Where I write about knitting, crocheting and lace, and, on occasion general comments on other topics

Stitch Patterns – Garter Stitch, Stockinette Stitch & Reverse Stockinette Stitch

Written by: Lindy

I have decided to blog about various stitch patterns from time to time. So I am starting with the time honored basics: the garter stitch, the stockinette stitch and the reverse stockinette stitch.

This discussion assumes you know how to do a knit stitch and a purl stitch. If you are new to knitting and are not familiar with these two stitches, click on this link: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/knit-stitch.


Garter Stitch: this stitch pattern is made by knitting every row, turning your knitting at the end of each row. (You would get the same effect if you purled every row – but most knitters prefer to knit every row). If you want to knit garter stitch “in the round”, you would knit one row and then purl one row – so most patterns using garter stitch are for flat pieces rather than circular knit pieces. The pattern produces a knitted fabric with ridges on each side that is essentially reversible – it looks very much the same on the right side as the wrong side. It takes two rows to make 1 ridge. The garter stitch is great for borders because it will not curl and lays flat once knitted. Many afghan and baby blanket patterns have a garter stitch border and it is often used as the basis for wash clothes and placemats.


Stockinette Stitch: this stitch pattern is the most commonly used knitted fabric. This stitch pattern produces a fabric with flat “V” shaped stitches on the right side and bumpy stitches on the wrong side. It is also known as flat knitting, tricot or jersey knit. Stockinette stitch consists of knitting one row, turning your work and purling one row if you are knitting a flat piece. If you are knitting in the round, you knit every row. Stockinette stitch fabric curls on the edges and at the top and bottom – it makes a good fabric for the body of a garment, but usually requires another stitch pattern for edging and or borders. It also stretches lengthwise when worn.


Reverse Stockinette Stitch: this is exactly what it sounds like – it is simply stockinette stitch fabric used with the purl side as the right side. It has all the properties of the stockinette stitch, but in addition, it will also stretch widthwise. You can see how the 3 stitches differ in the picture below:

If you look at the pictures of my teddy bear baby blanket – you will see how the teddy bear is formed by using the stockinette and reverse stockinette stitches together to form the pattern. This is a good example of how they can be combined to form textured patterning. Aran knitting patterns often combine stockinette, reverse stockinette and garter stitches as part of the textural patterning. Again, here are examples where the stitching is actually very straightforward and easy – but produces a fabric that looks complex because of the wonderful textures.

Note: For information on tension issues occurring with garter stitch, stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch, see my post on Master Knitter Level I — Swatches #1, 2 & 3.

One Response to “Stitch Patterns – Garter Stitch, Stockinette Stitch & Reverse Stockinette Stitch”

  1. I’ve heard of reverse stockinette many times, but have never investigated it. Thank you for the clear explanation and for including the information about the stretchability of reverse stockinette.