Knitting is not only a great way to create custom clothing, accessories and home decor items, it can also offer some fantastic health benefits. In addition to being a great stress reliever, knitting can improve your cognitive function and concentration. Since knitting requires consistent practice to develop the skill, it can also help you to improve your memory, whether you learn how to knit as a child or as an adult.
Knitting can also help your physicality. You can work at your own pace, but it will help to strengthen your upper limbs. The rhythmic actions will exercise your hands and arms without exerting excessive force on your joints.
So, in this article, we’ll explore the basics of knitting and the types of knitting stitches, so you can enjoy all the benefits of this fantastic pastime.
To get started knitting, you’ll need good quality knitting needles, like the Clover Takumi set. With your choice of yarn, you can then start to explore the basics. You may also want to invest in a yarn bowl to keep your yarn organized.
A knit stitch is a very basic form of knitting, this is often marked as K1 on knitting patterns. Each of these stitches form a V shape, as you cast on to the knit and then bind off. In simple terms, this means casting on a preliminary stitch and completing a row of knitting stitches, you would then need to thread the yarn end and weave end to secure the stitch.
The basic abbreviations for the different types of knitting stitches are as follows:
This basic stitch can be a great way to make cozy scarves, baby booties or chic knitted pieces. The garter stitch is one of the simplest types of stitches in knitting, so you’ll need to learn it to create other knitting patterns.
The garter stitch creates distinguishable knitted loops that form along the horizontal ridges. It is ideal for making stretchy, thick fabric.
You can work a garter stitch pattern on any number of stitches, with a knit or purl. The wrong side of the work will look the same as the right side, but you’ll need to count the rows and alternate rows that stand out to follow your pattern.
Another one of the popular types of knitting stitches is the stockinette stitch, which can help you to perfect your knitting and purling skills.
The stockinette stitch does have a right side, which has a smooth texture and a wrong side, which feels bumpy or wavy. This fabric also has a tendency to curl at the edges, due to the difference between the purl and knit stitches.
Even with the best knitting needles, you will see that both sides tend to push the fabric vertically and horizontally, causing curling. So, you may prefer to add a border to limit the amount of curling.
To create this step, you’ll need to use knit stitches on the first row. You’ll then do purl stitches on the second row. This will create your pattern.
The seed stitch is a classic stitch you’ll find in the best knitting books. You can use knit and purl to create a dimple pattern on the fabric that resembles seeds, hence the name. Seed stitch fabric doesn’t curl and it looks the same on both sides.
To create seed stitches, you’ll need to cast an even number. On the first row, K1, P1 repeating until the end of the row. On the second row, reverse this to P1, K1. Repeat these two rows to create the pattern.
The moss stitch is a little like a seed stitch, but it is an elongated version. Rather than alternating every row, you’ll work two rows before alternating.
For example, row one and row two K1, P1, then row three and row four, P1, K1. Repeat this sequence to create the pattern.
As the name suggests, the double moss stitch is another variation. For symmetry, you’ll work on multiples of two + one stitches with one edge stitch on each side.
Row One: K1, P1 repeat until the last two stitches, which should be K1, K1
Row Two & Row Four: Work each stitch in the manner it presents
Row Three: P1, K1 and repeat to the last two stitches, P1 and then K1.
These four rows will form the pattern, but you should alternate the stitches every two rows.
The rib stitch creates textured vertical stripes, with columns of knit stitches and purl stitches alternating. To create this pattern, you’ll change from knit to purl within each row rather than alternating rows.
To create symmetry, aim to work on multiples of two + one stitches, with one edge stitch on each side.
Row one: K1 for the edge, then K1, P1 repeating to the last two stitches with a K1, K1 for the edge.
Row two: work each stitch in the manner it presents and continue for subsequent rows.
2/2 rib stitches create fabric that pulls slightly less than 1×1. You’ll need to cast multiples of four stitches. For symmetry, work on multiples of four plus two stitches with one edge stitch on each side.
Row one: K1 for the edge, then K2, P2 repeating until the last two stitches, then K2 and K1.
