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Knitting Tutorial: Stitch Deconstruction Series -- Stockinette Stitch

We are continuing our back-to-basics study by moving into the next segment of our Stitch Deconstruction Series -- the stockinette stitch. Let's go over the basic characteristics of it, as well as my favorite tips and tricks.

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Stockinette stitch is the very next pattern taught to beginners as it introduces the purl stitch. The pattern, when worked flat, is achieved by knitting one row (the right side, or public side, of the piece) and purling the next row (the wrong side, or inside, of the piece). Circular knitters just knit every stitch of every round. The knit side is flat and smooth, while the inside, or purl stitch side, is bumpy with horizontal lines (the purl side is referred to as reverse stockinette stitch).

"Plain stitch, also called Jersey Stitch, Flat Stitch, or Stockinette Stitch, basic knitting stitch in which each loop is drawn through the other loops to the right side of the fabric." - Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Stockinette stitch is the perfect foundation for nearly every project you can imagine, but there's a catch: The fabric is prone to rolling along the vertical edges, while also stretching lengthwise. That rolling prevents us from creating beautiful stockinette stitch scarves or firm, sophisticated hems. Heavy blocking can reduce it, but after a couple of hours, you'll start to notice the low creep of the curl folding back into place. It simply means that you need to work a border for the tops, bottoms and sides of the piece. Typically, you'll need to work about 1 to 2 inches along the hem and 1/2 to 1 inch of garter or seed stitch at the sides.

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Counting stitches and rows in stockinette stitch is super easy.
Stitches: Each "V" shape counts as one stitch, and that is what you count when tracking your stitch gauge. The "/\" shape is the space between the stitches, and if you try to use it for counting, you'll be in a mess.
Rows: Each "V" shape also counts as one row.

You don't have to worry about stitch multiples for stockinette stitch, but each repeat is two rows; it takes one knit row and one purl row to make up the pattern.

Tune in to our next issue for the last part in the Stitch Deconstruction Series when we'll look at ribbing!

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