Knitting Stitch Patterns

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There are all sorts of knitting stitch patterns that you can use to give your knitting a little extra panache. By combining knits and purls in a specific way, you can make designs in your knitted fabric that are great for adding extra interest to a scarf, bag, sweater or any other project.

Basic Knitting Stitch Patterns

The most basic knitting stitch patterns, the first "patterns" you learn about when you first start knitting, are the garter stitch and stockinette stitch. I put patterns in quotation marks because they're hardly patterns at all. You'll often see them mentioned in patterns with no further explanation, so fundamental are they.

Garter stitch simply means that you knit every single row of the project. A super-simple, quick and easy garter stitch project is a great first project for a beginning knitter. Check out the Blue State Scarf for a project using garter stitch that will only take a few hours to complete.

Stockinette stitch means that you knit the first row, purl the second row and so on, alternating rows throughout the piece. This gives you a fabric with a definite front and back. The knit side is smooth, with cute little v shapes throughout, while the purl side is rows and rows of little scalloped ridges. Usually the knit side is considered the front, but the purl side can also be the front, or if you've made a scarf the project can be reversible.

Intermediate Knitting Stitch Patterns

Once you're comfortable with knitting and purling and have mastered garter and stockinette, there is a whole world of other knitting stitch patterns that you can make. Having a few of these patterns in your arsenal makes it easy for you to design your own basic projects, for instance, making a seed stitch dishcloth or a farrow rib scarf.

Here's a quick rundown of a few popular knitting stitch patterns you might see in projects.

Seed Stitch

The seed stitch is made on a project with an even number of stitches. For the first row, knit one, purl one to the end. On the second row, purl one, knit one to the end. Repeat for the pattern.

This stitch makes a nice bumpy fabric with a little more interest than a garter stitch pattern. FYI, this stitch is also sometimes referred to as moss stitch, but it's the exact same thing.

Ribbing

There are many different knitting stitch patterns for ribbing, but some of the most popular are knit one purl one on every row and knit one purl two on every row. These are also worked on an even number of stitches. I mentioned the farrow rib earlier, and that's another variation of ribbing. It's a little more complicated, worked on multiples of three plus one (13, 16, 19, etc.). You knit two, purl one across the first row, ending with one knit stitch. The second row starts with one purl, then knit two, purl one across.

Garter rib is another popular ribbing pattern. It's formed on multiples of four plus two stitches (10, 14, 18, etc.). Start each row with two knit stitches, then purl two, knit two across each row for the pattern.

A final fun knitting stitch pattern for ribbing is called the mistake rib. It's formed on multiples of four plus three stitches. Simply knit two, purl two across, ending with a knit three. Repeat this row for the pattern.

Rice Stitch

The rice stitch is another easy one, similar to the seed stitch. It makes little bumps that look kind of like grains of rice. Work this one on an even number of stitches. Knit one, purl one across the first row. Knit the second row. Repeat for pattern.

Fancy Knitting Stitch Patterns

If you're looking for something a little more interesting, there are all sorts of really decorative knitting stitch patterns that you can try. Here are a couple that are still pretty easy, but slightly more complex than the ones listed above.

Basketweave

I really love the basketweave stitch. It's so satisfying to see these come together. The math is a little trickier, as it should be worked on multiples of eight plus five (13, 21, 29, 37, etc.).

  • Row 1: Knit
  • Row 2: Knit five, then purl three and knit five across
  • Row 3: Purl five, then knit three and purl five across
  • Row 4: Knit five, then purl three and knit five across
  • Row 5: Knit
  • Row 6: Knit one, then purl three and knit five across, ending with purl three, knit one
  • Row 7: Purl one, then knit three and purl five across, ending with knit three, purl one
  • Row 8: Knit one, then purl three and knit five across, ending with purl three, knit one
  • Repeat for pattern

Diamonds

Diamonds are a lot of fun and can make a simple scarf or wrap a lot more interesting. This pattern should be worked on multiples of 13 stitches. The pattern below is for 13 stitches, just keep repeating it across as many times as you need to make your project.

  • Row 1: Knit six, purl one, knit six
  • Row 2: Purl five, knit one, purl one, knit one, purl five
  • Row 3: Knit four, then purl one, knit one twice, purl one, knit four
  • Row 4: Purl three, then knit one, purl one three times, knit one, purl three
  • Row 5: Knit two, then purl one, knit one four times, purl one, knit two
  • Row 6-8: Purl one, knit one six times, purl one
  • Row 9: Repeat row 5.
  • Row 10: Repeat row 4.
  • Row 11: Repeat row 3.
  • Row 12: Repeat row 2.
  • Repeat for pattern

Diagonals

This one is a little complex, but makes a really interesting result. It should be worked on multiples of eight plus six stitches.

  • Row 1: Purl three, then knit five, purl three across, ending with knit three
  • Row 2: Purl four, then knit three, purl five across, ending with knit two
  • Row 3: Purl one, knit five, then purl three, knit five across
  • Row 4: Knit one, purl five, then knit three, purl five across
  • Row 5: Knit four, then purl three, knit five across, ending with purl two
  • Row 6: Knit three, then purl five, knit three across, ending with purl three
  • Row 7: Knit two, purl three, then knit five, purl three across, ending with knit one
  • Row 8: Purl two, knit three, then purl five, knit three across, ending with purl one
  • Repeat for pattern

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Knitting Stitch Patterns