Knitting is a great hobby for women and men, young and old, who love fashion, design, and crafting with their hands.
The craft requires patience and attention to detail, but it also offers endless possibilities.
If you want to master the art of knitting, then you should start with learning the basic stitches before moving on to the more complex stitches that there are.
Knitting is a centuries-old craft that has evolved over time. Today, it is a popular hobby for both men and women of all ages.
Knitting is a relaxing way to unwind after a long day at work or school and it is also a great way to express creativity and develop skills such as patience, concentration, and coordination.
Knitting is also a great outlet that enables you to exercise your fine motor skills, which is particularly beneficial to young children and older individuals.
There are many different types of stitches, ranging in difficulty and look and some are easier to master than others.
In this piece, we look at the huge range of stitches in knitting and explain how to do these stitches, what they are referred to as in knitting patterns, and other useful pieces of information.
Basic Knitting Stitches Everyone Should Know
If you are new to knitting it is incredibly important that you take the time to master the most basic stitches before moving on to other types of stitches.
These stitches will still give you ample opportunity to create beautiful designs and you will often find yourself resorting to these stitches even when your knitting skills have progressed from intermediate to advanced.
Like everything, learning a new skill takes time. We recommended taking this process one step at a time.
Try to sit back and relax and enjoy the process. You will be creating your own designs in no time.
We have included the abbreviations that these stitches are often referred to as in knitting patterns as well as a basic outline of the method.
1. Plain Stitch
This stitch is the foundation of all knitting stitches and it is the most important stitch that knitters of all standards should know.
This stitch is also known as the garter stitch, a name that refers to the elastic bands that were used many years ago to hold up ladies’ stockings.
In knitting patterns, you can expect to see this stitch abbreviated as “g st”.
- Cast on to the needles
- Insert the right needle through the first stitch, going from the form to the back and left to right
- Wrap the wool or yarn around the right needle, wrapping in a counterclockwise motion where the yarn or wool should g between the two needles
- Gently slide the right needle under the left needle, the needle will catch the wrapped wool as you move the needle to the front
- This movement creates a new stitch and all that’s left is to slide the stitch off the left needle so that the new needle is now on the right needle
- Continue repeating this step until you have completed what you are making
2. Stocking Stitch
The stocking stitch is very recognizable as on the outer side of the fabric you can see the stocking stitches and on the inner side of the fabric, there are purl stitches visible.
This stitch is also known as a stockinette stitch. In knitting patterns, you can expect to see this stitch abbreviated as “St st”.
- Knit one row following the plain stitch method
- Knit the next row in purl
- Repeat until you have completed your piece
3. Reverse Stocking Stitch
This stitch is the same as the above stitch, simply reversed so that the purl stitch is visible on the outer side of the piece and the plain stitch is on the inside of the piece.
This stitch is also known as a reverse stockinette stitch.
In knitting patterns, you can expect to see this stitch abbreviated as “Rev St st”.
- Knit one row in purl
- Knit the next row using the plain stitch technique
- Continue to alternate between these two techniques until you are happy with the length and look of your creation.
4. Seed Stitch
This stitch creates a very unique look and is often incorporated into knitting patterns for pieces of clothing.
This stitch is also known as a sand stitch. It is similar to the dot stitch also but the method between these two stitches makes them slightly different.
In knitting patterns, you won’t find the name of this stitch abbreviated, but you will find references to the plain stitch and purl.
- The first stitch should be a plain stitch
- The next stitch will be purled
- Continue alternating each stitch until you reach the desired length of what you are making
Knitting Stitches For Experienced Knitters
If you have mastered the basic stitches in knitting then you are ready to move onto these more intermediate-level knitting stitches.
These stitches are more complicated and will take time to master.
We recommended mastering one at a time as this will enable you to focus on one task at a time and set yourself up for success.
1. Andalusian Stitch
Appearance: Wavy pattern, distanced some rows apart.
This stitch is mostly used when making scarves, jumpers, or cardigans as the stitch is tight making the pieces created using this stitch very durable.
The Andalusian stitch shares similarities with the stocking stitch but gives a more vintage look to finished pieces.
2. Bamboo Stitch
Appearance: Coil or spiral-like stitches
Baby blankets and thicker creations are ideal for this stitch. The rows of stitches give the illusion of vertical bamboo stalks.
This technique for this stitch is a combination of yarn overs and slipped stitches that result in this coil-like final product.
3. Basketweave Stitch
Appearance: Classic picnic basket appearance
An alternating technique that includes purl stitches and knitting stitches is used to achieve a classic woven look.
This stitch was commonly used when making heavy winter jumpers or bags.
