How to Knit the Seed Stitch

June 23, 2021

We have seen a few stitch patterns so far like the garter stitch and stockinette. This stitch pattern is called the Seed Stitch. In theory it is a simple pattern but requires you to know how to read the stitches and pay a decent amount of attention to your work. If you are still not sure how to read your knitting stitches, see this post. Reading your knitting stitches is definitely one of the most important skills to master. Once you master it, you will be able to do so many other techniques and stitch patterns faster, with greater ease and tons less frustration.

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Why the Seed Stitch is useful:

● It has even spaced knit and purl stitches, so it lays flat. Good for edges around the stockinette stitch to keep the curl from happening.

● Identical on both sides, good for items that would benefit from this like scarves.

● It is interesting, it can change up the look of a pattern by switching it for stockinette.

● It is warmer because of the little pockets of air trapped by the little valleys created by the stitches. Amazing how different stitch patterns can create different warmth profiles from the same yarn! Imagine the same weight yarn used for lace, not nearly as warm as stockinette or seed stitch!

● It is also a little stiffer than stockinette stitch, doesn’t have the same drape or stretch when worn. Useful in areas of a pattern where you don’t want as much stretch.

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Using the Seed Stitch:

The seed stitch uses up a little more yarn than stockinette, anything with texture thicker than stockinette takes up more yarn than stockinette. Amazing how different stitch patterns can create different warmth profiles from the same yarn!

It can be a little tedious going from knit to purl to knit to purl over and over again. That extra motion of moving the yarn between the needles each time does add some time and energy to the process. It can also create accidental yarn overs if you aren’t paying attention. What are yarn overs? See below for a short description the the troubleshooting section.

The seed stitch stitches up at a different gauge than stockinette. See here for how to get gauge for your next knitting project.

If you have used it before or are wanting to tackle it right away… Here is a seed stitch ear warmer and a seed stitch cowl, great beginner project using the seed stitch and very chunky yarn. I love the pattern it creates!

Image from TheKnittingShoppe on Etsy
Image from LisaLovesKnittingGB on Etsy

Let’s do this seed stitch thing!

It is an easy concept. But the set-up row is REALLY important, if you don’t get it right, everything else will be wonky!

All you need to do is knit one stitch and purl the next. That’s all folks!

So here is what that looks like. I don’t know why I only took a photo of the end of the row, forgive my ricidulousness.

For a cast on or a section with an EVEN number of stitches:

Row 1 (RS): *K1,P1. Rep from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): *P1, K1. Rep from * to end.
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until knitting reaches desired length.

For a cast on or a section with an odd number of stitches:

Row 1 (RS): *K1,P1. Rep from * to last st. K1.
Repeat Row 1 until knitting reaches desired length.

After all is said and done, this is all you need to know:

Knit the Purls & Purl the Knits

Really, that’s all you need to do. If the pattern is confusing you, just concentrate on doing the set-up row, then knit the purls and purl the knits after that!

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Troubleshooting:

If you are ending up with extra stitches and holes, you are likely doing accidental yarn overs when transitioning between knit and purl. A yarn over is when you place the yarn over the top of the right needle between stitches to create an extra stitch, instead of between the needle tips to just transition between knit and purl stitches. This is done on purpose for lace but it is probably the most common way for beginners to create unwanted stitches and holes.

Have lines of bumps going up and down instead of bumps all over evenly. Doing rib pattern instead of alternating the stitches. See bottom of this image. The K’s are lining up over the P’s instead of alternating with them. See how easy it is to come up with other stitch patterns? Even by accident?

Nomenclature – Naming the stitch pattern:

Beware, this stitch pattern has two popular names. The Seed Stitch and the British Moss Stitch. Do not confuse it with the American Moss Stitch which is closely related but NOT THE SAME thing. I thought they were the same stitch for a LONG time! They have the same basic idea, they just have a different repeat of the stitch number.

Seed stitch/British Moss Stitch = Knit the Purls and Purl the Knits every row.

American Moss Stitch = Just like seed stitch, but then you do another row so that the right side has two rows that look the same.

Rows 1 and 2: *K1, P1. Repeat from * across.
Rows 3 and 4: *P1, K1. Repeat from * across.

What do you think of the seed stitch? I like it, I used it for one of my favorite projects. I love the texture!

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I MAY GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE PAGE FOR MORE INFO.

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