Knitting Stitches Made Easy

Almost all knitting stitches consist of some variation of the knit and purl stitches. Master them and the rest is easy as pie!

Well maybe not, but we'll show you how - stitch by stitch - and you will be well on your way to knitting like a pro. Let's first see what the stitches look like.

The knit stitch.. is simply pulling yarn through a loop to create another loop. Simple? It creates a smooth V or flat finish on the front side of the fabric.

The purl stitch.. creates a bump or bumpy finish to the fabric. It is also the result you see on the back of the knit stitch.


Other Basic Stitches

Now that you know what the knit and purl stitches are, you already know four more stitches!

  • Stockinette Stitch
  • Reverse Stockinette Stitch
  • Garter Stitch
  • Moss Stitch

The stockinette stitch is nothing more than making all knit stitches across the front rows (or right side) of your work and purling all stitches across rows on the back side (wrong side) of your work.

Hint: The right side of your work looks like the "knit stitch" (above)

Stockinette Stitch is also referred to as stocking stitch.

The reverse stockinette stitch is purling all stitches on the right side of work and knitting all stitches on the wrong side of work.

Hint: The right side of work looks like the "purl stitch" (above)

The garter stitch is knitting all stitches on right and wrong side rows.

The result looks like this on both sides of your work:

Garter stitch adds an interesting texture due to the ridges created by this method.

The moss stitch is also referred to as the seed stitch. There are several variations besides the name to consider.

Check them out here.

The result looks like this on both sides of your work.

Moss stitch creates a "popcorn-type" texture.

Rib Stitches Add To Your Repertoire

The most common knitting stitch used for borders and bands is the Rib Stitch. It provides more elasticity than the garter or stockinette stitch.

As with most things in this wonderful world of knitting, there are many variations of the rib knitting stitches that create a different result.

Examples include:

  • Single Rib Stitch
  • Double Rib Stitch
  • Broken Double Rib Stitch
  • Single Twisted Rib

These are the most common, however, other variations do exist. It's totally up to you (or the designer) depending on what effect you want to achieve!

The single rib stitch is created with K1, P1 across the work on the right side. If you started with an even number of stitches, you will K1, P1 on the wrong side row too. Another way to think of this is after the first row, knit the knit stitches on the left needle and purl the purls!

The double rib stitch is created with K2, P2 across the work on the right side and K2, P2 on the wrong side row. (Assumes you end the first row with P2.)

The broken double rib stitch is created with K2, P2 across the work on the right side and purl across the wrong side row.


The twisted rib stitch creates a very elastic ribbing and is quite elegant!


There are several different variations of this stitch. The technique is to knit into the back of the knit stitches and purl into the back of the purl stitches.

Some will suggest K1 into the back of the knit stitch on right side row, then P1. On the next row (wrong side) purl into the back of the purl stitches and K1.

Try it both ways and see what you think!

Oh, Those Lovely Cables!

From simple to complex, cable knitting stitches are a fun method of adding form, texture and fun to projects.

The method of creating a cable is crossing one group of stitches over or under another group of stitches.

Bobbles and Eyelets Add Some Spice

Eyelets create a small "hole" which adds a bit of a delicate touch to the design. The knitting stitch used to create an eyelet is call a "yarn over" or YO. This is simply winding the yarn over the right hand needle and then knitting into the next stitch.


Bobbles are fun to do and add some fun texture to a knitting project. Bobbles are created by a technique where you knit into the same stitch multiple times (depending on how large you want the bobble to be), knitting and purling several rows of the new stitches and then passing stitches over each other.

The Elegance of Lace - Nupps

Nupps are a bit of a challenge to master, but well worth the effort. They are typically found in lace knitting and are similar to bobbles but more elongated. They add beautiful texture to a knitting project.

The Slip Stitch

The slip stitch is simply the act of moving a stitch without making a new stitch. Sounds weird?

Mostly used for decreases, when used in conjunction with other stitch sequences, you may be surprised at the different design elements that are produced.

How to do a slip stitch and some common stitch sequences can be found here.


Knitting stitches are simply many variations of the knit and purl stitch. When you know what the stitches look like, you can decide what effect you want to achieve in your project.

Beginners can choose to substitute a ribbing specified in a pattern and voila! A designer is born.

Have fun and try different effects. You will be surprised at how quickly you will catch on!

Keep on Knitting!




Return to Top of knitting Stitches

Return to Keep On Knitting

Proceed To Knit Stitch

Proceed To Purl Stitch

Proceed To Garter Stitch

Proceed To Moss Stitch

Proceed To Knitting Cables

Proceed To Yarn Over

Proceed To Slip Stitch

Proceed To Knitting Bobbles

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