Knitting Stockinette Stitch Made Simple

Knitting the Stockinette Stitch Made Simple

Diving into the world of knitting can seem daunting, especially when you’re just starting out. One of the most fundamental techniques to master is the Stockinette Stitch – a classic stitch pattern used widely in various knitting projects.

Our handy guide will simplify this process, breaking down each stage to make it easy for beginners to grasp. Let’s unravel the mystery together and help you become a stockinette stitch superstar!

Main Highlights

  • The stockinette stitch is a basic knitting technique that involves alternating rows of knit and purl stitches, resulting in a smooth front side with V-shaped loops and a bumpy back side with ridges or bumps.
  • To master the stockinette stitch, you will need supplies like knitting needles, yarn, scissors, and a tapestry needle.
  • The step-by-step guide provided in the article breaks down the process of mastering the stockinette stitch for beginners.
  • Key tips for perfecting the stockinette stitch include adjusting your gauge, preventing curling with blocking techniques, and easily counting row numbers.

In this article…

Understanding the Stockinette Stitch

The stockinette stitch is a basic knitting stitch pattern that involves alternating rows of knit and purl stitches, resulting in a smooth front side with V-shaped loops and a bumpy back side with ridges or bumps.

Stockinette Stitch Knitting

What is it?

The Stockinette Stitch, also referred to as the ‘stocking stitch,’ is a fundamental knitting technique that every beginner needs to master. It’s a two-row repeat pattern comprising one knit row (right side) followed by one purl row (wrong side).

Known for its smooth and uniform texture on the right side and bumpy appearance on the wrong side, the stockinette stitch serves as the foundation for numerous knitted items, including scarves, hats, sweaters, and mittens.

Its versatile nature allows it to adapt seamlessly with any type of yarn used in needlework projects.

What does it look like?

The appearance of the Stockinette Stitch is one of its most defining features, setting it apart from other knitting techniques. Notably smooth and elegant on the front side, often referred to as the “right side,” this stitch creates a distinct series of V-shaped columns that exude a streamlined aesthetic.

Flip your knitted fabric over and you’ll find an equally interesting texture on what’s known as the “wrong side.” Here, you’ll see bumpy rows intersecting in an alternation pattern that mirrors waves or ripples, adding another layer of curiosity to the overall design.

No matter what type of yarn you employ or project sizing required for your knitting task – whether it be mittens or sweaters – mastering stockinette stitch can offer your creations an enhanced visual appeal that’s both professional and versatile.


Abbreviations in knitting patterns save space and make instructions easier to read once you understand what they mean. The abbreviation for stockinette stitch is “st st” or “St st”.

Discover a full list of knitting abbreviations here.

Supplies Needed for Stockinette Stitch Knitting

To knit the stockinette stitch, you will need the following supplies: knitting needles, yarn, scissors, and a tapestry needle.

Knitting Needles

Knitting needles are an essential tool for mastering stockinette stitch knitting. When choosing needles, consider the yarn weight and your personal preference. Use wooden or bamboo needles for beginners as they have a slight grip that prevents stitches from slipping off easily.

The size of the needle should match the recommended gauge on your yarn label to ensure consistent stitch size. Circular needles are ideal for larger projects and knitting in the round, while straight needles work well for flat projects.

Remember, always use sharp scissors to cut your yarn cleanly and a tapestry needle for weaving in loose ends once you’ve finished your project. With the right knitting needles, you’ll be ready to conquer stockinette stitch knitting like a pro!


Yarn is an essential supply for knitting the stockinette stitch. It comes in a variety of materials, weights, and colors, allowing you to choose the perfect yarn for your project. When selecting yarn for stockinette stitch knitting, consider the desired drape and texture of your finished fabric.

Thicker yarns will create a chunkier look, while finer yarns will result in a more delicate appearance. Remember to match your chosen yarn with the appropriate knitting needle size to ensure consistent tension and gauge throughout your project.

With countless options available, you’re sure to find the ideal yarn that brings your stockinette stitch creations to life!

Stockinette Stitch Knitting

Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering Stockinette Stitch

In this section, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to help you master the stockinette stitch.

1. Cast On

To begin knitting the stockinette stitch, you will need to cast on your stitches. Casting on is the process of creating the foundation row of stitches onto your knitting needle. It sets up the number of stitches you’ll be working with for your project.

You can use a variety of casting on methods, but for beginners, the long tail cast-on method is recommended. This method creates a neat and stretchy edge that works well with stockinette stitch.

To cast on using this method, hold one end of your yarn in your right hand and make a slipknot about six inches from the end. Slide this loop onto one needle and then place it over your left thumb and forefinger so that it forms an X shape when stretched out between them.

2. Knit Row

To create the stockinette stitch, you alternate between knitting rows and purling rows. The knit row is where you knit every stitch across the row. This creates a smooth, flat surface on the right side of your fabric, with interlocking V-shaped stitches.

