An Essential Guide to Knitting Stitches for Beginners
In knitting, there are two stitches: knit and purl. Once you've mastered those, there's an entire world of patterns to be had at your fingertips. They combine into a seemingly infinite number of fabrics that look and feel unique. Most knitters begin by learning how to make a knit stitch, which produces the garter stitch when worked every row. Next, you will learn how to purl stitch, producing the stockinette stitch when alternated with knit stiches or that same garter stitch when worked every row. The moss stitch and seed stitch are created by alternating both knitting and purling into a richly textured fabric. These two patterns and the others to follow in this collection are simply combinations of knit and purl stitches.
When knitting a stitch, the yarn is always held at the back of the work. When purling a stitch, the yarn is always at the front. Visually, this looks like the working yarn is either in front or behind the crisscrossed needles. When you switch from a knit to a purl stitch, it's important to ensure that the yarn is in the correct position to work the next stitch. When you are moving the yarn from back to front or vice versa, the yarn should go between the two needles and not over them.
Whether you're knitting flat or knitting in the round, mastering these two basic stitches will help you develop your skills and you'll soon build the confidence necessary to take on any number of knitting projects.
As a beginner, this is the first stitch you will learn. Garter stitch is one of the easiest patterns in knit fabrics, recognizable by it's horizontal ridges on every other row. To knit the garter stitch, knit every stitch in every row. This produces a dense, strong fabric that is reversible, stands up well to wear, and lies perfectly flat.
As a new knitter, this is the next stitch you will learn. Stockinette stitch is one of the most common patterns in knitting, identified by smooth V-shaped columns that run vertical to the fabric. Flip the fabric over to the wrong side, and this is called reverse stockinette stitch. To knit the stockinette stitch, work the two main stitches, knit and purl, in their simplest combination.
Seed stitch is another common stitch in knitting, recognizable by its textured fabric covered in small nubs and arranged in a checkerboard order. To knit the seed stitch, work a sequence of knit and purl stitches, alternating on every row.Many garments including sweaters, mittens, and hats use this stitch to allow the fabric to stretch and keep its shape.
After learning the seed stitch, this is the next advanced version. Moss stitch is a basic pattern in knitting, which produces elongated rows of raised bumps. To knit the moss stitch, work two rows of the same sequence of knits and purls before you alternate them in the next two rows. It's reversible—great for blankets, scarves, and shawls. It's also practical for a washcloth because the texture makes for a good scrubbing surface.