Row two: Work each stitch as it presents and repeat for subsequent rows.
Broken rib is another variant of the rib types of knitting stitches, creating a very stretchy fabric. To create symmetry, work on 2+1 multiples with one edge stitch for each side.
Row one: knit all stitches
Row two: K1 for the edge, P1, K1, P1 repeating to a last K1 on the edge.
These two rows will form the pattern, so repeat.
The basket weave stitch is a little more complicated than the above stitches. It is like a moss stitch on a bigger scale. The pattern creates a look similar to the outside of a woven basket, with purl stitches weaving in and out to create the fabric.
To start cast on multiples of eight stitches plus five.
Row One and Five: Knit
Row Two and Four: K5, P3, K5 repeating until the end of the row
Row Three: P5, K3, P5, repeating to the end of the row
Row Six and Eight: K1, P3, K5, P3 to the end with a K1 edge stitch
Row Seven: P1, K3, P5, K3 repeating and ending with a K1 edge stitch.
Repeat the eight rows to create your pattern.
Andalusian stitch is an easy to knit pattern. It is like a stockinette stitch, but it has a twist. The fourth row alternates like a 1+1 ribbing. This is simple to do, but it adds more texture compared to a regular stockinette that looks great on blankets or sweaters. For symmetry, you’ll need to work on 2+1 multiples with one edge stitch on each side.
Row One and Row Three: Knit all stitches
Row Two: Purl all stitches
Row Four: K1 as an edge stitch, then P1, K1, P1 repeating to end on a K1 edge stitch.
These four rows will form the pattern.
The purl ridge is a variation of the stockinette stitch. This can add sophistication and intricacy to a simple stitch pattern. It consists of alternating layers of stitches with purl stitches to create a textured ridge pattern. The ridges will only be visible on the right side of the fabric. You can create purl ridge stitches with straight needles or circular needles.
On straight needles: Knit all on the right side for row one and purl all on the wrong side for row two. Row three and four are knit stitches for all.
On circular needles: Knit all on the right side and then knit all on rows two, three and four.
The tiles stitch creates a lovely mesh pattern that is moderately open. It also has a strong diagonal pull that is ideal for a summer cover up or a warm winter sweater.
To create the pattern, cast on in multiples of 14+2.
Row One and Three: K1, P1, K5, P2 and repeat until the last 7 stitches, when you should K5, P1, K1.
Row Five, Seven, Nine and Eleven: K2, P5, K2, repeat until there are 7 stitches left and P5, K2.
Even Rows: Purl all stitches.
The twelve rows will form the pattern, so repeat for your entire garment.
As the name suggests, the honeycomb stitch creates a honeycomb like pattern. At the back, it looks a little like a garter stitch with a bumpier texture. Another benefit of this stitch is that it doesn’t curl like a stockinette, so it is a good option if you don’t want a border of additional stitches. You can also create a more open look by working with larger needles.
To create the pattern:
Row One and Row Three: Knit all stitches
Row Two and Row Four: Slip 1 purlwise with the yarn in the back, K1, repeat across the row.
This is a simple repeat pattern that is easy to memorize. The only thing you need to track is which row you’re working on, but you can use a row counter.
The bamboo stitch is ideal for men’s garments as it has a thick structure. However, it is an easy stitching method that is ideal for beginners. The finished fabric looks like it has bamboo shoots lined up in the pattern.
This stitch consists of just two rows, with a two row, three stitch repeat.
The herringbone lace rib stitch has a series of criss cross diagonal stitch between the lines. The reverse of the fabric has parallel rows of stitches.
To create this pattern, cast any number of stitches and knit two stitches together in the back, just don’t let the stitches drop off your needle yet.
When you knit a row, you can allow one stitch to drop off the needle, rather than allowing both. Drop the stitch closest to the end and leave the second stitch on your needle to become part of the next two stitches knitted together. Repeat this across the row and when you reach the end with only one stitch left, slip the remaining stitch through the back.
On purl rows, purl two stitches together and again don’t allow them to drop off the needle. You’ll drop just one stitch and the second will become part of the next two purl stitches. Repeat across the rows to continue the pattern.