Knitting each stitch involves inserting your needle from left to right through the front loop of the stitch on your left-hand needle, wrapping the yarn around your right-hand needle counterclockwise, and pulling it through to form a new stitch.

The resulting texture is perfect for showcasing intricate patterns or simply adding a touch of sophistication to your projects. With practice, you’ll master this fundamental knitting technique and be able to confidently tackle various stockinette stitch projects like scarves, sweaters, and blankets in no time.

3. Purl Row

To create the classic stockinette stitch pattern, the purl row is an essential step in alternating with the knit rows. On the purl row, instead of working with knit stitches, you will be purling each stitch across the row.

Purling is a simple technique where you insert your right-hand needle into the front of each stitch from right to left and wrap your yarn counterclockwise around it before pulling it through to create a new loop on your right-hand needle.

The result of this purling process is a bumpy texture on what will become the backside of your stockinette fabric. This contrast between smooth and bumpy textures adds depth and dimension to your knitting project.

4. Repeat

To create a beautiful stockinette stitch fabric, you will need to repeat the same two rows over and over again. After casting on your stitches and knitting the first row, you will then purl every stitch in the second row.

This alternation between knit and purl rows is what creates the smooth “V” pattern on one side of your work and the bumpy texture on the other side. By repeating this simple pattern, you can continue to build up your stockinette stitch fabric until it reaches your desired length.

So grab your knitting needles and yarn, cast on those stitches, and get ready to repeat those knit and purl rows for a lovely piece of knitted goodness!

5. Casting off Stockinette Stitch

To finish off your stockinette stitch project, you’ll need to learn how to cast off. Casting off is the process of removing stitches from your needles and creating a secure edge. To cast off in stockinette stitch, knit the first two stitches as usual.

Then, with the left needle tip, lift the first stitch over the second stitch and drop it off the right needle. Knit one more stitch and repeat this process until you have one stitch remaining on your right needle.

Finally, cut your working yarn leaving a tail of about 6 inches and thread it through the last loop on your needle to secure it. Cast-off completed! Now you can admire your finished stockinette stitch creation – whether it’s a cozy scarf or a stylish sweater.

Knitting Stockinette in the Round

To knit stockinette stitch in the round, follow these steps:

  • Cast on the desired number of stitches onto circular needles.
  • Join your work in the round by knitting or purling the first stitch of your cast-on row before continuing to knit every subsequent stitch. This creates a seamless tube of fabric.
  • Continue knitting every round until the desired length is reached.
  • When you reach the end of a row, simply rotate your work and start knitting again in the same direction.
  • Knitting stockinette stitch in the round eliminates the need to purl rows, making it a faster and more efficient method for creating smooth, even fabric.

Tips for Perfect Stockinette Stitch

Get the perfect stockinette stitch every time with these helpful tips: adjust your gauge for a flawless finish, keep your fabric from curling with blocking techniques, and easily count your stockinette stitch rows.

Read on to master this essential knitting technique!

Stockinette Stitch Knitting

Getting the Right Gauge

Achieving the correct gauge is crucial when knitting stockinette stitch projects. Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch in a knitted fabric, and it determines the final size and fit of your project.

To get the right gauge, start by using the recommended needle size stated in your pattern. If your gauge is too loose, try switching to smaller needles; if it’s too tight, switch to larger ones.

Remember that different yarns may require different needle sizes for achieving the desired gauge. It’s important to knit a swatch before starting your project to ensure you’re on track with the proper stitch count and row height.

Preventing Curling

To prevent curling in stockinette stitch knitting, there are a few techniques you can try. Adding a border of garter stitch, seed stitch, or rib stitch can help counteract the natural tendency of stockinette fabric to curl.

These stitches create a flat edge that helps stabilize the fabric and keep it from rolling. Another option is blocking your finished project. Blocking involves wetting and reshaping the knitted item to even out any uneven stitches and encourage the fabric to lay flat.

This process can help relax the fibers and reduce curling. Remember, different yarns may behave differently, so it’s always good to test swatches and see which method works best for your specific project.

Counting Stockinette Stitch Rows

Counting stockinette stitch rows is an essential skill for any knitter. To keep track of your progress and ensure consistent measurements, it’s important to know how many rows you have worked.

Simply count the V-shaped ridges on the right side of the fabric as one row. This method works because each ridge represents two rows – a knit row and a purl row. By counting these ridges, you can easily determine how many rows you’ve completed in your stockinette stitch project without getting confused by the alternating knit and purl stitches.

So, whether you’re creating a cozy scarf or a stylish sweater, mastering this technique will help you stay organized and achieve beautiful results in your knitting projects!

