Are you wondering how to knit the stockinette stitch? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this tutorial, I am going to show you step by step how to knit the most basic knitting stitch. While the iteration itself is pretty straightforward, I’ll show you a few things to keep in mind, some key alternatives, and how to fix common mistakes.
Here is a video to show you how to do it. However, be sure to read it through to the end as there are some pro tips at the end:
WHAT IS A STOCKINETTE STITCH?
A stockinette stitch is a classic knitting pattern in which you alternate the knitting stitches in the first row and the stitches in the back row. It creates a very smooth and stretchy surface on the right side and that is why it is preferred in very fine stockings. Most modern socks and sweaters are knitted in this stitch.
In knitting patterns, the stockinette stitch is often abbreviated as st st
HOW TO KNIT THE STOCKINETTE STITCH
Let’s learn how to knit this classic knitting pattern right away:
A yarn of your choice; This pattern looks great on almost all yarns.
Single pointed or circular needles; Read this guide if you need help finding a good beginner’s knitting needle.
A good understanding of stitch and knit stitch. You should also know how to put on and take off.
Scissors and tapestry to clean up.
Cast on any number of stitches. A moderately stretchy throw works best for this stitch.
Row 1: knit all stitches
Row 2: remove all stitches
Repeat lines 1 and 2 until the end of your work. It’s that simple. Just switch between knitting and stitches.
Cast on alternatives
Many knitters I know are very interested in different methods of discarding, but always cast in the same way. When you think about it, it makes little sense. If you have a stretchy pattern, you need both a stretchy throw and a stretchy throw. Otherwise you will have a rigid edge on one side and a loose edge on the other.
The stockinette stitch is moderately stretchy. Hence the standard long tail is perfect.
The only thing to consider is that a longtail throw will create knitting stitches. As soon as you turn your work for the first row, these will appear as purl stitches. That means you can …
Either start with a purl series
or do a purl long-tail throw (in case your pattern is preventing you from going right and wrong side)
… at least if you want a nice knitted edge. The knitted edge is quite protruding and makes a nice hemline, but it tends to pucker quite easily.
If you knit on the first row after a standard long tail throw you will get this edge
If you want a less noticeable edge, do the standard longtail cast-on and knit the first row. This way you create a flat, non-curly garter edge.
The single occupation also works with knitted cords, but is a little more relaxed. So personally I prefer the longtail.
If you need to join the cast-on edge to another piece with a mattress stitch, the single sprue is not an option because the little bars between the stitches are missing.
The knitted throw also creates a very loose edge that could be ideal for scarves. Just make sure that you cast on in the same stitch as in the first row, as you are turning the other way around and the work is not turning.
HOW TO PREVENT CURLING
Once you start knitting the stockinette stitch, you will soon notice that the edge is curling up and not really lying flat. If you later join your work with another piece (such as when you are knitting the front of a sweater) it doesn’t matter. But it’s probably not what you want in a scarf. To prevent curling, you have two options:
a) Add a non-curly edge. A garter stitch edge (so knit the last two stitches on each side in both rows) or a seed stitch will go a long way in preventing the edges from curling up. A throw with another stab (see above) can prevent this from curling.
b) You can also block the finished work. This is a method of getting your final piece wet or steamed after using needles to shape it into shape.
STOCKINETTE STITCH IN THE ROUND
Many people wonder how to knit stockinette stitches in the round. It’s incredibly easy.
You just knitted over. That’s it.
This is probably one of the reasons it became such a popular pattern for socks,
The reverse stockinette stitch is actually the same stitch as the regular stitch. The only difference is that you are using the back (“wrong side”). It sounds a bit like it’s a different stitch order or some other magic, but it’s really that simple.
Line 1: Purl over
Row 2: knit over
Repeat row 1 + 2 until the end
2 COLOR STOCKINETTE STITCH
The fun begins when you add a second color, or a third, or a fourth. You can easily knit a two-tone stockinette stitch by starting with a different thread on each row.
If you change the yarn every two rows, you don’t even have to sow tails. A 4 row repeat will work without cutting the thread, as long as you remember to thread whatever thread you are not working on into the edge stitches.
You can use the Fair Isle method to create even more sophisticated multicolor patterns. In this case, you will need a special ring of yarn because you will be knitting both colors at the same time (I will try to write a detailed tutorial on this amazing method soon).
Note: Fair Isle patterns are not reversible. The wrong side is pretty messy, with lots of so called “floating threads” (or floats) so you can’t use them on a scarf, etc.
GARTER STITCH VS STOCKINETTE STITCH
In garter stitch, you only knit knitting stitches on each row. For the stockinette stitch, alternate between rows of stitches and rows of knitting. The garter stitch creates a reversible pattern, meaning there is no right or wrong side. When you knit this stitch you will get two different sides – one very smooth and one straight side that looks a bit like the ribs of the garter stitch.
Unlike the stitches, the garter stitch creates a soft and fairly stretchy work. The stretchability is also directed upwards and not just to the side (as with stockinette). Either pattern makes it easy to add color by knitting two rows or multiples of them in a different yarn.
Please note that when working in a group, things are completely opposite. To knit the garter stitch in the round, you need to alternate between purl and knitting rows while making tights with just one knitted stocking. I think this is where many beginners get confused.