Stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch, Rib

Stocking stitch

stocking stitch

Stocking stitch is the most popular knitted fabric and is used in all sorts of projects. This fabric is made up of alternate rows of knit and purl stitches. It is a smooth fabric that provides a good background for embellishments, as well as looking good in its own right.


Reverse stocking stitch


This is quite simply the other side of stocking stitch. This fabric is often used as a background for cables and other textured stitches.

Rib knitting

Rib is most commonly used on the lower edges, cuffs, neckbands and front bands of garments. If you were to cast on and work in stocking stitch straight away, the lower edge of your work would curl up. This is sometimes used as a feature, but to eliminate this curl you can use a rib for a neat edge with the knit and purl stitches forming distinctive columns.

Rib is also very elastic, so it stretches to allow a hand or head to pass through and then closes up again for a snug fit.


Single rib (k1, p1 rib)

This is formed by alternately knitting one stitch and then purling one stitch.

rib, knit, knitting

Knit one stitch with the yarn at the back of the work, then bring the yarn forward between the tips of the needles to the front in order to purl one stitch. When you have completed the purl stitch, take the yarn back between the needles ready for the next knit stitch.


yarn, knitting

Here the yarn is at the back of the work ready to knit the next stitch.

yarn, knitting

Here the yarn has come between the needles to be at the front ready for the purl stitch.

Which stitch next in rib? 

If you are a knitting novice it is easy to get lost as to which stitch in a rib pattern - knit or purl - you should work next.

yarn, knitting

Here you can see how the knit and purl stitches differ: if the last stitch you worked has a bump across it, then it is a purl stitch and you knit the next stitch.

Conversely, if the last stitch is a smooth V then it is a knit stitch and you purl the next stitch. The next stitch worked in the illustration (right) will be a knit stitch. As you knit more rows and the columns of knit and purl stitches grow, it becomes easier to see which stitch should come next.


­­Taking the yarn back

If you don't take the yarn to the front and back between stitches you will end up with loops lying across the needles. If you have more stitches than you should at the end of a row then this may have occurred. Baggy stitches, particularly on multiple stitch ribs, are a common problem.

First Knits

The content on this page is taken from First Knits, published by LoveCrafts. 

To buy, visit and get 25% off. Just add Mumsnet at the checkout.





Last updated: 29-Aug-2013 at 11:46 AM