What is stockinette stitch in knitting

What is stockinette stitch in knitting

Knitting is a versatile craft that allows you to create beautiful and functional projects with just a pair of needles and some yarn. One of the most basic and commonly used stitches in knitting is the stockinette stitch. If you are a beginner in knitting, learning the stockinette stitch is a great place to start. In this guide, we will explore what the stockinette stitch is, how to knit it, and some tips for getting great results.

The stockinette stitch, also known as the stocking stitch, is a simple stitch pattern that creates smooth, v-shaped rows on one side and purl bumps on the other side. It is commonly used for making garments, such as sweaters, scarves, and hats, as well as other projects like blankets and dishcloths. The stockinette stitch is often paired with other stitch patterns to create more complex designs, or it can be used on its own for a classic and clean look.

To knit the stockinette stitch, you will need to know two basic stitches: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. The knit stitch is created by inserting the right needle into the front of the stitch on the left needle, wrapping the yarn around the right needle, and pulling it through the stitch. The purl stitch, on the other hand, is created by inserting the right needle into the front of the stitch on the left needle, but wrapping the yarn around the right needle in the opposite direction before pulling it through the stitch.

When knitting the stockinette stitch, you will alternate between knitting and purling rows. A typical pattern for a stockinette stitch project might involve knitting one row and purling the next. This creates the smooth v-shaped rows on one side and the purl bumps on the other side. By repeating this pattern, you can create a fabric with a nice drape and a smooth finish.

Tip: When knitting the stockinette stitch, it is important to pay attention to your tension. If your tension is too loose, your fabric may appear sloppy and uneven. If your tension is too tight, your fabric may be stiff and difficult to work with. Take your time and practice to find the right tension for your knitting.

What is Stockinette Stitch in Knitting?

Stockinette stitch is one of the most basic and commonly used stitches in knitting. It is known for its smooth, flat, and uniform appearance, making it a popular choice for a wide range of knitting projects.

In stockinette stitch, all the knit stitches are made on one side of the fabric, while all the purl stitches are made on the other side. This creates a distinct contrast between the two sides, with the knit side showing a V-shaped pattern and the purl side showing a textured surface.

To work stockinette stitch, you simply alternate between knitting and purling rows. On the right side, you knit every stitch, and on the wrong side, you purl every stitch. This creates a smooth and even fabric with a nice drape and stretch.

Stockinette stitch is often used for a variety of projects, including sweaters, scarves, hats, and blankets. It provides a clean and polished look, making it suitable for both casual and formal garments.

It’s important to note that stockinette stitch tends to curl along the edges due to the natural tendency of the knit stitches to pull inwards. This is especially noticeable when working with larger needles or a looser tension. To prevent curling, you can either add a border, such as a ribbed edge or garter stitch border, or block your finished piece.

  • Pros:
    • Smooth and uniform appearance
    • Great drape and stretch
    • Versatile stitch for various projects
  • Cons:
    • Tends to curl along the edges
    • Requires attention to keep tension consistent
    • Can be time-consuming for larger projects

In conclusion, stockinette stitch is a fundamental stitch in knitting that creates a smooth, flat, and versatile fabric. With a little practice and attention to tension, you can master this stitch and incorporate it into a wide range of knitting projects.

Understanding the Basics

Stockinette stitch is one of the most basic knitting stitches, and it is the foundation for many knitting projects. It creates a smooth fabric with columns of “V” shaped stitches on one side and rows of horizontal bumps on the other side.

To create stockinette stitch, you alternate knitting rows and purling rows. When you knit a row, you insert the needle through the front of each stitch and pull the yarn through. This creates a new stitch on the right-hand needle while keeping the previous stitches intact.

When you purl a row, you insert the needle through the back of each stitch and pull the yarn through. This brings the yarn to the front of the work, creating a new stitch while keeping the previous ones intact.

By alternating knitting and purling rows, you create the stockinette stitch pattern. The knit rows create the “V” stitches on the right side of the fabric, while the purl rows create the horizontal bumps on the wrong side.

It’s important to note that stockinette stitch tends to curl at the edges. This is because the knit and purl stitches have different tension and the fabric naturally wants to roll in on itself. To prevent this curling, you can use techniques such as adding a border or using a ribbing stitch at the edges.

