4 Ways to Knit the Linen Stitch

different linen stitch

The linen stitch (sometimes called the fabric stitch), is one of those clever stitch patterns that transforms with a simple color change. But color isn’t everything here: slipped stitches create a woven texture and a firm fabric that does not curl. I repeat: this fabric does NOT curl. What’s not to love?!

Linen Stitch Tutorial

Linen stitch pattern: worked over an even number of stitches. Slip stitches purlwise.

Swatch of Solid Linen Stitch

What You Need

  • Yarn (you can use any weight for practice)
  • Needles (use a needle size the corresponds to your yarn weight)

    Pro Tip: If you want to stick with the simplicity of one color, try experimenting with variegated and self-striping yarns. The pattern is simple enough not to distract, and the texture makes those color changes pop.


    Worked over an even number of stitches. Slip stitches purlwise.

    Row 1: *Knit 1, slip 1 with yarn in front; Repeat from * to end. Turn.

    Row 2: *Purl 1, slip 1 with yarn in back; Repeat from * to end. Turn.


    Two-Color Linen Stitch

    Two-color Linen stitch

    This is the exact same stitch, just worked with two colors: magic!

    How to do it: Work with color A for two rows and color B for two rows. Continue to alternate colors every two rows.

    Pro Tip: For a perfect pattern when working in two colors, change things up for your first couple of rows: Cast on with color A and begin with Row 2 instead of Row 1. Then switch to color B for the next two rows, and carry on. The swatch pictured above didn’t use this trick… see the big chunk of gray at the bottom near the cast-on?

    Three-Color Linen Stitch

    Three-color linen stitch

    Adding a third color gives you an allover speckled effect. You’re still working the same two rows, just in a different color pattern.

    How to do it: Cast on with color A and go right to Row 2 with color B.

    Row 1: Color A

    Row 2: Color B

    Row 1: Color C

    Row 2: Color A

    Row 1: Color B

    Row 2: Color C

    At the end of the 6-row repeat, you have worked every row in each color, just not one right after the other.

    Working In the Round

    When working in the round, the right side of the fabric is always facing you, which means you need to change things up a bit to keep the same pattern.

    Worked over an even number of stitches.

    Round 1: *K 1, slip 1 with yarn in front; Repeat from * around.

    Round 2: *Slip 1 with yarn in front, K 1; Repeat from * around.

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    4 Responses to “4 Ways to Knit the Linen Stitch”

    1. Susan Baker

      Thank you for this beautiful stitch pattern. Could you me from your experience, would it be stretchy enough for a headband? Thank you, in advance. Susan

    2. Judi Robins

      I have a pattern that on the 2nd row, slips sts KNITWISE instead of purlwise. I can't find a tutorial showing me how this looks. Do you have one? Please advise.

    3. Lynn Horton

      Sorry, Ms Gutierrez, but you're wrong about linen stitch worked in the round. An ODD number must be cast on for it to work. As you've got it (with an even number) at the end of the first row, you'll have a slipped stitch beside a slipped stitch. Look at other sites if you don't believe me (and I've knitted several linen stitch projects in the round) -- all other sites agree: LS in the round requires an odd number of stitches to be cast on. Thanks, tho', for an otherwise usefully laid out page.

    4. Rebecca Barath

      linen stitch