4. Diamond Honeycomb Stitch
Appearance: Honeycomb appearance
If you have ever looked into a bee’s nest and seen the pure honeycomb in its true state then you will be able to understand why this stitch has been given this name.
A gorgeous stitch that creates stunning pieces and is particularly popular when making clothing for little girls with the diamond-shaped stitches giving a daintiness to the pieces.
5. Diagonal Seed Stitch
Appearance: Vertical runs of seeds in a line
This stitch adds a gorgeous texture to knitted pieces. The vertical running lines of seeds give depth to the wool.
This stitch is also called a diagonal sand stitch and the finished products do also look like stretches of sand that have been pushed by crashing waves.
6. Double Moss Stitch
Appearance: Like moss on a tree
If you are looking for a stitch that will add a unique feel and look to your knitted pieces then you should consider adding the double moss stitch to your knitting skills.
This stitch is used to create pieces that require an extra bit of durability and stability.
7. Flag Knit Stitch
Appearance: Mini flags throughout the finished piece
This stitch is another variant of the stocking stitch and creates small rectangular shapes into the pieces you are creating. This stitch is often used when crafting blankets or pillows.
8. Irish Moss Stitch
Appearance: Soft and even moss look
A softer version of the double moss stitch, this pattern is just as beautiful and is often used when crafting homeware items, such as teapot covers, coasters, and other pieces that require a thicker finished product.
9. Large Stacked Triangle Stitch
Appearance: Alternating triangles
The print that this stitch creates replicates the design that would be embedded in traditional Aztec-style clothing.
The traditional triangular look is used to make a range of different things, from clothing to bedding to accessories and children’s booties.
10. Linen Stitch
Appearance: X and O style pattern
Patterns that include this stitch are easy to follow and there is a real rhythm to be found when creating pieces using the linen stitch.
Linen material has a gorgeous feel, and so too does the final results of this stitch which is the reason behind the name of this stitch.
11. Little Granite Stitch
Appearance: Chunky stitches
This stitch is often used to make scarves and infinity scarves due to the chunkiness that this stitch creates.
The small bumps that the stitch creates make for a lovely, full feel to knitted pieces.
12. Netted Stitch
Appearance: Loose stitches give a netted lace look
If you are knitting a light cardigan for the warmer months, chances are you are incorporating the netted stitch into your design.
This stitch requires a lot of focus and attention as it combines yarnovers, knit, purl, and also stitches being knitted together.
13. Purl Ridge Stitch
Appearance: Ridges running horizontally across the piece
This alternating technique combines purl and the stocking stitch to create an elegant look.
This stitch can be used when making anything that should be thinner and sleek in its appearance.
14. Reverse Ridge Stitch
Appearance: Vertical ridges
A variation of the above stitch, the reverse ridge stitch follows a reversible six-row pattern that repeats itself.
This stitch differs from other ribbing patterns as the ridge that is created runs vertically across the fabric.
15. Seersucker Stitch
Appearance: Diamond shapes running in diagonal lines
The appearance of this stitch can give a headache if the wool is over bright but the feel of this stitch is gorgeous and the final look does look extremely intricate.
This look is achieved by following an 8-row pattern that repeats on itself. The diamonds appear raised and they are separated by a simple plain stitch.
16. Tiles Stitch
Appearance: Raised squares divided by a border
A gorgeous stitch that is often used for larger knitting projects, such as creating a shawl, throw for a bed or furniture, or crafting a large blanket.
There is another variation of this stitch called the Tiles Square Stitch which is similar in appearance, differing in the way the squares, or tiles, are connected within the pattern.
17. Waffle Stitch
Appearance: Waffles split by running ribs
The perfect stitch for crafting cozy winter pullovers. This stitch creates a gorgeous texture and look to clothing and the ribs make these pieces sturdier.
18. Wide Basketweave Stitch
Appearance: Like a woven basket
This stitch is aptly named as it perfectly replicates the woven look of a picnic box from years ago.
Similar to the Waffle Stitch, this stitch too is often used when crafting big knitted pieces such as blankets and throws.
Knitting Stitches For Advanced Knitters
These stitches are for those seasoned knitters who could do any of the basic or intermediate stitches we have mentioned with their eyes closed.
These advanced stitches are incredibly complex but if you have already mastered basic and intermediate stitches your skills are in a great position to act as a base for your next stage of growth.
1. Basket Loop Stitch
Appearance: Curved interwoven lines
This is a modern alternative to the traditional basket loop stitch. The woven effect usually has very straight lines but this stitch creates a curved and horizontal effect.
