So, beginners – I’ve heard your cry! This seed stitch pattern tutorial is the first in a three-part series on easy knitting stitches that can be customised for a scarf or cowl. To make things extra flexible, I’ve designed this cowl to be totally customisable for whatever yarn and needles you have. Watch the pattern tutorial on YouTube or below!
So, let’s talk seed stitch! This is a beautiful, easy-to-knit, nubby textured stitch that lays flat and is fully reversible. It’s more dense than stockinette stitch, which makes it really warm and perfect for a cowl or scarf. In these photos, the cowl is knit with Martta the Merino yarn in color Sunset. Just one skein is enough for this cowl, with quite a bit left over!
In this tutorial video, you’ll learn how to:
- knit seed stitch on flat needles
- knit seed stitch in the round
- knit seed stitch without memorising any stitch pattern (thanks to a knitting hack!)
- knit a cowl with any yarn and in any size you want
- join in the round without a gap
- cast off in pattern
- wet block your scarf or cowl to make it bigger, smaller, taller or wider
STEP 1: Choose Yarn and Needles
Head to your local yarn or craft store and choose a yarn that you’d like to knit with. Look at the yarn label to find the “Recommended Needle” size. Use this as a guide for choosing your needle size.
My yarn label suggests a needle size between 10-15mm, so I’ve chosen to use a pair of 10mm circular needles that are 24″ long.
If you’re knitting a cowl, a circular needle with a length of 24″ is ideal. The needle size will depend on your yarn weight.
Keep in mind that a thin yarn will take longer to knit and a thicker yarn will be quicker to knit. The yarn I’m using is a bulky weight yarn, which is very thick (and quick!) STEP 2: Choose a Width For Your Cowl
Determine how wide you’d like your cowl to be. You can use a soft tape measure and wrap it around you neck to gauge your ideal circumference. I wanted my cowl to be narrow so that it hugs my neck, so I decided to make it 25″ in circumference. Write down your ideal width. We’ll call this number B.
STEP 3: Knit a mini gauge swatch
Knit a swatch with your yarn and needles to figure out how many stitches make up 4″ of fabric. We’ll call this number A.
Scrub ahead to the 17:11 mark of the video to see how to knit and measure your swatch.
Now it’s time for some math! Not the hard stuff that’ll make you cry. Just some basic middle school math. We’ll use the below formula to figure out how many stitches to cast on to get your ideal cowl width. If you want to hear me talk you through this process, scrub ahead to the 16:05 mark in the video. A = number of stitches that make up 4″
For me, using Martta the Merino and a 10mm needle, 13 sts = 4″
B = ideal cowl width
For me, I want my finished cowl to be 25″
Divide B by 4″ (For me, 25 / 4 = 6.25)
Multiply that number by A (For me, 6.25 x 13 = 81.25)
That’s your number of cast on stitches!
Round up to get an odd, whole number. I can’t cast on 0.25 of a stitch, so I need to round up or down to a whole number. Seed stitch in the round requires an odd number, so for me, I rounded up to 83.
So now I know that in order to get a cowl with a width of 25″ with my particular yarn and needles, I need to cast on 83 stitches. That’s my magic number!
Now that you’ve got your magic number, cast on and start knitting!
Seed Stitch on Flat Needles:
Cast on an EVEN number of stitches
Row 1: *K1, P1; repeat from * to end of row
Row 2: *P1, K1; repeat from * to end of row
Repeat Rows 1 and 2
Seed Stitch in the Round:
Cast on an ODD number of stitches and join in the round
Round 1: *K1, P1; repeat from * to last st, K1
Round 2: *P1, K1; repeat from * to last st, P1
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2
When your scarf or cowl is the length you like, then cast off in pattern. Scrub ahead to 22:08 to watch this in action.
*** Major shoutout to Petra M. Greening, a lifestyle blogger here in Hong Kong, who did a super job modelling the seed stitch cowl in seriously humid weather. What a trooper!
Watch the full video tutorial here: