Hand knitting can be intimidating. From basic to advanced techniques, there are hundreds of different knitting stitches used in patterns all over the world. Fortunately, you don’t need to learn every type of stitch to be a good knitter.
To help you out, we’ve created this guide listing every type of knitting stitch along with a tutorial video and a brief description. You’ll find out how to knit each stitch, what they look like, and what they’re used for.
If you’re just starting on a new project and there’s a knitting stitch you’re not familiar with, use this list to help you learn how to do it. When trying a new stitch, we recommend knitting a full swatch first to make sure you’re comfortable with the gauge and technique.
Summary: 30 Different Types of Knitting Stitches
Here’s a summary of the 30 knitting stitches we’ve covered in this guide. Click the name of any stitch to jump to the section and read its description.
- Garter Stitch
- Stockinette Stitch
- Reverse Stockinette Stitch
- Rib Stitch
- Cable Stitch
- Seed Stitch
- Moss Stitch
- Broken Rib Stitch
- Bamboo Stitch
- Basketweave Stitch
- Herringbone Stitch
- Bubble Stitch
- Bobble Stitch
- Andalusian Stitch
- Waffle Stitch
- Basic Lace Stitch
- Linen Stitch
- Popcorn Stitch
- Fair Isle
- Raspberry Stitch
- Chinese Waves Stitch
- Hurdle Stitch
- Seersucker Stitch
- Caterpillar Stitch
- Double Fleck Stitch
- Tiles Stitch
- Diamond Honeycomb Stitch
- Netted Stitch
- Purl Ridge Stitch
If you’re a new knitter looking to practice some of these stitches, take a look at our collection of curated knitting kits too, which are great for beginners. If you’re new to reading knitting patterns, you may also want to check out our guide to knitting symbols and abbreviations.
There are hundreds of possible knitting stitches, styles, and techniques out there. We’ve included the most common types on this page with videos and descriptions, but if you think we’ve missed something important, please let us know.
What’s In This Guide?
- What Are the Two Main Stitches In Knitting?
- Basic Knitting Stitches
- Intermediate Knitting Stitches
- Advanced Knitting Stitches
What Are the Two Main Stitches In Knitting?
All hand knitting is based on two main stitches: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. Every other kind of stitch you see is a variation or combination of these two stitch types.
At its core, knitting is simply making fabric with needles by creating loops of yarn and connecting these loops together. The knit stitch involves creating a loop in the back of your work, while the purl stitch involves creating a loop in the front of your work. It’s that simple!
Over time, knitters have developed new methods of manipulating the knit and purl stitches to create hundreds of variations known as stitch patterns. These stitch patterns create different textures, appearances, and characteristics in the final fabric. However, most knitters simply refer to them as ‘stitches’.
There are hundreds of different knitting stitches that vary in popularity and difficulty level. It might seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll soon know exactly what it means when someone says they “knitted the body in stockinette” but “the collar is ribbed”.
In the next few sections, we’ll provide an overview of the most common knitting stitches (stitch patterns), from basic to advanced. Once you’ve watched a few videos, you’ll see each stitch type is easier than it might seem.
How Many Types of Knitting Are There?
There are lots of different styles of knitting, including hand knitting, arm knitting, and loom knitting. However, all of these types involve the same process: creating and connecting loops in continuous yarn to weave a fabric.
Based on this definition, there is only one type of knitting, as this process is true for all styles of knitting.
Within these styles, there are hundreds of knitting stitches – all of which are created using variations or combinations of the knit and purl stitches.
Basic Knitting Stitches
Being new to knitting shouldn’t stop you from creating beautiful handmade fabrics. In fact, most knitting patterns use the same basic knitting stitches and yarn types in combination with one or two intermediate techniques.
In this section, we’ve listed the easiest and most important knitting stitches you’ll need to know for most basic hand knitting patterns. You can still use them to knit a wide range of patterns including scarves, blankets, and even sweaters.
We recommend starting with these basic stitches first, as they make up the foundation for more intermediate stitch types. Once you’ve mastered these basic stitches, you can move on to more sophisticated and complicated techniques.
The garter stitch is the most basic type of knitting stitch. It’s used as the foundation for almost all other stitches, so it’s the first one you should learn.
Also known as plain stitch, it involves using the knit stitch for every row to create rows of consistent ridges that look the same on both sides. It’s knitting at its most basic!
Follow the video below to learn how to work in garter stitch (knit every row).