2. Caterpillar Stitch
Appearance: Caterpillar shaped ribs throughout the knitted piece
The final appearance that this stitch creates is proof that this stitch is perfectly named.
A mixture of plain stitches and stocking stitches is used to create the caterpillar shapes throughout the knitted fabric.
3. Chevron Seed Stitch
Appearance: Wavy pattern
This stitch is similar to a seed or sand stitch but creates more clusters of seeds together creating a wavy texture or a zigzag appearance.
A variation of this stitch is the Diagonal Chevron Zigzag stitch which follows a similar technique but produces a more zigzag and busy pattern.
If you want to have the zigzag pattern more spaced out you can simply follow the Wide Chevron Zigzag Stitch technique.
4. Chinese Wave Stitch
If you are looking to make something more breathable then using a Chinese Wave Stitch may help you to achieve the results that you want.
This stitch creates wave-like patterns but it does leave gaps between each stitch.
5. Double Fleck Stitch
Appearance: Small rectangular designs
This stitch creates small rectangular shapes that run in vertical lines along the fabric. This stitch is included in many different patterns and gives a timeless look to knitted pieces.
6. Embossed Leaf Stitch
Appearance: Raised leaf-shaped design
The shape that this stitch creates is similar to a leaf. The intricate shapes created look machine-made and it is an incredibly rewarding stitch to learn.
7. Plain Checkerboard Stitch
Appearance: Checkerboard appearance
This stitch is also known as a Garter Checkerboard Stitch and it combines the plain, or garter, stitch with alternate stocking stitches which results in a piece that resembles a checkerboard with each square having alternating textures and looks.
8. Fancy Diamond Stitch
Appearance: Raised diamonds
This stitch is a more complex version of the diamond honeycomb stitch and creates a very intricate design that is perfect for larger creations and projects.
9. Herringbone Stitch
Appearance: Alternating flecks of material
A great stitch for anyone looking to create chunkier knitwear. This stitch creates almost a woven look with the stitches going back over themselves.
10. Hurdle Stitch
Appearance: Ridges along the material
This stitch requires focus to ensure the final result features perfect ridges and areas of flatter stitches that flow perfectly from one into the other.
11. Lattice Seed Stitch
Appearance: Lattice windows
A super stitch for accessories such as hats, gloves, and scarves, this stitch resembles a woven basket but with less intricacy.
12. Little Raindrops Stitch
Appearance: Raindrop pattern
This stitch is not reversible and so it should be used when creating items that will only be used with one outer side of the material.
There is also a variation of this stitch called the Long Raindrop Stitch which creates exactly that, a longer raindrop shape.
13. Parallelogram Stitch
This stitch is not for the faint-hearted as the method applied to each row of stitches differs to create this parallelogram appearance.
14. Pennant Pleating Stitch
Appearance: Triangular pattern
This stitch creates a pattern similar to a mountain landscape with triangles rolling into one another in clear and defined lines.
15. Pique Triangle Stitch
Appearance: Mini triangles
The plain stitch and purl stitches are used in the method for this type of stitch and result in a 3D look to knitted pieces as the details of the triangular pattern are highlighted.
16. Raspberry Stitch
Appearance: Bobble effect
Also known as the Blackberry Stitch and the Trinity Stitch, this stitch creates a gorgeous bobble-looking pattern that looks like raspberries growing out from the material.
You need a lot of time to create a pattern that uses this type of stitch.
17. Tumbling Moss Block Stitch
Appearance: Moss boxed in by wavy rectangular borders
Since knitting machines have been made this stitch is very rarely replicated by hand anymore as it is incredibly difficult to both learn and master.
18. Window Stitch
Appearance: Square and triangle shapes
This is a great stitch for anyone making a scarf as the changing rectangular and square shapes add to the texture of knitted pieces, giving depth and extra weight.
Knitting Stitches That Result In A Cable Look
If you are knitting a jumper or cardigan we are almost certain you are hoping to include a cable look in your creation.
Cable patterns in knitted pieces are a staple look and one that never goes out of style. Below we look at the stitch used to create a cable look when knitting.
1. Basic Cable Stitch
Appearance: Cable look
This look is a key feature in what is referred to as fishermen jumpers. These jumpers were thick and warm and the cable symbolized the ropes that fishermen used to catch their fish.
Cable knit patterns can be extremely difficult as they include a number of different stitches and methods but the end result makes it all worthwhile.
Knitting Stitches That Result In A Rib Look
When knitting certain items there may be a specific look that you would like to replicate in your pieces. In some cases, this may be a ribbed look. Here we look at the stitches that will create a rib effect.
