Basic Stitches

Most knitted fabrics are made up of one or two stitches—knit and purl. Knitting every row in knit stitch produces a fabric called garter stitch. Working a knit row and then a purl row alternately produces stockinette stitch, which is the method used in most simple patterns. With stockinette stitch, the knit side is the right side, although the purl side may be used as the right side, in which case the fabric is then known as reversed stockinette stitch.

Knit stitch

Cast on the required number of stitches onto the left needle.

1 Insert the point of the right needle from front to back through the first loop on the left needle.

2 Pass the yarn (which is always at the back of work for plain knitting) between the two needle points.

5 Your stitch will now be on the right needle. Continue like this to the end of the row.To knit the next row, turn your work around so that the back is facing you and the stitches are on your left needle again.The right needle will now be empty and ready to receive the next row of stitches.

Purl stitch

1 Beginning with the yarn at the front, and the wrong side of the work facing you, insert the right needle from back to front into the first stitch on the left needle.

2 Pass the yarn (which for purl is always held in front of your work) over and around the point of the right needle.

3 Draw the loop through to the back of the work.

4 Slide the first stitch off the left needle. Continue like this to the end of the row.


Combination stitches

Knit and purl form the basis of all knitting, but it is the combinations of these two stitches that create different stitch textures and patterns. Rib and seed stitch are both simple methods of alternating knit and purl stitches, with endless variations that can produce many beautifully textured patterns.

Rib stitch Ribbing consists of alternating knit and purl stitches on the same row to form vertical lines. Rib contracts the fabric but also allows it to be elastic and is often used at the neck and cuff of a garment. The amount of stretch depends on the proportion of knit to purl stitches in each row. For example, rib will be the most flexible, whereas k4. p I rib will not contract as much. To achieve a rib after your first establishing row of knit and purl stitches, work the second row by purling on the knit stitches and knitting on the purl stitches. Seed stitch Also known as moss stitch, this is a reversible stitch made up of knit and purl stitches that alternate both horizontally and vertically. It forms a flat fabric that spreads more than stockinette stitch and does not curl at the edges. Unlike rib, where on the return rows you knit on the purl stitches and purl on the knit stitches, you continue knitting the knit and purling the purl stitches throughout

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