Linen Stitch – Guide For Knitters – Master This Textured Stitch!

By Jodie Morgan

| Updated:

I love the texture of the linen stitch. It takes a little more time but the results of the woven look is worth it! I’ll show you how to master the stitches involved. You’ll learn what it is, how to do it, and my tips for making it easier.

My swatch of linen stitch in cardinal red cotton acrylic yarn

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I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on March 25, 2023.

Note: This isn’t to be confused with the crochet linen stitch, created using the chain stitch and single crochet stitch.

Table Of Contents

What Is Linen Stitch & How Does It Look?

Linen stitch is a two-row repeat pattern. It creates a beautifully textured fabric like the fiber linen! Hence the name. The knitted fabric is very dense so it’s great for mittens, cowls, scarves, bags, purses, crafts, and jackets.

It looks like woven fabric on the front. On the back, it looks like seed stitch, so it’s not a reversible pattern. I like the look of the right and wrong sides, so would happy to have either facing the front.

Its’s dense. If you have a tight tension like me, I’d suggest going up a needle size. Also non elastic yarns like cotton will be a little harder to work with.

Instructions On How To Knit Linen Stitches

Here’s how you do the linen stitch knitting pattern.

Materials

  • Yarn
  • Needles to match the size of your yarn
  • Yarn needle (for weaving in ends)
  • Scissors

Instructions

Work a two-row repeat, using knit, purl and slipped stitch pattern. Slipping stitches is fiddly. If you have a practice, soon you’ll have no trouble when slipping stitches!

I find this quite slow going, perhaps with practice I would get quicker. So if you are a beginner, remember to be kind to yourself and have patience. The result is worth it.

Front and back of my knitted swatch

Cast on multiples of 2. In my swatch above, I cast on 18 stitches

  • Row 1: Purl 1. Put the yarn in back and slip 1 PURLWISE. Keep repeating until the end
  • Row 2: Knit 1. Put yarn in front and slip 1 purl wise. Keep repeating until the end.

And you’re done! Just keep repeating until you reach the desired length.

In doing the stitches as above, you will end each row with a slipped stitch. You might be thinking, but how will the yarn in the back or yarn in the front wrap around the slipped stitch? It works by continuing to the next row. The yarn wraps the last stitch on the previous row. This creates a neat edge.

I’ve seen other knitters add a garter edge border which is good for a dishcloth project. Very Pink Knits shows you how.

How Do You Cast On?

You’ll need to use the long tail cast on. Make sure you cast on an even number of stitches! Cast on multiples of 2.

How Do You Increase?

  • Make a new stitch
  • Knit next stitch through the back
  • Bring the yarn forward
  • Slip the stitch you just knitted onto the other needle
  • Bring the yarn back.
  • Knit one

How Do You Knit A Half Linen Stitch?

  • Cast on an odd number of stitches
  • Purl 1 row

From here on, repeat four rows until you reach your desired length.

  • Row 1: *knit 1, bring yarn to front, slip 1 purlwise, bring yarn to back, repeat from * till the last stitch, knit 1.
  • Row 2: Purl.
  • Row 3: *knit 2, bring yarn to front, slip 1, bring yarn to back, knit 1, repeat from * till the last stitch, knit 1.
  • Row 4: Purl.
  • Repeat rows 1 – 4.

Half Linen Stitch In The Round

  • Cast on an even amount of stitches
  • Knit 1 round

Pattern repeat:

  • Row 1: *knit 1, bring yarn to front, slip 1, bring yarn to back, repeat from * till the end of round.
  • Row 2. Knit.
  • Row 3: *bring yarn to front, slip 1, bring yarn to back, knit 1, repeat from * till the end of round.
  • Row 4: Knit.
  • Repeat rows 1 – 4.

Pin Now to Save for Later

Linen Stitch Pin

How To Knit This Woven Stitch In The Round: Repeat 2 Rows

Have an odd number of stitches when working in the round. Learn how to do this woven stitch in the round with instructions from Elizabeth Smith Knits.

Her cowl would be super warm!

Variations Of Linen: There’s only 1 variation, and that’s the half linen stitch.

How To Do These Stitches On A Loom

Knit Linen Stitches With Two Colors

Creating with two colors looks pretty! Either use two strands of yarn as one, or do a row with Color A and the next row with the other Color B.

Patterns Using Linen Stitches

Here are free patterns to try!

FAQS About The Linen Stitch

What Is The Linen Stitch Good For?

Linen stitches are dense, warm and doesn’t stretch much. So it’s great for blankets, shawls, hats, you name it!

Is The Moss Stitch The Same As The Linen Stitch?

No. Linen stitches on the wrong side looks like moss/seed stitch.

Is Linen Stitch Reversible?

Yes, and no. It’s not the same on both sides. One has linen stitches, and the other has moss/seed stitch.

Does Linen Stitch Curl?

Linen stitches don’t curl! You don’t have to block it. If your work is curling, it means your needle size is too small. However the Half version does curl.

Is The Linen Stitch Stretchy?

It stretches if you pull it sideways, but not vertically.

Linen Stitch Vs Half Linen Stitch

Linen stitches are created with a two-row repeat, while half linen stitch is a four-row repeat.

Linen Stitch Vs Seed Stitch

Linen stitches looks like seed stitch on the back, but it doesn’t work the same way.

Conclusion

The linen stitch is an easy, textured technique creating a beautiful fabric. It’s reversible and doesn’t curl or stretch much. I hope you try this in your projects.

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Regional Australia

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in regional Australia. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

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Comments

  1. Hi,
    If using this stitch for washcloths or towels on cotton, would it need to be a loose knit in order not to warp when laundered the same as other washcloths and towels?

    Reply
    • Hi there. I would recommend doing a small swatch knitting with your normal tension and then launder it to see how it turns out. The linen stitch creates a dense fabric.

      Reply
  2. I’m surprised no one seems to know this, but you don’t have to effectively knit each row twice with slip stitches.

    This IS seed stitch. On an odd number of stitches, using two different colors of yarn, simply knit seed stitch (k1,p1 to last stitch,k1), changing color with each stitch. Carry both yarns to the front or back as needed and knit only the color wanted on that stitch, letting the unused color carry on the front or the back when not used. Next row continue in seed stitch, alternating colors (knit color a into color b stitches and color b into color a stitches) to make a checkerboard pattern, again bringing both yarns to front or back and only knitting the color wanted.

    You get exactly the same result as working each row twice slipping half the stitches every time.

    Reply

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