1 In Knit & Crochet/ Tutorials

Learning the basics: Rib stitch, and Seed stitch

On the last tutorial I showed how to make two of the most basic stitches using basic knit and purl stitches (stockinette and garter stitch). This week I will show you two more techniques that are very often used in a variety of garments: rib stitch and seed stitch.


You will encounter this type of stitch very often in jumpers (e.g., on sleeves), beanies, gloves, etc. The rib stitch has a number of advantages, aside low difficulty.

First of all, it allows for quite some stretch. Some yarns are more elastic than others (something which you usually can read on the yarn instructions), therefore working on a more elastic yarn will give you a more stretchy garment. However, the type of stitch you use will also add or constrain the stretch, or elasticity of your garment. Stitches that descend vertically in lines such as the stockinette, or the rib stitch usually give you more stretch. Use this to your advantage when you design your garment!

Secondly, the rib stitch is great in that it is a reversible stitch. This means that it will look the same from both sides. While this may not matter to you if you are knitting a jumper that is only meant to be seen from the outer side, it does matter if you think of other garments such as scarves, where usually both sides end up being visible. The instructions are very simple: knit one stitch, and purl the next one (you will see this abbreviated in patterns as k1, p1), and you do this for all rows -whether they are even or odd rows (provided that you have cast on an even number of stitches on your needle). As a beginner, maybe you will get distracted at times and will forget if you just did a knit or a purl stitch, but believe me when I tell you that you will stop making these “distraction” mistakes with time! TIP: In this tutorial I explain the 1×1 rib, but you can also vary the pattern so as to get wider stripes (e.g., knit two, purl two). Experiment!

Long story short:
Row 1: k1, p1; k1, p1; k1, p1… till the end
Row 2: k1, p1; k1, p1; k1, p1… till the end
Row 3: k1, p1; k1, p1; k1, p1… till the end
Row 4: p1, k1; p1, k1; p1, k1… till the end


I love this stitch because it is one of the simplest to make, and yet it gives you a complex and beautiful texture. Seed stitch is gorgeous, and available to the clumsiest of beginners (I know that first-hand)!. One thing that you need to take into account is that your gauge will be different in comparison to when you work with the rib stitch. This means that the seed stitch results in a wider pattern than the rib stitch, as you can see on the picture above (see how the fabric shrinks towards the bottom half?). This is a general important issue to consider when you want to combine different types of stitches within a garment.
The instructions are very simple: in the even rows you do the same exact thing that for the rib stitch, namely you knit one stitch and purl the next. However, in the odd rows, you start off with the purl stitch, and continue the pattern like this.

Long story short:
Row 1: k1, p1; k1, p1; k1, p1… till the end
Row 2: p1, k1; p1, k1; p1, k1… till the end
Row 3: k1, p1; k1, p1; k1, p1… till the end
Row 4: p1, k1; p1, k1; p1, k1… till the end


In order for your pattern to come out as expected, you need to cast on an even number of stitches. For instance, if you want to do the rib stitch and cast on 20 stitches, you can simply carry on as specified above. However, if you would cast an uneven number of stitches on your needle (e,g,19 stitches), and you proceed the usual way (k1, p1) you will accidentally be doing a seed stitch (instead of knitting a purl,and purling a knit on the next row, you would be knitting a knit, and purling a purl). Confusing, right?? From here it follows that if you have an uneven number of stitches because your measurements require so (i.e., you had no choice), and you want to do the rib stitch, you will have to follow the seed stitch instructions. I know this sounds confusing now, but it only takes one time messing up to understand the logic underlying it. In order to learn this well first-hand, as an exercise try to experiment with both patterns with even / uneven number of stitches cast on your needle.

Here is the video tutorial for this week! Have fun, and keep on knitting!! <3


You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Superchunky scarf, beanie and headband – HappyHealthyCrafty
    December 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    […] easy technique suitable for beginners, consisting alternated knit and purl stitches (check my seed stitch post, if you need more info!). I did not do video tutorials on the project (I still take ages to do […]

  • Leave a Reply