Knitting 101: Terms and Tricks


Now that you have the bare basics of Knitting, there are a few more things you’ll need to know before you move on to your next project. Starting with a few terms and tricks about the stitches you may encounter.

Garter Stitch


Garter stitch is yet another example of doing what is most comfortable for you. Most books or tutorials will teach that garter stitch is when you knit all the rows paying no mind to turning. Since we already learned that purl stitches are the same as knit stitches, just backward, WE know that Garter Stitch can be done by either knitting OR purling every row.

As long as you keep the same stitch for EVERY row, the result will be the same. This makes it a great stitch for practicing either purling or knitting if you feel you are struggling with one or the other as well as a great “take a break” stitch for when you just want to do something easy.

Stockinette Stitch


Stockinette Stitch is the most essential stitch to knitting because nearly everything you come across will use it. Especially when you get to knitting stockings (more commonly known as socks)! Again, usually whatever is more comfortable for you will work here. The Stockinette Stitch is made up of alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. You can start on knit or purl row as long as you switch between them.

Technically, starting with a purl row is called “Reverse Stitch,” but ultimately they give you the same result. Just BE CAREFUL! When you’re working a patter they will often tell you to stop on the “right” or “wrong” side. Make sure that YOUR “right” side matches with the pattern your are working. Whichever way you choose to do your Stockinette Stitch, head your pattern when it says to stop on a certain side.



2×2 Ribbing shown here

Ribbing is a term for any time your switch between knit and purl stitches on the same row in pattern. Most often this can is done equally with each set of knit stitches followed by the same amount of purl stitches (four knits then four purls for example). When you turn, you do the opposite of what you just did. So if you were doing k2, p2 when you started, when you turn the pattern will become p2, k2. Some patterns will call for uneven ribbing. Not to be confused with “Broken Ribbing,” which is next on this list, what I mean by uneven ribbing is that one knit stitch may be followed by 3 purl stitches.

Ribbing is often noted by YxY in patterns. Like I mentioned above, sometimes that will look like 4×4 or 1×3. The first number is usually knit stitches and the second number is usually purl stitches, but make sure to read you pattern closely to know for certain.

When it comes to ribbing comfortably, there really isn’t much you can do. You’re going to end up knitting and purling in the same row either way. If you DO want to start on a different stitch than your pattern asks you to, be mindful of how the pattern starts and ends and be sure that you are not going too far off course.

Broken Ribbing and Rice Stitch

Broken Ribbing starts to take us out of “basic” stitches, but I promised I would cover it, so I will. The Broken Rib Stitch is made up of one knit row and one ribbed row. Usually the stitch starts with the knit row and then goes into a 1×1 rib then back and repeat ad nauseam (or perhaps ad infinitum if you really enjoy this stitch!).

When you flip your Broken Rib stitch over, you have a completely different stitch called Rice Stitch. Yeah, this is a two for one set that HIGHLY depends on which is the right side of the work.  If you want your “right” side to be Rice stitch, usually you’ll start with the ribbing row and then move on to the knit row and repeat. Whichever way you slice it, you’ll have Broken Ribbing on one side and Rice Stitch on the other.


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