How to Knit in the Stockinette Stitch

    by Lizzie Brooks

    About the Author

    Lizzie Brooks has been writing science articles since 2010. She also has a series of knitting patterns published on the Knitty and Ravelry websites. Brooks received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Trent University.


    The smooth, tidy fabric created by knitting in stockinette stitch makes it a favorite among knitwear designers and is the fabric that usually comes to mind when you think of hand knits. Stockinette stitch is often used for knitted garments such as sweaters, socks or hats. These instructions are for a swatch knit on straight needles.

    Things You'll Need

    • Worsted-weight yarn
    • One pair of straight knitting needles of the size indicated on the yarn label

    Cast on 20 stitches for your swatch. Stockinette stitch can be worked successfully over any number of stitches, unlike other pattern stitches which must be worked over a specific number of stitches.

    Knit all stitches. This is the right side, or public-facing side, of the work. When you finish the row, turn the swatch over, and purl all stitches. This is the wrong side, or back, of the work.

    Continue alternately working one row of knit stitches and one row of purl stitches until your work measures about 5 inches in length. Bind off all stitches. Always work knit stitches when the smooth, right side of the work is facing you, and always work purl stitches when the bumpy, wrong side of the work is facing you.

    • If the purl rows are consistently looser than the knit rows, consider working the purl rows using a needle one size smaller.
    • Because stockinette stitch is a very smooth, plain stitch, any irregularities will be visible. Hold the yarn and needles the same way consistently to keep your tension even.
    • Stockinette stitch fabric curls inwards at the top and bottom and outwards at the sides. To make a piece of stockinette stitch fabric lay flat, include a stitch that does not curl as a border. Try ribbing (knit one, purl one across an even number of stitches) or garter stitch (knit all rows) as a comparison.
    • When knitting in the round using double-pointed needles or circular needles, stockinette stitch is made by knitting every row. No purl rows are required.


    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/ Images