How to Knit Seed Stitch

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in Knitting | Comments


seed stitch

The seed stitch is one of my favorite knit stitches because it adds a texture to the knit that looks really complicated, even though it’s actually simple. If you know how to knit and purl, you’re ready to try seed stitch.

You might notice that British knitters refer to the seed stitch as moss stitch, which is even more confusing since American knitters have an entirely different stitch called the moss stitch. For our purposes, we’ll call it a seed stitch. If you happen to see a pattern by a British knitter that claims to be moss stitch and looks like seed stitch, it’s probably seed stitch.

This is the seed stitch as you’d find it written in a pattern:

Row 1 (RS) K1, *p1, k1; rep from * to end.
Rep row 1.

The trick to the seed stitch is knowing when to knit and when to purl — you know, just in case you lose your place while knitting.

Once you’ve completed the first row, you’re going to be doing the exact same p1, k1 across the second row, except this time you’re going to knit the purls and purl the knits.

Say your house catches fire and you need to stop knitting. (You’ll run out of the flaming home with your knitting in tow, of course.) How can you tell what stitch you’re on? I always like using Debbie Stoller’s illustration from Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook as an example. Debbie says that purl stitches –which have the rounded bump — look like they have a little noose around their necks, while knit stitches — which have the little V — look like they’re wearing a scarf.

Take a look at the difference. Notice that the first stitch on the needle all the way to the right has the little noose around its neck. That’s a purl stitch.

The stitch beside it is wearing the scarf, or the V around its neck. That’s a knit stitch. Notice how the knit and purl stitches alternate across the needle in seed stitch.

knit the seed stitch

Knit the Purls

Let’s say your knitting was interrupted. You picked up the work again, and the next stitch on the needle is a purl stitch. (We know it’s a purl because of the noose around its neck, right?)

knit the purls

Remember that we knit the purls. So we’ll knit into that purl stitch.

knit

Purl the Knits

Now let’s say you pick the knitting back up and see a knit stitch is next. (We know it’s a knit stitch because it has a little scarf or V around its neck.)

purl stitch

We purl into the knit stitches, so when you see a knit stitch, purl.

knitting

Seed Stitch Patterns

Once you’ve mastered the seed stitch, go crazy and try out some of these patterns. And remember that Craftsy has knitters from all around the world, so some of the designers hailing from Europe and Australia refer to seed stitch as the British moss stitch. Don’t worry; it’s the same stitch! (We’ll take a look at American moss stitch, which differs slightly, later this week.)

seed stitch beret hat
Seed Stitch Beret Hat Pattern

This intermediate-level pattern combines seed stitch with decreases, increases, and ribs to make a beautiful hat.

 

moss stitch bow
Moss Stitch Bow

The creator of this pattern hails from London, thus the moss stitch name. Make this headband to match your favorite outfit, or knit it in a neutral color and wear it with everything!

 

moss stitch cowl
Moss Stitch Cowl

Seed stitch is versatile enough for women and men, and this Moss Stitch Cowl is evidence of that. Pair it with some buttons and knit up a couple as gifts.

 

seed stitch scarflette
Moss Stitch Keyhole Scarflette

I can see myself making one of these in a couple of different colors for spring and fall so that they match all my coats. Is that an insane idea?

 

cardinal neckwarmer
Cardinal Neckwarmer Pattern

Combine seed stitch with cables and buttons for a neckwarmer that’s both functional and gorgeous.

Comments

  1. Sara says:

    Yeah the seed stitch really adds some nice detail. I absolutely love the Moss Stitch Bow, it looks like it has plenty of good stretch in it and its super cute!! Thank you for the lovely tutorial!!

    1. Yeah, good call on the stretchy factor of the bow! It stretches, plus it won’t roll up like stockinette does, so it’s a really good choice for a headband. Glad you like it!

  2. Robyn says:

    I really need to learn to knit! There are so many pretty things that just don’t look as good when you crochet them!

  3. MT-MOONCHASER says:

    I usually use seed stitch when knitting scarves that usually are knit in garter stitch, such as those done with eyelash yarns. I have also used it when knitting a scarf with a variegated mohair blend.

    It also makes a nice border along the bottom hem area and up the front of cardigan sweaters. In fact I am knitting a cardigan now that has garter stitch at the bottom and up the front that would probably look better with seed stitch…

    Also it is great as a collar stitch and lays flatter than stockinette.

    1. Love the idea of seed stitch as a collar! Thanks for recommending that.

  4. Carol says:

    Should you use and even or odd number of stitches so that you can just flip your work and continue doing K1, P1?

    1. As long as you know to purl the knits and knit the purls, it doesn’t matter whether you cast on an odd number or an even number. No matter how many you cast on, you won’t be able to get a continuous k1, p1 flow throughout the whole pattern.

  5. EVELYN says:

    So glad to see CRAFTSY is including tips & pointers on their site! Most of the other craft sites do so, and we knitter-lovers can,t get enough “how-to”!!

  6. Jean J says:

    First time I’ve seen a How-To on your site. Love it! I save these so I can use for a reference at a later time. Hope you plan to continue doing this. Also like that you’ve included a few patterns using the stitch. Making a simple swatch just doesn’t do it for me. lol

  7. Jo Howell says:

    Really glad to see pointers! Having knit for quite some time am very familiar with the seed stitch but I think this is the best tutorial on it I have ever seen! Keep up the good work! Thanks.

  8. Emi M says:

    I’ve also seen instructions that say to k1, p1, etc to the end, repeat that pattern for the second row and then start with the purl stitch for the 3rd and 4th rows. Does this just make for a bigger looking seed?

    1. Jane says:

      I’d like to know, too.

    2. Ashley says:

      I’d call that a moss stitch, as opposed to a seed stitch. You can see an example of the moss stitch, plus a how-to, here:

      http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/04/how-to-knit-moss-stitch/