Stockinette stitch knitting is everywhere! It’s on sweaters, hats, mittens and lots and lots of knitted things.
Stockinette stitch is the most common knitting stitch. It’s also pretty easy to learn. If you know how to knit and purl, then you can knit stockinette stitch!
What is Stockinette Stitch in Knitting?
Stockinette stitch has a “right” side and a “wrong” side. The “right” side is meant to be seen. It faces out and is made up of knit stitches that look like little V-shapes.
The “wrong” side is the fabric that doesn’t face out. It’s made up of purl stitches that look like little bumps.
Stockinette stitch has a tendency to curl, so it’s often surrounded by some kind of border that lays flat.
In knitting patterns, stockinette stitch is abbreviated to St st
Stockinette Stitch Knit Flat
To knit stockinette stitch on two flat needles, cast on any number of stitches
Row 1 (right side): Knit all stitches
Row 2 (wrong side): Purl all stitches
Repeat these two rows until the knitting measures the length you like.
Here’s a tip: instead of remembering that row 1 is all knit stitches and row 2 is all purl stitches, just remember to knit on the knit side and purl on the purl side!
Stockinette Stitch in the Round
Stockinette stitch in the round is even easier than knit flat! Because there’s no “wrong” side when knitting in the round, all the knitting happens on the “right” side of the work.
The “right” side of stockinette stitch is made up entirely of knit stitches.
To knit stockinette stitch in the round, cast on any number of stitches and join in the round, making sure not to twist the stitches.
Round 1 (right side): knit all stitches
Repeat round 1 until piece measures the length you like. That’s it!
Stockinette stitch on circular needles is the single most relaxing way to knit. Next time you’re stressed, cast on some stitches on a circular needle and just knit.
Knit, knit, knit. Guarantee you’ll feel better!
Stocking Stitch Knitting vs Stockinette Stitch
Stockinette stitch and “stocking stitch” are two terms for the same technique. They mean the same thing and are interchangeable.
“Stocking stitch” seems to be used more often in the UK, while “stockinette stitch” gets more usage in North America.
How to Prevent Stockinette Stitch from Curling
As mentioned above, stockinette stitch has a tendency to curl.
In order to prevent it from curling, knitters will often knit a border that surrounds stockinette stitch.
When stockinette stitch is bordered by a flat-laying stitch, it also lays flat. No curling in sight! Pretty cool, right?
How to Knit a Garter Stitch Border
To knit a 3-stitch garter stitch border on flat needles, cast on any number of stitches
Row 1 (RS): knit all stitches
Row 2 (WS): knit all stitches
Repeat rows 1-2 two more times for a total of 4 rows. These four rows make up the bottom part of the border.
Next row (RS): knit across all stitches
Next row (WS): knit three stitches, purl until you reach the last three stitches, knit three stitches
Repeat the last two rows until the knitting is the length you like. Then work four rows of garter stitch (knitting all stitches) and cast off.
Can Blocking Prevent Stockinette Stitch Curling?
The answer is, unfortunately, no. Blocking may temporarily flatten out the curl, but with time and use, the curl will come back.
The reason has to do with the nature of stockinette stitch. You could say that curling is part of its DNA!
The knit stitches on the right side of stockinette are wider than the purl stitches on the wrong side. The purl stitches are also longer than the knits. So, while the knit stitches are pushing out horizontally (because they’re wider), the purl stitches are pushing vertically (because they’re longer).
The result is fabric that is kind of at odds with itself! Hence, the curling.
So, while blocking may temporarily make stockinette stitch lay flat, the results won’t last. The best way to make stockinette stitch lay flat is by incorporating a border that lays flat.