The netted stitch is one of the most beautiful, it has a balance of decreasing with increases. While it looks tricky, it is actually easy to knit. It requires looping and knotting of knit intersections to create the mesh, lacy texture.
To create a netted stitch fabric, cast on stitches in multiples of 2+2.
Row One: knit one stitch and wrap the thread around your needle and knit two stitches together. Repeat until there is one stitch left, which you can knit.
Repeat this pattern until you reach the desired length before you cast off.
The linen stitch or fabric stitch creates vintage looking fabric, particularly when you experiment with colors. While it has a texture that looks woven or like it was created on a machine like the Addi Express knitting machine, it has slipped stitches that form bars across the fabric.
This stitch creates a reversible, firm fabric that looks great with bold colors and finer yarn weights.
This is a two row repeat pattern and when you slip stitches, slip purl with the needle in front of the stitch rather than behind.
Row One: Knit one, slip one, knit one and repeat to the end.
Row Two: Purl one, slip one, purl one and repeat to the end.
The cartridge belt rib has a reversible rib pattern, but it is simple to knit. The fabric has deep ridges that create a striking effect that is more defined than other rib stitches that looks great for sweaters, scarves or hats.
To create the pattern, work in multiples of four + three.
Row One: On the reverse side, K2, Slip 1 with the yarn in front, K3 and repeat to the end.
Row Two: K1, Slip 1 with the yarn in front, K3 repeat until the last two stitches, when you slip one and knit 1.
The diagonal basketweave stitch is an easy stitch you can use for large or small areas of stitching. It creates a fabric that looks like a thick woven basket and is durable.
Work in 2+1 multiples.
Row One: slip one to knit bringing the yarn to the front, slip one to purl bringing the yarn to the back. Knit the second stitch from behind, then your first stitch and slip both from the needle, K1.
Row Two: Slip two to purl bringing the yarn to the front, purl your second stitch then your first stitch, slipping both from the needle, K1.
The raspberry stitch creates a bobble fasten finish that looks like a raspberry bush. It is also called a blackberry stitch. It is made with repeating four stitches across four lines. You can create this pattern using straight needles or circular needles. Either requires casting of multiples of four stitches.
On straight needles, purl all stitches on row one and row three. On row two, K1, P1, K1 into one stitch then P3 tog. On row four, P3 tog, K1, P1 and K1 into one stitch.
On circular needles, purl all stitches on row one and three. On row two, P1, K1, P1 into one stitch and then K3 tog. On row four, K3 tog and P1, K1, P1 into one stitch.
The Chinese wave stitch uses a single flat and two vertical stitches that is worked diagonally to for an x shape stitch. This creates a thick, textured fabric that doesn’t curl.
To create the fabric, you’ll need to cast an odd number of stitches.
Row One: On the reverse side, knit all stitches
Row Two: K1, Slip 1, K1 and repeat
Row Three: Knit all stitches
Row Four: K2, Slip 1, K1 and repeat to finish with a K1 edge stitch.
These four rows form the pattern, so repeat until the end of your garment.
The little granite stitch creates an increasing and decreasing pattern for a textured ridged fabric. This makes it a great stitch for bags, blankets and other decorative items. For symmetry, you’ll need to work on 4+3 multiples.
Row One: K1 for the edge and then P3, K1 repeating to the last four stitches, which will be P3 and K1 for the edge.
Row Two and Row Four: Work as each stitch presents.
Row Three: K1 for the edge, then P1, K1, P2, repeating to the last four stitches, which should be P1, K1, P1, K1.
These four rows will form the pattern.
Knitting can be a great way to relax. It is not only a great stress reliever, but it can also help to maintain or improve your cognitive function. You need very little equipment to get started and it can be easy to learn the basic stitches.
If you can master these 22 types of knitting stitches, you’ll be able to create unique garments, accessories and home decor items. Many of these stitches are easy to create and the patterns are simple to repeat. So, you won’t need to sit with a complicated knitting pattern at your side.
Once you have these stitches in your skill set, you can then learn how to create more complicated garments that will wow your family and friends.