gathers can also refer to a section that drastically reduces stitches: reducing by one-third or one-half or even more in very few rows. This created a ruffle on the project.

gathered stitches

Several stitches are worked together, often with as many stitches being produced, by working into the “cluster” of old stitches as many times as there are old stitches. This is a common stitch in Estonian and in Japanese patterns.

For example, the start stitch or 3 into 3 stitch. (This is the equivalent of the kyok stitch except that you are working it into three stitches at once).

Row 1: K1, *k3tog, leave the stitches on the left needle, yarn over, knit into the k3 again. drip off the left needle, k1, repeat from * to the end.

Row 2: P to end.

Row 3: K3, *k3tog, leave the stitches on the left needle, yarn over, knit into the
k3 again. drip off the left needle, k1, repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2..

Gathered Stitches
Gathered Stitches


(aka tension)

Gauge refers to the number of stitches (and rows or rounds) per length (usually, but not always, 10 cm or 4″). Things like the type of yarn, needle size, the knitter, needle material, and stitch pattern can affect gauge.

In general, the bigger the yarn and the bigger the needles, the fewer stitches and rows per length. The bigger the needles, the larger and looser the stitches and rows. The bigger the yarn, the bigger (but not necessarily looser) your stitches and rows will be.

The size of your stitches will affect the size of the project and how much yarn you use, so pay close attention to the gauge when knitting. This is especially essential when knitting things that need to fit, like sweaters, hats, socks, mittens.


gauge swatch

A small (usually) square of fabric knit with the yarn and the needles that you plan to use in a project to determine whether that specific yarn and those specific needle will give you the gauge specified in the pattern.

It is vital to block (wash and fry the swatch in the same manner you plan on blocking the finished project with) so that you know if your gauge is accurate or not. Blocking can have a huge affect on the finished gauge, depending on the yarn and techniques used.


A triangular piece of knitted fabric used for shaping.  It is similar to a gusset and sometimes the words are used interchangeably.

Gores are often seen in skirts with triangular wedges of fabric added to create fullness.


Joining two sets of live stitches together end to end.

A Kitchener stitch is an invisible graft where, if done correctly, the graft appears like just another row of knitting.

A Russian graft is visible way to join two sets of live stitches and creates a horizontal braid where the two rows of live stitches are joined.



(aka Gansey — see above)


Usually a triangular (sometimes diamond shaped or square) piece of knitted fabric that is used  to add room for wearing and movement.

The most common examples of gussets are the triangular piece of fabric in between the heel of a sock and the foot and the added fabric on a mitten that allows movement of the thumb.


This entry was posted in General, Knitting Dictionary, and tagged dictionary.

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