1. Rib Stitch
Appearance: Classic rib appearance
This stitch is the most commonly used stitch when creating ribs in your knitted creations. This stitch alternates between purl and knit stitches.
The final piece can be worn reversibly, giving a different look and texture depending on the side that is turned outside.
There is a variation of this stitch called the Cut Diagonal Stitch, or the Diagonal Rib Stitch, which produces similar results to the classic rib stitch but with the ribs running diagonally rather than in a straight line.
2. Rib Stitch Variations
Appearance: More spaced out ribs
The first variation is the 2×2 Rib Stitch. This method follows a two purl, two knit method when creating a piece.
The next variation is a 5×1 Rib Stitch which follows a pattern of 5 knit stitches followed by one purl stitch.
The final variation is the 7×3 Flat Rib Stitch. This differs in appearance as it creates a smoother finish. The technique follows seven knit stitches followed by three purl stitches.
3. Broken Rib Stitch
Appearance: Split ribs
As one can expect from the name of this stitch, patterns that use this stitch have a less smooth finish to them.
The appearance created has more of a zigzag pattern rather than the normal vertical running ribs.
4. Beaded Rib Stitch
Appearance: Two running ribs connected
The ribs are connected when you create ribs using this style of a stitch. This means that the finished products tend to curl up on themselves, making it a great stitch for creating scarves.
5. Chevron Rib Stitch
Appearance: Zigzags with spaced out ribs
Possibly one of the less popular styles of stitches, if this stitch is not perfectly executed the final products tend to look quite messy.
The ribs in the stitch are very spaced out and can be difficult to have running straight due to the zigzags that run between them.
6. Diagonal Spiral Rib Stitch
Appearance: Diagonal ribs
This is one of the simpler rib stitches as it follows a specific pattern that is easy to follow and there is little room for error.
7. Plain Ribbing Stitch
Appearance: Multiple ribs running vertical and horizontal
The beauty of this stitch is that it creates a different pattern on the outer and inner side of the wool meaning it can be worn anyway. This stitch is also known as the Garter Ribbing Stitch.
There is a variation of this stitch called the Diagonal Rib Stitch which creates thinner ribs that are less spaced apart than what the plain ribbing stitch creates.
8. Pique Rib Stitch
Appearance: Chain-like appearance
A difficult stitch that creates a unique chain-like appearance within the ribs. This stitch is a simpler version of the Pique Triangle Stitch.
9. Seeded Rib Stitch
A favorite amongst rib look lovers. This stitch creates gorgeous chunky ribs that interlink beautifully, creating a flowing look to the stitches.
This stitch is often used when creating pieces that will be put through daily wear and tear, such as hats, jumpers, and scarves.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Basic Knitting Stitch?
The most basic knitting stitch is called a plain stitch, also known as a garter stitch. This stitch is the most basic skill you need to have in knitting to learn other stitches.
This stitch can be applied to most knitting patterns and does not take very long to master.
How Many Types Of Knitting Stitches Are There?
There are over 30 different knitting stitches, all of which range in difficulty and the final look that they achieve.
Different stitches are used to create certain designs when knitting clothing or accessories and some are stronger than others.
For example, the herringbone stitch is the strongest and is often used when making scarves and jumpers to prevent tearing or stitches from becoming loose from daily wear and tear.
What Is The Difference Between Knitting And Crocheting?
Crocheting is considerably easier than knitting as you do not need to manage two needles and you also do not need to move stitches along a needle.
Knitting uses two long needles and loops are used to create stitches and these loops are kept in place using the needles.
Crochet uses one single hook and this hook keeps one stitch at a time in place.
The fact that the focus is solely on one stitch at a time with crocheting is why it is thought to be easier but knitting tends to create sturdier and more intricate creations.
What Are The Two Different Types Of Knitting Called?
There are two main types of knitting, these are called the English method and the Continental, or German, method.
There is only one main difference between these styles and it is simply the way the yarn, or wool, is held.
In the Continental, or German, method the yarn is held in the left hand but in the English method, the yarn is held in the right hand.
Those that have previously learned how to crochet tend to prefer Continental knitting and those that like to knit using heavy yarns and would tend to prefer knitting using the English method.
Now that you have learned about every type of knitting stitch that you can learn there is only one thing left for you to do, and that is to put your new knowledge into practice.
With thousands of patterns available for you to choose from, the possibilities are endless as to what you can create with your newfound skills.
Knitting is a fantastic and rewarding hobby and something that most people would love to know who to do.
If you have the ability and drive to learn how to knit you should feed this passion and go on to create hats, jumpers, baby boots and so much more for all of your friends and family.
A handcrafted gift is always treasured and you have the ability to give this now to those that are in your life.