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How to Knit Seed Stitch – Easy Tutorial for Beginners

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Seed stitch is a classic knitting stitch pattern that adds a fun texture to all kinds of knitting projects. – and it’s a lot easier than you think! This step-by-step tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to knit seed stitch.

Seed stitch is a go-to for adding nubby, organic texture to your knitting without a whole lot of effort. It’s great for beginners, too – in fact, it’s the first stitch pattern I learned after stockinette and garter stitch.

In this tutorial, we’ll go over everything you need to know to knit seed stitch

  • First, we’ll cover the basics – like the tools and skills you’ll need to know.  
  • Then, we’ll talk about how to actually knit seed stitch – in both rounds and rows. 
  • After that, I’ll give you my best tips for making your seed stitch look amazing and consistent.

How to Knit Seed Stitch

To knit seed stitch:

  1. Alternate knit 1, purl 1 across the row.
  2. On the next row, knit the purls and purl the knits.
a swatch of seed stitch in blue yarn on a light gray background

Qualities of Seed Stitch

Seed stitch is a classic knitting stitch pattern that’s easy to learn and fun to knit. It creates a fabric with a nubby, organic texture that looks like little seeds. Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • The alternating K1 P1 pattern creates a reversible fabric with no right or wrong side. 
  • Seed stitch lies flat and doesn’t curl – making it great for borders and edges.  
  • It creates a slightly thicker, denser fabric than stockinette with a good amount of stretch.

This versatile stitch is great for:

  • Borders and edges on garments and accessories
  • Textured details on hat flaps, sweater yokes, etc
  • Reversible pieces like cowls and scarves
  • Allover texture on hats, mittens, blankets, and more

Other Names for Seed Stitch

Seed stitch goes by a few other names, depending on whether the pattern is from an American or British source. What we call “seed stitch” in the US is called “moss stitch” in the UK. And what we call “moss stitch” in the US is a different stitch pattern altogether.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • American Seed Stitch is the same as British Moss Stitch: a two-row repeat of alternating knits and purls.
  • American Moss is the same as Irish Moss Stitch: a four-row repeat of alternating knits and purls.
  • Double Moss Stitch is a four-row repeat of alternating K2, P2.

How to Knit Seed Stitch

Now we’re ready to knit seed stitch!

Necessary Supplies

To knit seed stitch, you’ll need:

  • Yarn: Choose a smooth yarn in a medium weight to practice.
  • Knitting needles: Choose a needle size according to the yarn label.
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors

Before You Start: Knitting Techniques to Know

Here are the basic knitting techniques you’ll need to know to knit seed stitch:

a few rows of seed stitch in blue yarn on a light gray background

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now we’re ready to knit seed stitch!

Seed Stitch in Rows

For our practice swatch, cast on an odd number of stitches with your favorite cast-on method. I’ll be using the alternating long talk cast-on to create a seamless-looking edge.

Seed Stitch (Odd Number, in Rows)

  1. Cast on an odd number of stitches.
  2. Row 1 (RS): *K1, p1; repeat from * across the row. End with a knit stitch.
  3. Row 2 (WS): Repeat Row 1.

Repeat Row 1, knitting the purls and purling the knit stitches.

Seed Stitch (Even Number, in Rows)

  1. Cast on an even number of stitches.
  2. Row 1 (RS): *K1, p1; repeat from * across the row.
  3. Row 2 (WS):*P1, k1; repeat from * across the row.

Repeat Rows 1-2, knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches.

Seed Stitch in the Round

With the same easy alternating pattern, you can create seed stitch texture on circular projects like hats, cowls, and cuffs. Here’s how to knit seed stitch in the round:

Seed Stitch (Odd Number, in Rounds)

  1. Cast on an odd number of stitches. Join to work in the round.
  2. Round 1 (RS): *K1, p1; repeat from * around. End with a knit stitch.
  3. Round 2 (WS):*P1, k1; repeat from * around. End with a purl stitch.

Repeat Rounds 1-2, knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches.