When working with stockinette stitch, it’s important to keep an even tension throughout your work. Uneven tension can lead to distorted and uneven stitches. Practice, patience, and consistent tension will help you achieve beautiful and smooth stockinette fabric.

Materials and Tools Needed

To knit using the stockinette stitch, you will need the following materials and tools:

  • Yarn: Choose a yarn that is suitable for the project you have in mind. The weight and fiber content of the yarn will determine the final look and feel of your knitted piece.
  • Knitting Needles: Select knitting needles that are appropriate for the weight of your yarn. The size of the needles will affect the tension and size of your stitches.
  • Scissors: You will need a pair of scissors to cut your yarn at the end of your project or to fix any mistakes.
  • Tape Measure or Ruler: This will help you measure your gauge and ensure that your project is the desired size.
  • Tapestry Needle: This needle is used to weave in loose ends and sew up any seams or hems.
  • Stitch Markers: These small plastic or metal rings can be placed on your knitting needles to mark specific stitches or sections of your pattern.

In addition to these basic materials and tools, you may also want to have a knitting gauge ruler, stitch holders, row counter, and blocking mat in your knitting toolkit. These optional tools can help you achieve more precise and professional-looking results.

Getting Started with Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette stitch is one of the most basic and commonly used stitches in knitting. It creates a smooth and sleek fabric with a “V” pattern on one side, known as the right side, and horizontal rows of purl stitches on the other side, known as the wrong side. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with stockinette stitch:

  1. Cast on stitches: Start by casting on the desired number of stitches onto your knitting needle. This will create the foundation row for your stockinette stitch fabric.
  2. Row 1 (right side): Begin the first row by knitting all stitches. This creates the “V” pattern on the right side of the fabric.
  3. Row 2 (wrong side): Turn your work and purl all stitches on the second row. This creates the horizontal rows of purl stitches on the wrong side of the fabric.
  4. Repeat rows 1 and 2: Continue knitting all stitches on the right side and purling all stitches on the wrong side. Repeat these two rows until you have reached the desired length for your project.
  5. Bind off stitches: Once you have completed the desired number of rows, bind off all stitches to finish your stockinette stitch fabric. This creates a neat edge and secures the stitches in place.

Keep in mind that stockinette stitch tends to curl along the edges due to the nature of the knit and purl stitches. To prevent excessive curling, you can add a border of garter stitch or ribbing to your project.

Stockinette stitch is versatile and can be used for a wide range of knitting projects, including sweaters, scarves, hats, and blankets. It is an essential stitch to master for any beginner knitter and can be easily customized with various stitch patterns and color changes.

Pros Cons
– Creates a smooth and sleek fabric – Tends to curl along the edges
– Versatile and can be used for various projects – Can be time-consuming for larger projects
– Easy to learn and perfect for beginners – May require blocking to flatten the fabric

Now that you have a basic understanding of stockinette stitch, grab your knitting needles and yarn and start practicing this versatile stitch!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When knitting in stockinette stitch, beginners may make several mistakes that can lead to uneven tension, holes, or unraveling of stitches. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Tension inconsistencies: Maintain an even tension throughout your work. Tightly knit stitches or loose stitches can result in an uneven fabric.
  • Forgetting to purl on the wrong side: In stockinette stitch, you alternate between knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side. Make sure to purl all the stitches on the wrong side rows to maintain the stitch pattern.
  • Twisting stitches: Ensure that your stitches lie flat and are not twisted on the needles. Twisted stitches can create gaps in the fabric and make it difficult to continue knitting.
  • Not counting stitches: Keep track of the number of stitches you have cast on and make sure to maintain that count throughout your work. Accidentally adding or skipping stitches can disrupt the stitch pattern.
  • Not using stitch markers: For larger projects, it can be helpful to use stitch markers to indicate the beginning of a round or section. This will prevent confusion and help you keep track of your progress.
  • Not checking gauge: Before starting a project, make sure to check your gauge using a swatch. Different knitters have different tension, so it’s essential to adjust your needle size accordingly to achieve the desired fabric dimensions.

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you create a beautiful and consistent stockinette stitch fabric.