The stockinette or ‘stocking’ stitch is another extremely common type of stitch in knitting. It involves alternating rows of knit stitches and purl stitches based on the right and wrong side of the fabric. Knit stitches are on the right side, while purl stitches are on the wrong side.
This is one of the first stitches beginners learn after the garter stitch. To work the stockinette stitch in flat rows, simply knit one row, purl the next row, and then repeat. This creates a ‘braided’ look on the right side, and a ‘wave’ look of rows on the wrong side. If you’re knitting in the round, you knit every row.
Watch the video below for a tutorial on knitting the stockinette stitch.
Reverse Stockinette Stitch
As the name suggests, this is the same as the stockinette stitch but in reverse. You alternate rows of knit and purl stitches, but with purl stitches on the right side and knit stitches on the wrong side.
This creates ridged rows on the front of the work and a braided pattern on the wrong side. Here’s a video explaining how reverse stockinette stitch works:
Also referred to as ‘ribbing’, the rib stitch involves creating columns of alternating knit and purl stitches.
If you knit one stitch then purl one stitch, this is known as 1×1 rib stitch. If you knit two then purl two, this is known as 2×2 rib stitch, and so on. Thicker ribbing is commonly used for winter projects like chunky scarves, shawls, and hats.
Ribbing creates a very stretchy, textured fabric, which is why it is often used for collars and cuffs. To get the most out of this stitch, we recommend avoiding fuzzy yarn textures and choosing yarn with clearer stitch definition, instead.
Here’s a video showing you how to do the 1×1 and 2×2 rib stitch:
Knitting cables might seem difficult at first, but its most basic version is quite simple.
The technique involves twisting a vertical row of knit and purl stitches to create a ‘cable’. This is then combined with other stitch styles for more advanced techniques and textures.
You can find instructions for knitting basic cables in the video below, or in our list of cable knitting patterns.
Similar to the rib stitch, the seed stitch involves alternating knit and purl stitches. Unlike the rib stitch though, the seed stitch requires you to reverse the sequence of knit and purls on each row.
To knit the seed stitch, work one row of alternating knit and purls and then reverse this in the next row. Instead of creating neat columns, this creates a dotted or bumpy appearance.
Also known as ‘dot stitch’ or ‘sand stitch’, seed stitch creates a uniquely textured fabric that isn’t as stretchy as ribbing. The diagonal variant is known as ‘diagonal seed stitch’, which creates slanted rows.
Follow the tutorial video below to learn the seed stitch.
Moss stitch is another textured knitting stitch type that is closely related to the seed stitch. It is also worked by alternating knit and purl stitches every stitch, however you reverse this sequence every two rows instead of every one row.
The moss and seed stitches are simple ways to add unique texture to your fabric that resembles ribbing except in ‘shifted’ columns. Watch the instruction video below for an introduction to the moss stitch.
Broken Rib Stitch
The broken rib stitch is a simple variation of classic ribbing. It involves inserting a seed stitch between the columns of a 1×1 rib, which gives a unique vertical zigzag pattern to the fabric.
Broken ribbing looks very similar to normal ribbing and can be used in place of it, but it is not as stretchy as the traditional version.
At this point, it’s worth mentioning that the rib stitch has dozens of variations. The broken rib stitch is a popular one, but you may also come across the diagonal rib stitch, beaded rib stitch, spiral rib stitch, as well as chevron, garter, pique, and more variations – enough for their own guide!
For a tutorial on the broken rib stitch, watch the video below.
Intermediate Knitting Stitches
In this section, you’ll find a list of 10 different knitting stitches that might be classed as ‘intermediate’.
This does not necessarily mean they are more difficult – in many cases, they’re simply less common than the basic stitches listed above. These styles are also often based on previously-mentioned stitch types.
Named for its resemblance to bamboo stalks, the bamboo stitch uses the knit stitch, yarn overs, and slipped stitches to create a thick, woven appearance.
The stitch begins on the right side of the work and involves passing the yarn over, knitting two stitches, passing the yarn over those two stitches and then repeating this sequence.
Take a look at the video below for a full tutorial on the bamboo stitch.
The basketweave or ‘basket’ stitch is a fairly common stitch using alternating knits and purls. It is used where texture is paramount, and works by creating alternating areas of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitches woven between each other.
For example, you could knit 4 stitches then purl 4 stitches, and repeat this for 4 rows. On the next 4 rows, you would reverse this sequence by purling 4 stitches and then knitting 4 stitches to form the basketweave pattern.
