When most folks think of “plain knitting” they usually mean stockinette stitch.

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Because it’s smooth, and looks like the same stitch on the right side, it’s often thought by non-knitters to be the first stitch knitters learn.  Usually garter stitch is practiced first, because garter stitch uses only the knit stitch.  That is, every stitch is knit (no purl stitches). Its ridges often make it seem more complex.

pnk1garter

On two needles, stockinette stitch is a row of knit stitches followed by a row of purl.  For circular knitting, whether using a circular needle … two circulars … or three or more double-pointed needles stockinette stitch is knitting every stitch in every row. Circular knitting though is more advanced than knitting with two needles.  So, even though stockinette can be knit every stitch, it’s not the way most knitters learn stockinette.

Unlike garter stitch, stockinette stitch has a tendency to curl. So borders, whether of garter stitch or ribbing are more common to help flatten the finished article.  And depending upon the yarn, blocking can help, too.

Stockinette stitch can be the first step towards more complex patterns.  For example, knitting with more than one color of yarn.  Whether Fair Isle, or some other pattern.

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Looks complex, doesn’t it? This pattern uses only two colors.  It was fun to knit. And yes, I did follow a chart for it.  Well, sort of.  I actually changed the pattern from the original. 😉

Here’s a more complex Fair Isle pattern from the ‘net:

Green Fair Isle jumper, cropped from Image:Fai...

Image via Wikipedia

I like to think of cable stitches as another variation of stockinette.

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While they look complex, if you look closely you’ll see stockinette stitch, and reverse stockinette stitch in the pattern.  Reverse stockinette:  all purled stitches, found on the wrong side of stockinette stitch.

My latest project is stockinette stitch on circular needles.

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Knit with two strands of crochet cotton, I like the variegated effect.

What are you knitting?

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