Adding Variations and Patterns

Adding Variations and Patterns

Once you have mastered the basic stockinette stitch, you can start experimenting with variations and patterns to create unique and interesting knitted pieces. Here are a few ideas to get you started:


Ribbing is a commonly used variation in knitting, especially for cuffs, collars, and hems. It adds elasticity and texture to your project. To create ribbing, alternate between knitting and purling stitches in a specific pattern. The most common ribbing pattern is K1, P1, but you can also try K2, P2 or other combinations.

Seed Stitch

Seed stitch is another popular variation that creates a textured pattern. It is made by alternating between knitting and purling stitches, but in a different order than ribbing. In seed stitch, you knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches. This creates a pattern of small seeds or bumps.

Garter Stitch

Garter stitch is another simple variation that creates a beautiful texture. It is made by knitting every row instead of alternating between knit and purl stitches. Garter stitch lies flat and is reversible, making it suitable for scarves, blankets, and other projects where both sides will be visible.

Cable Knitting

Cable knitting is a more advanced technique that creates intricate patterns by crossing stitches over each other. It adds depth and visual interest to your project. Cable knitting requires the use of a cable needle to hold stitches while crossing them. There are countless cable knitting patterns and charts available to choose from.

Fair Isle

Fair Isle knitting is a traditional technique that involves working with multiple colors in a single row to create intricate patterns. It typically involves using two colors per row and carrying the unused color along the back of the work. Fair Isle knitting requires careful tension control and attention to the pattern chart.

Lace Knitting

Lace knitting is a delicate and intricate variation that creates open and lacy patterns. It involves using yarn overs and decreases to create holes and decorative motifs. Lace knitting can be challenging but produces stunning results. There are many lace knitting patterns available, ranging from simple to complex.

Combining Variations

Don’t limit yourself to just one variation or pattern. You can combine different techniques to create even more elaborate designs. For example, you can add cables to a stockinette stitch sweater or incorporate lace motifs into a seed stitch scarf. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment and explore different combinations.

Charts and Patterns

To try out different variations and patterns, you can find knitting charts and patterns available in books, magazines, and online resources. These resources provide detailed instructions and visual representations of the patterns, making it easier for you to follow along.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep knitting and trying out different variations and patterns to improve your skills and create beautiful projects.

Finishing and Blocking Your Project

Once you have completed knitting your project in stockinette stitch, it’s important to give it a final touch by finishing and blocking it. Finishing and blocking not only improve the appearance of your work but also help to ensure that the finished piece retains its shape and size.

1. Weave in ends: Start by weaving in any loose ends of yarn using a tapestry needle. Insert the needle through the stitches on the wrong side of the fabric, making sure to secure the yarn tails so they don’t come undone.

2. Wet blocking: To block your project, you’ll need to soak it in water. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and gently place your knitted piece in it, making sure it’s fully submerged. Let it soak for about 15-30 minutes, allowing the fibers to absorb the water.

3. Remove excess water: After soaking, carefully remove your project from the water and gently squeeze out the excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing the fabric as this can cause stretching or damage.

4. Shape your project: Lay your wet piece flat on a clean towel or blocking mat. Use your hands to carefully shape it to the desired dimensions and smooth out any wrinkles or curling edges. Pin the edges or use blocking wires to hold the shape in place.

5. Let it dry: Allow your project to air dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the thickness of the fabric and the ambient humidity. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can damage the fibers.

6. Finishing touches: Once your project is dry, remove the pins or blocking wires and admire your beautifully finished piece. If needed, trim any excess yarn tails and give it a gentle steam ironing on the wrong side, using a low heat setting and a pressing cloth if necessary.

By finishing and blocking your knitted project, you’ll achieve a more polished and professional-looking result. It’s worth the time and effort to ensure your hard work pays off in a beautifully finished piece.

