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The Garter Bar

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In my last post told you about the conundrum over whether to follow the pattern’s instructions or go with what I’ve learned in garment sewing. The pattern’s instructions needed to be altered to fit me. The front doesn’t need usually need darts, just a side seam decrease and the back needs short darts, maybe two sets. I sure wish the pattern gave a final waistband measurement! Maybe I can “guesstimate”. However it will effect my alterations in that I don’t be taking out as much from the front waistline. Uh-oh, could be trouble…but I haven’t gotten there yet.

I decided to decrease one stitch at each edge or side every 8 rows per the pattern’s instructions, but not to make the proposed long darts in the front panel until I had decreased 3 times each side every 8 rows. Rememver, we’re knitting from the bottom of the skirt body, up to the waistband. On the 4th round of 8 rows I reverted back to the instructions and started the front darts. To form a dart from the bottom up one stitch is moved over away from the center to it’s neighboring needle. The result was needle #50 empty and needles 51-06 needed to be moved back over into the body of the skirt.

The quick way: use the garter bar. The pattern tells you to. OK.

I didn’t know how to use these things. They come in varying lengths and the instructions are in Japanese so I went to the Knitters Edge
again and found the instructions under “Techniques”.


Basically , the needles are all pulled forward and the knitting pushed back so that the stitches fall behind the latches of the needles. Then the garter bar is carefully placed into the hooks of the needles and the stitches are pulled forward, closing the latches, and then pulled down onto the prongs of the garter bar.


Click on this picture to make it bigger, then use your back button to come back here. Pulling the stitches down over the closed latch and onto the prongs was hard to do so I grabbed this tool to help me.

I don’t know what this tool is called. It came with one of the machines but it proved very good at pulling the stitches down from the needles onto the teeth of the garter bar.

I must say the Knitter’s Edge instructions are clearly written. The proof of their efficacy: Here the stitches have been moved over and are being put back onto the needles.


All 45 stitches safely moved over one needle and all at one time. The shortened darts are begun!


I’m quite satisfied.

The garter bar is an exciting tool. I’ll share more about what it can do as I try each new thing.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

9 responses »

  1. I’m so impressed that you know how to do all this!

  2. Amazing to see the garter bar working.I own a set and have never been able to use it successfully.Thanks for the clear photos

  3. May I know where I can buy a garter bar? Carol

  4. Hi Carol: I bought mine on ebay. You might also try some of the machine knit shops like or The Rocking Horse Farm If they don’t have some in stock they might be able to direct you to a shop that has them.

  5. Thanks Mary Beth. I have a Bond Machine (basic old machine, at least 20 years old). Been in storage for the last 20 years. I want to get back into knitting again. Will garter bar from another brand like brother work on my BOnd machine?

  6. Carol: I have never used a Bond machine. I believe that their needle spacing is wider than the 4.5mm spacing between the needles of the standard gauge machine shown above. I suggest that you check out the links for Bond resources at Good luck and happy knitting.

  7. I am new to Knitting on a machine and am attempting to knit a headband which calls for the use of a Garter Bar,But nothing ventured nothing gained!!!Thanks for the great pictures to go by!!

  8. would like the 9mm g bar do you sell it?

    • Dear Eunice:

      I am not a vendor, just a beginner who has made some notes on my blog here about using the garter bar. This is just a personal journal that I share online.

      Good luck finding a garter bar for your 9mm knitting machine. Try a regular machine knitting seller.


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