The mysterious garter stitch square – TV knitting


I don’t know about you but often when I see people knitting in TV shows (quite often it’s Miss Marple I watch)  I wonder what they are making. Well, that is perhaps not the strangest question, I am myself a knitter after all, but that is the thing. I am a knitter and I can almost always tell what someone is making without asking by just looking at the work in progress (depending of course on the level of progress). If you are making a sock I can usually tell even before you’ve reached the heel on a top-down sock. If you are making a sweater I can tell by the amount of stitches. If you are making a shawl I know by the texture and the shape of your project. The cuff often tells me if it’s mittens you make and the circumference tells me if it’s a hat. With TV knitting though, I keep asking. Most often when someone is knitting in a TV show (Miss Marple has one (1) exception in all six seasons, where she’s saying that she’s making a sweater and her project could actually pass for a sweater. You will not see her knitting it though, she only holds it) they are making something in garter stitch that is about 6 inches (15 cm) wide and about 4 inches (10 cm) long. The yarn is most likely DK or heavier with an at least somewhat matching needle size. What is it, I wonder, that mysterious square? Are they all making scarves all the time? Miss Marple, for example, is an experienced knitter, she brings her knitting everywhere and picks it up where ever she can (much like I do and yet I have never had a knitting that looks like her’s) but she always seems to be making scarves (or washcloths). Sure, she can be a devoted scarf knitter but she has mentioned that she makes other things too, and it has been implied that she intends to knit a baby sweater.

The true reason behind all of it is most probably that the prop master was told to find a knitting and got the simplest ever, a knitting is a knitting, it should not be complicated and the audience need to be able to recognize it as knitting. Also, it has to be simple enough so that the actor can concentrate on her lines and the things that goes on in the scene instead of calculating the amount of stitches to pick up for the gusset on her lace sock (Miss Marple doesn’t knit very fast and doesn’t make many stitches in each scene). I understand all this but I still find it strange to see that garter stitch square. Again, what is it?

Tonight though I have made my own garter stitch square for the first time. It really looks like TV knitting but the difference is that by the time the scene ended – the scene being a book club meeting – I hade a finished slipper. From now on I will think that every garter stitch square made on TV will eventually become a slipper. That should, hopefully, ease my mind a bit the next time I come upon that TV square again.