Tips for Troubleshooting

  • Check your tension: Tension is important in knitting, and having inconsistent tension can lead to uneven stitches and an overall distorted fabric. Make sure to maintain a consistent tension throughout your work.
  • Differentiate between knit and purl stitches: One common mistake beginners make is accidentally mixing up knit and purl stitches. This can lead to a different pattern or texture in your work. Take the time to understand the difference between the two stitches and pay attention to your pattern instructions.
  • Fixing mistakes: Mistakes happen to everyone, but it’s important to know how to fix them. If you notice a mistake a few rows back, you can use a crochet hook or knitting needle to carefully unravel the stitches to that point and then re-knit them correctly. Alternatively, you can use a technique called “tinking,” which involves undoing one stitch at a time back to the mistake.
  • Count your stitches and rows: Counting your stitches and rows regularly can help you catch any mistakes early on. This is especially important when following a pattern with specific stitch or row counts.
  • Use lifelines: Lifelines are threads that you insert into your work at specific points, usually every few rows. They act as a backup in case you need to unravel your work to a previous point. They can be a lifesaver if you make a major mistake or need to take a break from your project.
  • Practice and patience: Knitting takes time and practice to master. Don’t get discouraged if your first few projects don’t turn out exactly as you hoped. Keep practicing and learning from your mistakes, and you’ll improve over time.

By keeping these troubleshooting tips in mind, you’ll be better equipped to handle any issues that may arise while working on your stockinette stitch projects. Remember, knitting is a skill that improves with practice, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.

Next Steps for Advanced Knitters

Once you have mastered the stockinette stitch, there are many exciting techniques and projects you can explore as an advanced knitter. Here are some next steps to consider:

  • Try different stitch patterns: Experiment with different stitch patterns, such as ribbing, cables, lace, and colorwork. These can add texture and visual interest to your knitting projects.
  • Learn shaping techniques: Expand your knitting skills by learning how to shape your projects. This can involve increasing and decreasing stitches, adding darts, or creating pleats. Shaping techniques can give your projects a better fit and add dimension.
  • Try knitting in the round: Knitting in the round opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can create seamless garments like hats, socks, and sweaters. It also allows for intricate designs and colorwork.
  • Experiment with different fibers: Explore knitting with different types of yarn and fibers. Each fiber has its own unique qualities and characteristics that can greatly influence the look and feel of your projects. Try working with silk, alpaca, bamboo, or even novelty yarns.
  • Take on more complex projects: Challenge yourself by undertaking larger, more complex knitting projects. This could be a fair isle sweater, a knitted lace shawl, or an intricate cable blanket. These projects will help you refine your skills and create impressive finished pieces.

Remember, knitting is a lifelong learning journey, and there’s always something new to explore and discover. Don’t be afraid to take on challenges and step out of your comfort zone. Happy knitting!


What is stockinette stitch and how do I do it?

Stockinette stitch is a basic knitting stitch pattern that creates a smooth and flat fabric. To knit stockinette stitch, simply alternate between knitting one row and purling one row. The right side of the fabric will have a smooth surface, while the wrong side will have a bumpy texture.

Why is stockinette stitch considered a beginner’s stitch?

Stockinette stitch is often recommended for beginners because it only requires two basic stitches: knit and purl. Additionally, it is easy to see and correct mistakes in stockinette stitch, making it a forgiving pattern for new knitters.

Can stockinette stitch be used to create different designs or patterns?

Yes, stockinette stitch can be used as a foundation for many different knitting patterns. It is often used as a base for adding texture or colorwork, such as cables, lace, or fair isle.

What kind of projects are commonly made using stockinette stitch?

Stockinette stitch is commonly used for creating garments, such as sweaters, cardigans, and t-shirts. It can also be used for accessories like scarves, hats, and socks. The smooth texture of the fabric makes it great for showcasing yarn colors and patterns.

How do I prevent stockinette stitch from curling?

Stockinette stitch has a natural tendency to curl at the edges because the knit and purl stitches have different tensions. To prevent curling, you can add a border of garter stitch (knitting every row) or use a blocking technique to reshape the fabric.

Are there any variations of stockinette stitch?

Yes, there are variations of stockinette stitch that can create different textures. For example, seed stitch is a variation that alternates between knit and purl stitches in the same row, creating a bumpy texture. Reverse stockinette stitch is another variation where the purl side is facing outwards, creating a smooth surface on the wrong side of the fabric.

Can I use stockinette stitch for knitting in the round?

Yes, stockinette stitch can be used for knitting in the round. When knitting in the round, you will only need to knit every round to create the stockinette stitch pattern, as there is no wrong side. This is commonly used for projects like hats, socks, and seamless garments.


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