The result of the basketweave stitch is a textured fabric resembling a woven basket. It’s often used for knitted bags, blankets, dishcloths, and even knitted pillow cases.
The basic stitch is relatively simple, but as usual there are dozens of variations. You might come across the diagonal basketweave stitch, basket loop stitch, or the wide basketweave stitch.
Watch the video below for a tutorial on working the basketweave stitch:
The herringbone stitch is often used for furniture and home textiles. It involves casting on an even number of stitches and alternating between two different pattern rows.
The first row involves knitting two stitches into the back of the stitches you’ve cast on, slipping one of these stitches and then knitting two more into the stitch on the left needle. The second row is the same, but with purl stitches.
This stitch creates a tight knitted material. It can be difficult for new knitters because it’s different to most traditional knitting stitches, and there are several variations too. If it all sounds complicated, watch the video below for simple instructions.
The bubble stitch is fun and easy to memorize. Most of the rows in this stitch type only require basic stockinette stitch, and one out of every six rows uses the ‘knit four down’ technique.
This creates a bubble pattern that is easy to memorize, three-dimensional, and highly-textured.
Follow the instructions in the video below to learn the ‘knit four down’ technique and master the bubble stitch.
The bobble stitch can be used to create three-dimensional bumps or ‘bobbles’ above any knit stitch pattern, though the most common stitch background is the stockinette or garter stitch.
These bobbles can vary in size depending on the number of rows. A basic four-row bobble stitch involves performing a knit one, purl one increase twice and then turning the work to knit and purl these four stitches on each side. Decreasing is then used to finish the stitch pattern.
Watch the tutorial video below to learn how to knit the bobble stitch.
The andalusian stitch is a simple twist on the traditional stockinette stitch. It’s a simple four-row repeat that adds a little bit of texture to your work.
This stitch is worked in the same way as stockinette, except it includes one row of knit one, purl one ribbing to create a pattern resembling a grid. Check out the video below for instructions:
The waffle stitch is excellent for producing a subtly textured fabric. It involves alternating simple knit and purl stitches to create small bumps in the material that resemble the lines of a waffle.
This stitch is simple to learn and creates a spongy, stretchy fabric that’s great for sweaters and blankets. Here’s a waffle stitch tutorial video:
Basic Lace Stitch
Lace knitting comes in hundreds of variations. Despite its reputation for complexity, the basic process is quite simple. Whichever variation you choose, you’ll need to learn to block your knitting to open up your lace stitchwork.
To begin working the lace stitch, you must first cast on an odd number of stitches. You then wrap your yarn around your needle to create a ‘yarn over’ and then knit two stitches together. This creates a textured, draping fabric often worked in repeated sequences.
You can learn more about how to knit lace in our guide to lace knitting stitches and patterns.
For now, check out the video below for a simple introduction to the lace stitch.
Another textured knitting stitch, the linen stitch is a two-row repeat that involves alternating between a slipped stitch and a knit or purl stitch. While repeating this sequence, you bring the yarn over the front of the slipped knit stitch on the right side of the work (or behind the purl stitch on the wrong side).
This creates a dense, detailed fabric with a woven appearance on one side and a resemblance to the moss stitch on the other. Watch the video below for a linen stitch tutorial:
Similar to the bobble stitch, the popcorn stitch is used to create three-dimensional ‘bobbles’ in your knitted fabric. Knitted over two rows, it involves working the same stitch over and over to increase it rapidly, then immediately decreasing these stitches.
Here’s a video showing you how to do the popcorn stitch:
Advanced Knitting Stitches
Finally, this section covers advanced knitted stitches and techniques. Some of these stitch patterns are relatively complicated, while others are simply less common than the intermediate stitches listed above.
If you’re a beginner, don’t be intimidated – they might take more practise, but all of these knitting stitches are still based on simple knits and purls.
Although it is not technically a type of knitting stitch, Fair Isle is a knitting technique you’re likely to come across at some point.
The Fair Isle technique is used to weave alternating colors into a knitted fabric. Using knits and purls as always, it usually involves two colors per row and a limited selection of approximately five colors.
These colors are carried along to create floats across the back of the work, which limits the run length of any individual color. In most cases, color changes have to occur every few stitches. For this reason, Fair Isle is often used for smaller projects like gloves or knitted mitten patterns.
