How To Knit Stockinette Stitch (For Beginners)


In this post, you will learn how to knit stockinette stitch.

The stockinette stitch (known as stocking stitch in the UK) is created by one row of knit stitches followed by one row of purl stitches.

Learning the stockinette/stocking stitch is the next step once you have learned how to knit and purl.

Stockinette stitch is used in many patterns, from hats, scarves, blankets, and sweaters.

How to knit stockinette stitch

How To Knit Stockinette Stitch In The Round

This stitch works with any number of stitches per row and can be used in patterns that call for an odd or even amount of stitches.

However, when working in the round with circular needles or double-pointed needles, to create stockinette stitch, you simply knit every row. 

You do not purl any of your stitches when working in the round, as this creates a different stitch (looks like garter stitch). 

Related Post: How to join knitting in the round with circular knitting needles

Get the latest in your inbox!

Weekly news, free patterns, tutorials, and more.


What Does A Stockinette Stitch Look Like?

  • This type of stitch has a right side (RS) and a wrong side (WS).
  • The right side is typically the smooth side, called stockinette or knit.
  • On this side, the stitches look like small Vs.
  • The bumpy side of stockinette stitch fabric is called reverse stockinette or purl.
  • It also has the tendency to curl at the edges.
example of what stockinette stitch looks like

Stockinette Stitch Knitting

The front and right side of the fabric look like it has a series of V’s.

On the back of the work, you will see the purled side.

This pattern can be worked on any number of stitches.

How Do You Knit Stockinette Stitch?

For example, in the sample below I cast on 20 stitches.

You will cast on the loops onto the left needle and start knitting with the right-hand needle.

There are only two rows in this pattern, a knit row, and a purl row.

  • On two needles: 1st row (right side of work): Knit all stitches.
  • 2nd row: Purl row.
  • These last two rows form the pattern.

On four needles or in the round – Knit all stitches.

Stocking stitch
The knit side (right side) of the knitted fabric.

Video Tutorial

You can see a video tutorial on my YouTube channel here.

Reverse Stocking Stitch (Purl)

Reverse stockinette stitch is made when the first row is purled and the second is knitted. 

The purled side – the bumpy side is meant to be the front of the fabric.

This pattern can be worked on any number of stitches.

  • On two needles: 1st row (right side of work): Purl all stitches.
  • 2nd row: Knit all stitches.
  • These last 2 rows form the pattern.

On four needles or in the round – Purl all stitches, or simply use the wrong side of the stocking stitch fabric.

Reverse stocking stitch
The reverse side (wrong side) of the knitted fabric.

What Does St St Mean In A Knitting Pattern?

When you are following a knitting pattern and you see the abbreviation st st – this means to work in stockinette stitch.

Stocking stitch is used in so many knitting patterns; you will see that it is commonly used in everything from simple scarves to sweaters.

You can see a full list here of knitting abbreviations and terms (US and UK).

stockinette stitch cardigan with pockets

Stockinette Stitch Knitting Patterns

If you are interested in practicing this stitch, try out a swatch or knit a scarf to begin with.

The beauty of this stitch is that it is relatively mindless; you just knit one row and then purl the other over and over.

Patterns that use this stitch are excellent for beginner knitters.

Take a look at these patterns which use stockinette stitch:

ribbed beanie hat pattern

What Else Can I Do With Stockinette Stitch?

This stitch pattern can be used in many projects, as it knits up fast and needs little attention.

This makes it perfect for mindless knitting while watching a movie or for when you are traveling.

It can also be a great base for building other stitches on, for example, you can stitch on top of the V’s and create designs that make your knitting more interesting.

You can see an example of this in the Mischief Managed Dog sweater Pattern here – Dog Sweater Knitting Pattern | Mischief Managed

harry potter weasley dog sweater

Why Is My Stockinette Stitch Curling?

One thing that happens often with this stitch pattern is that you see the edges curling.

This is common on the edge of a garment knit with stockinette stitch and some yarns make this more likely to happen than others.

In some projects this can be wanted, if you want to have a curled-over edge, like mitten cuffs, booties, or some scarves.

For flat projects like scarves and washcloths, you can add a border of ribbing or a garter stitch border as this will help to keep the edges laying flat.

knitted baby booties

The roll-top edge of the baby booties is created with a stockinette stitch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *