How to Knit the Stockinette Stitch for Beginners

Stockinette Stitch Video

The Stockinette Stitch or Stocking Stitch is one of the most recognizable and most versatile stitches in the knitter’s repertoire. When most people think of knitting, they think of the Stockinette stitch. If you are a seasoned knitter, then you have likely used this stitch many times. If you are new to knitting, it’s a great stitch to learn after the Garter Stitch. To knit the Stockinette Stitch, you’ll need to know how to Cast onHow to Knit, and How to Purl

How to Knit the Stockinette Stitch

One of the elements of the Stockinette Stitch is that the ends of the fabric tend to “curl” unless you anchor the edge with a garter stitch. Some yarns show this tendency more than others; for instance, super bulky yarns tend to curl over fewer stitches than finer weight yarns.

Some projects use the curl as an advantage or an added design element. For instance, there may be a purposeful curl in the edging sock cuffs or creating curled scarves. And if your edges will be sewn together for a sweater seam, the curl is only a nuisance when flattening it out in order to check measurements. The curl will not affect the overall look of the final project.

For flat projects like scarves and dishcloths, avoid the curl by adding a border of ribbing, garter stitch, or another non-curling pattern to the edges.

Step 1

Start by using the Long Tail Cast On method and cast on 10 stitches. We are using Mary Maxim Best Value Yarn and Size 8 (5.00 mm) circular needles. You can use circular or straight needles; it’s your preference. We find them easier to film using circulars.

How to Purl

Step 3 (Row 2)

Purl the second row of stitches

Step 2 (Row 1)

Knit the first row of stitches

Stockinette Stitch

Continue in this manner, alternating knit rows and purl rows (repeat Rows 1 and 2) until you have knit the desired length of fabric. 

You’ll notice that when finished you’ll see a knit side of the fabric and a purl side of the fabric.  It should look like the stitches to the left.

The Versatility of the Stockinette Stitch

It is impossible to know the complete history of the Stockinette Stitch. It is called the Stockinette Stitch because it’s commonly seen knit in hosiery and socks for literally millennia. Take a look at these ancient Egyptian Socks worn with sandals. These are estimated to from the 4th or 5th centuries.

Socks knit with the Stockinette Stitch
Stockinette Stitch in Ancient Socks

We prefer this stitch over others, particularly on the heels of socks. The Stockinette Stitch lies very flat and is absent of lumps and bumps that would be uncomfortable to walk on if knit into the soles of your feet. Take a look at our post on knitting socks for more information. 

The Stockinette Stitch is very versatile. Many designers favor this stitch because it’s easy to customize the size of garments as adding increasing and decreasing stitches while staying in the pattern is simple. It knits up fast, making this stitch perfect for pieces that need to be reproduced quickly.

You’ll also find the stockinette stitch commonly paired with the cable technique. The contrast of purls and cables knit with the stockinette stitch is an iconic design element of Aran knitting.

Stay Tuned

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Happy Crafting!

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