How to knit tutorial: understanding knitted fabric

Let’s start with an easy one!

Before we can look at knitting techniques we have to understand the structure of knit fabrics. Let’s look at the commonest knitted fabric, known as stocking stitch. You make this by knitting and purling alternative rows or knitting every round. Stocking stitch fabric has distinct right and wrong sides.

Understanding knitted fabric

This is the right side of stocking stitch fabric; it feels smooth.

Stocking stitch, right sideThis is the wrong side of stocking stitch fabric; you can feel the ridges.

Stocking stitch, wrong side

Now let’s look at a single stitch, seen from the right side …

A knit stitch seen from the right side… and the wrong side.

A knit stitch seen from the wrong side

What has a head, two legs and no body?

A stitch has a head, a left leg, right leg and two feet.

The anatomy of a knit stitch

Knit stitches side by side

The left and right feet from adjacent stitches are connected to form each row, therefore this type of knitted fabric is known as weft knit (weft goes from left [weft!] to right or vice versa).  Warp knit exists, but requires special machines.

The legs sit on the right side of the fabric; the legs from each stitch form a “v” shape,

Stocking stitch, right side, one row

while the head and feet sit on the wrong side and form the ridges.

Stocking stitch, wrong side, one row

Knit stitches standing on each other’s heads

The head of a stitch loops round the feet of the stitch above to form a column of stitches (or wale).  Here, you can see a wale from the right side …

Stocking stitch, right side, one wale

… and from the wrong side:

Stocking stitch, wrong side, one wale

And that is stocking stitch fabric.  In my next post I’ll show you how the stitches sit on knitting needles, which depends on whether you are a left- or right-handed knitter.

Want to learn more?

Take a look at my other tutorials. Choose from:

Tutorials for knitting right-handed

You knit right-handed if your right hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you move your stitches your left to right needle as you knit.

Tutorials for knitting left-handed

You knit left-handed if your left hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you move your stitches move from your right to left needle as you knit.

Tutorials for crocheting right-handed

You crochet right-handed if your right hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and your new stitches are on the left of your old ones.

Tutorials for crocheting left-handed

You crochet left-handed if your left hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and your new stitches are on the right of your old ones.

Or maybe you’d like to come to one of my short courses or workshops or book a special personalised one-to-one tutorial.

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2 Responses to How to knit tutorial: understanding knitted fabric

  1. Mary 17 January 2014 at 14:20 #

    Great explanation with easy to see diagram!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How do your stitches sit? by Being Knitterly - 15 January 2014

    […] my last post I wrote about a basic knit fabric structure – stocking stitch.  The diagram below shows stocking stitch fabric without needles (from the right side).  Before I […]

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