Some knitters call any pattern with alternating colorwork Fair Isle. However, the basic technique can also be called ‘stranded knitting’ or ‘stranded colorwork’ in reference to the unused colors stranded on the wrong side of the project.
Fair Isle knitting is great for advanced knitters looking to include some traditional colorwork in their patterns. It can be limiting though – if you’re looking for extended or isolated color changes, you’ll need to use intarsia.
Watch the video below to learn how to do Fair Isle knitting:
Intarsia is another knitting technique used to add colorwork to knitting patterns. Unlike other methods of adding multiple colors to knitted fabric, there is only one active color on every stitch.
Unlike Fair Isle or stranded knitting, intarsia knitting does not involve carrying or ‘stranding’ yarn across the back of the work. Instead, each color is worked in its own section.
When a color changes, the unused yarn from the previous color is left hanging on the row and twisted to avoid any holes. This removes limitations on the number of colors and the run length of each color in a pattern, so color changes can happen less frequently.
Intarsia knitting patterns often include isolated motifs or symbols, as the colors can appear completely independently from each other. It is typically worked flat, but it is technically possible to work in the round.
If you want to learn how to knit using the intarsia technique, you can sign up to Domestika for free and take the Intarsia Knitwear Design course by Laura Dalgaard. You’ll get unlimited access to over 19 lessons for under $20.
You can also learn how to knit intarsia using the video tutorial below:
Also known as the ‘trinity’ or ‘blackberry’ stitch, the raspberry stitch is similar to the bobble stitch. It involves incrementally bundling stitches to add dimension and texture to your work, but it can be complex for beginners.
The stitch involves repeating 4 stitches across 4 rows. The final fabric resembles a quilt and can look daunting, but it is in fact relatively easy once you’ve learned the sequence and rhythm. It’s often paired with a heavy yarn weight for a thick, spongy fabric.
Here’s a video explaining how to knit the raspberry stitch:
Chinese Waves Stitch
The chinese waves stitch is a relatively simple knitting stitch based on the garter stitch. As a result, there are no purl stitches involved.
The stitch pattern is created by casting on an odd number of stitches and using a combination of knit stitches and slipped stitches, which can be slipped knitwise or purlwise.
This creates a wavy pattern that is often used for dishcloths and other household items. Here’s a video explaining how to knit the chinese waves stitch:
The hurdle stitch produces vertical ridges that are raised from the rest of the fabric. It uses a combination of the garter stitch for two rows and a simple rib stitch for another two rows.
This stitch is simple, identical on both sides, and knits up a thick fabric. Here’s a video explaining the hurdle stitch:
Featured here for its rarity rather than its difficulty, the seersucker stitch is an 8-row repeat stitch pattern that creates raised diamond shapes in the finished work.
This stitch uses simple knit, purl, and rib stitches to create a stretchy, textured fabric that doesn’t curl. Here’s how to knit the seersucker stitch:
The caterpillar stitch uses both stockinette and garter stitches to create lines in your work that look like a caterpillar. The foundation uses the most basic stitches in knitting, so it shouldn’t be difficult for beginners.
Watch the video below to learn the caterpillar stitch:
Double Fleck Stitch
Cousin to the basic fleck stitch, the double fleck stitch uses simple knit and purls to combine the stockinette stitch with two seed stitches. This produces a regular pattern of diagonal lines that resembles a slanted checkerboard.
Find out how to knit the double fleck stitch using the video below:
A simple repeating stitch, the tile stitch is knit on a background of stockinette. Purl stitches are used to create ridges along a border of basic garter stitch. This creates a symmetrical pattern of square tiles.
Watch the video below to learn the tile stitch:
Diamond Honeycomb Stitch
Made using slipped stitches in combination with basic knit and purl stitches, the diamond honeycomb stitch is another intermediate pattern that creates repeating rows of raised diamonds.
To learn the diamond honeycomb stitch, follow the instructions in the video below.
The netted stitch is a four-row repeat pattern worked with a mixture of techniques including knitting two stitches together, carrying yarn over, and basic knit and purl stitches.
It creates a loose fabric that resembles a mesh or lattice, which makes it ideal for knitted bags or lighter projects.
Here’s a video detailing exactly how to knit the netted stitch:
Purl Ridge Stitch
Worked on a background of stockinette rows, the purl ridge stitch involves creating a raised, horizontal ridge of purl stitches along every fourth row. This creates slightly inset lines across the fabric for a vintage, textured look.
To learn the purl ridge stitch, follow the instructions in the video below.
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