Video Tutorials

Need further instructions, or prefer watching visually how to knit up the stockinette stitch? These great videos from Garnstudio / DROPS Design will help you understand better how to achieve a perfect stitch.

Tutorial: How to knit the stockinette stitch

Tutorial: How to knit edges in stockinette stitch

Tutorial: How to knit the stockinette stitch, in the round on circular needles

Subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

Weighing in on the Stockinette Stitch


First and foremost, the stockinette stitch is incredibly easy to learn, making it perfect for beginners who are just starting their knitting journey.

It consists of simple knit and purl stitches, which can be quickly mastered with a bit of practice. Secondly, stockinette stitch creates a smooth and sleek fabric on the front side that looks clean and professional.

This makes it ideal for creating garments like sweaters or accessories where you want a polished appearance. Additionally, the stretchiness of stockinette stitch fabric gives your finished projects excellent drape, allowing them to beautifully conform to the body when worn.

Finally, stockinette stitch allows for endless versatility in design options since it provides a solid foundation that can be easily combined with other stitches or patterns to create intricate textures or colorwork.


One disadvantage of stockinette stitch is its tendency to curl at the edges. The smooth side (the right side) of stockinette stitch fabric tends to roll inward, while the bumpy side (the wrong side) rolls outward.

This curling can cause frustration for knitters who want a flat and even fabric. To counteract this, it is recommended to add a border stitch pattern such as garter stitch or seed stitch, which lays flat and helps prevent the curling effect.

Another drawback is that stockinette stitch can highlight any mistakes or uneven tension in your knitting since it has a clean and smooth surface. However, with practice and attention to detail, these disadvantages can be mitigated, allowing you to create beautiful projects with stockinette stitch.

Troubleshooting Common Stockinette Stitch Issues

  • Uneven Tension: Achieving consistent tension is crucial for a polished stockinette stitch. Practice maintaining an even tension by knitting slowly and consciously, ensuring that each stitch has the same tightness or looseness as the rest.
  • Dropped Stitches: Accidentally dropping a stitch can unravel your entire project if not corrected promptly. To fix a dropped stitch, carefully use a crochet hook or tapestry needle to pick up the dropped stitch, working from right to left in the row below.
  • Twisted Stitches: Twisted stitches can occur when you mistakenly insert your needle into the wrong part of the loop. Always ensure that your needle goes into the front of the loop for knit stitches and into the back for purl stitches.
  • Split Yarn: Splitting yarn while knitting with stockinette stitch can lead to messy and uneven fabric. Avoid splitting by using smooth and snag-free needles, being mindful of where you insert your needle into the yarn, and gently guiding your stitches without excessive force.
  • Holes In Fabric: Sometimes, holes may appear in your stockinette fabric due to unintentional yarn overs or accidental dropped stitches. Fix these holes by picking up any loose strands with a crochet hook or tapestry needle and securing them with adjacent stitches.
  • Uneven Rows: If you notice that some rows appear shorter or taller than others, it could be due to unintentionally skipping or adding rows while knitting. Counting your rows periodically can help identify any inconsistencies and allow you to make corrections as needed.
  • Curling Edges: As mentioned earlier, stockinette stitch has a natural tendency to curl along its edges. Adding borders of garter stitch, seed stitch, or ribbing can help prevent this curling effect and give your finished project a neater appearance.
  • Puckering or Gathering: If you find that your fabric is puckering or gathering instead of laying flat, it could be a sign of tension issues or using the wrong needle size for your yarn. Adjusting your tension or trying different needle sizes can help resolve this problem.

Remember that practice makes perfect when it comes to troubleshooting stockinette stitch issues. With time and experience, you’ll become more adept at identifying and correcting any problems that arise during your knitting projects.

Before you go…

Mastering stockinette stitch knitting is a fundamental skill that opens up endless possibilities for beginner knitters. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, beginners can confidently create smooth and versatile fabric with just knit and purl stitches.

With practice and patience, you’ll be able to tackle a wide range of knitting projects using this essential technique. So grab your needles and yarn, and let your creativity flow as you become an expert at stockinette stitch knitting!


1. What is the stockinette stitch in knitting?

The stockinette stitch is a basic knitting pattern that creates smooth and even rows of knit stitches on one side, and purl stitches on the other side. It is commonly used in various knitting projects, such as scarves, sweaters, and blankets.

2. How do I create the stockinette stitch?

To create the stockinette stitch, begin by casting on an even number of stitches. Then, alternate between knitting one row and purling one row until you reach your desired length. Repeat these two rows to continue working in the stockinette stitch pattern.

3. Can I use different yarn weights for the stockinette stitch?

Yes! The stockinette stitch can be worked with any yarn weight, from thin lace yarn to bulky chunky yarn. Just make sure to choose appropriate needle sizes according to your chosen yarn weight to achieve the desired tension and gauge.

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