Stockinette Stitch Knitting

About Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette stitch is one of the best beginner stitches to learn! It’s a popular stitch and forms the foundation for a huge range of other more complex stitch patterns including cables, lace, brioche, and colorwork.

What is stockinette stitch?

Stockinette stitch fabric is characterized by flat “v” shaped stitches on the right side and purl bumps on the wrong side. Today we’ll show you how to knit stockinette stitch flat (back and forth).

How hard is knitting stockinette stitch?

Stockinette stitch knitting is the second easiest beginner knitting stitch to learn (check out garter stitch for the easiest stitch)! This stitch is a great way to practice the basic knit and purl stitches.

Stockinette stitch swatch with yarn needle

When to Use Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette stitch is a versatile stitch that works well and is a wonderful go-to technique for a variety of projects. This stitch pattern is a great choice for garments like sweaters, shawls, and cardigans where you need a fabric that drapes and falls gracefully. We also love stockinette stitch for accessories like basic beanies, mittens, socks, because it stretches to fit curves, is sturdy, and creates a nice flat surface that’s easy to embellish. 

There is a catch, though. Stockinette when knit flat does have a tendency to curl at the edges. There are a variety of ways to prevent curling. You can either incorporate a garter stitch border, add ribbing, or an i-cord edge in your project. 

Materials & Skills


Skills You Need To Know

  • How to cast on
  • Helpful to know how knit and purl

If you are not quite sure what needles or yarn to use, we have a beginner knitting kit to help you get started!

It has everything a new knitter needs for their first projects. So check it out!

Getting Started

Stockinette stitch worked flat is made by alternating knit and purl rows. This means you knit one row and, once you get to the end of your row, turn your work before purling the next row. 

Quick Instructions for Stockinette Stitch Knit Flat

Knit one row. Turn your work. Purl one row. Repeat these two rows until the desired length of your piece has been reached!

Casting On

Every project starts with a cast on row. If you’re following a pattern, cast on the number of stitches noted in your project. If you’re simply knitting a swatch or test piece, go ahead and cast on enough stitches for a 4” fabric using the needles and yarn of your choice. 

All yarn ball labels should note how many stitches per inch you’re likely to get on certain needles. It’s likely you will need to cast on a few extra stitches than the yarn label recommends because garter stitch is such a stretchy, squishy fabric.

Stockinette Stitch Knit Flat Photo Tutorial

Note: This tutorial was written for right-handed knitters. 

First Row: How to Knit

The first row is a knit row, these instructions will walk you through forming a knit stitch.

How To Knit Stitch - Step 2

Step 1: Insert the right needle through the first stitch upwards from right to left through the front loop.

How To Knit Stitch - Step 3

Step 2: Bring the yarn up between the two needles, looping it over the right needle.

How To Knit Stitch - Step 4

Step 3: Hook the yarn through the stitch by pivoting your right needle downward, pinning the yarn between the needles as you go.

How To Knit Stitch - Step 5

Step 4: Drop the stitch off your left needle once the new knit stitch is resting fully on your right-hand needle. 

How To Knit Stitch - repeat steps 2-5

Repeat steps 1-4 until the end of the row.

stockinette and garter stitch knitting swatches

Need more help? Check out the full knit stitch tutorial!

Read More…

Second Row: How to Purl

The second row is a purl row, these instructions will walk you through forming a purl stitch!

The right-hand knitting needle is inserted downward through the front of the first stitch on the left-hand knitting needle.

Step 1: Insert the right-hand needle through the first stitch from right to left through the front leg of the stitch.

The working yarn is looped up and over (counter clockwise) around the right needle tip.

Step 2: Wrap the yarn up and over your working needle from front to back, down between the two needles. 

The right needle tip pull the working yarn up and through the stitch.

Step 3: Pull the loop through the stitch by pivoting your right needle tip upward to the right.

The right hand's pointer finger pushes the left needle down so that the stitch on the left needle can be dropped off of it.

Step 4: Slide the old stitch off your left-hand needle.

One new purl stitch is now on the right-hand needle.

Repeat steps 1-4 until you’ve purled all of your stitches!

garter stitch knit swatch

Need more help? Check out the full purl stitch tutorial!

Read More…

Stockinette Stitch Knit Flat vs. in the Round

Stockinette stitch is made differently depending upon whether it was knit in the round or flat. When knit flat (back and forth), stockinette stitch fabric is made using alternating rows of knitting and purling. When knit in the round, stockinette stitch knit is made by just knitting all stitches!

Common Mistakes

Because stockinette has two distinct sides of knit stitches on one side and purls on the other, it’s easy to spot mistakes in the middle of a row. This is a great stitch to use to practice learning how to “read” your fabric. After every row, take a moment to check your progress and scan for mistakes (and then fixing them right away!).

How to Weave Ends in for Stockinette Stitch

Once you’ve finished your stockinette stitch project or swatch, it’s time to weave your yarn tails in! We’ve got a handy step-by-step tutorial showing you the most popular ways to weave your ends in. READ MORE…

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