Seed Stitch (Even Number, in Rounds)

  1. Cast on an even number of stitches. Join to work in the round.
  2. Round 1 (RS): *K1, p1; repeat from * around.
  3. Round 2 (RS): *P1, k1; repeat from * around.

Repeat Rounds 1-2, knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches.

Binding Off in Pattern

Binding off in pattern creates an edge that blends seamlessly into the existing seed stitch texture. To bind off in pattern:

  1. Knit or purl the first two stitches, according to the established seed stitch pattern.
  2. Lift the first stitch on the right needle over the second and off the needle.
  3. Knit or purl the next stitch accordingly.
  4. Continue binding off in pattern, purling the knits and knitting the purls.

An Easy Way to Memorize Seed Stitch

Want to knit seed stitch without having to follow a complex pattern? Here’s an easy way to remember seed stitch – no matter how many stitches you’re starting with.

Cast on any number of stitches. Odd or even doesn’t matter!

  • Row 1: K1, P1 across the row.
  • Next Rows: Knit the purl stitches, purl the knit stitches.

That’s it! But, in order to use this shortcut, you’ll need to know how to “read your knitting” – aka, tell the difference between knits and purls just by looking at them.

a close up of alternating knit and purl stitches

The ability to “read” your knitting by identifying knit and purl stitches is an essential skill that makes techniques like seed stitch so much easier. 

How to Read Your Knitting:

  • Knit stitches have a smooth vertical “V” shape
  • Purl stitches have a horizontal bump across them

With a little practice, you’ll be able to recognize the differences.

Tips for Knitting Seed Stitch

Here are some handy tips and tricks to help you knit seed stitch.

  • Try for even tension: Getting your stitches to look nice and even may take some practice since you’re constantly switching between knit and purl stitches.
  • Mark the right side: Since the seed stitch is reversible, you may find it helpful to place a stitch marker on the right side of your work so you know which side is which.
  • Avoid accidental yarnovers: Bring the yarn between the needles to the front of the work before purling. Then, bring the yarn to the back of the work before knitting.

FAQs About Seed Stitch

With a bit of practice, knitting ribbing will become second nature. Here are some answers to common questions about seed stitch.

What are some other names for seed stitch?

Seed stitch is also known as British moss stitch. (Be careful, American Moss stitch is a different pattern.)

What is the difference between seed stitch and moss stitch in knitting?

Seed stitch (US) is a 2-row repeat of alternating k1 p1. Moss stitch (US) is a 4-row repeat of alternating k1 p1.

Can you knit seed stitch with an even number of stitches?

Yes, seed stitch can be worked over an even or odd number of stitches

Does seed stitch start with knit or purl?

Most seed stitch begins with k1, but it can start with either stitch as long as they alternate.

Is seed stitch reversible?

Yes! The knit/purl pattern looks identical on both sides. It does not have a wrong side.

Why does my seed stitch look like ribbing?

Whoops! This can happen if you get off the pattern. To knit ribbing, you stack knits on top of knits, and purls on top of purls. To knit seed stitch, you do the opposite – knit the purls and purl the knits.

Why do I have holes in my seed stitch?

Don’t feel bad, this is another common mistake. This type of hole is due to an accidental yarn over. To avoid them, make sure to move the yarn to the back of the work between the needles before making a knit stitch.

a close up of seed stitch in blue yarn on a light gray background

How to Knit Seed Stitch

Yield: 1

Learn how to knit seed stitch.

Materials

  • yarn

Tools

  • knitting needles

Instructions

  1. Cast on an odd number of stitches.
  2. Row 1 (RS): *K1, p1; repeat from * across the row. End with a knit stitch.
  3. Row 2 (WS): Repeat Row 1.
  4. Repeat Row 1, knitting the purls and purling the knit stitches.

Notes

Check the post to see how to knit seed stitch with an even number of stitches, and how to knit seed stitch in the round.

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More Knitting Tutorials

After you master seed stitch, check out these other knitting tutorials!

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