What Is Reverse Stockinette Stitch? My Beginner’s Guide With Videos

Want to learn reverse stockinette stitch? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve curated the easiest knitting tutorials to follow. The excellent teachers I’ve included helped me with my journey.

Reverse stockinette in electric blue acrylic and cotton yarn showing the purl row side which is the right side

Table Of Contents

What Is Reverse Stockinette In Knitting?

It’s an easy knitting stitch with a lovely textured fabric and features a two row repeat pattern. It features one row of purl stitches and one row of knit stitches.

Just like stockinette stitch but the reverse!

Key Facts – Things To Know

  • Difficulty Category – Easy
  • Appearance – Continuous rows of purl stitches
  • Does It Stretch? – Yes, but not well
  • Is It Reversible? – No, the pattern is only on one side
  • Does Reverse Stockinette Stitch Curl? – Yes, it does
  • Is It Good For Borders? – Not particularly, as it curls
  • How Difficult Are Increases/Decreases In This Pattern? – Shaping is easy to do
  • How many rows? – Two rows

You can use this stitch in a vertical or horizontal position in your knitted fabrics to create a different effect.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Facts

Related Knitting Terms & Abbreviations

  • Reverse Stockinette st – shorthand for this stitch
  • Rev St st – shorthand for this stitch

Why Is It Called Reverse Stockinette?

Because it’s the reverse/opposite of the popular stockinette knit stitch.

What’s The Difference Between Stockinette And Reverse Stockinette?

Stockinette is the most common knitting stitch. It’s produced by knitting one row then purling the next, and repeat.

The right side (or front of the work) are knit stitches, and the wrong side (or the back of the work) are purl stitches. Reverse stockinette is you purl the first row then knit the next, and repeat.

The right side (or front of the work) are purl stitches, and the wrong side (or the back of the work) are knit stitches.

The Right Side And Wrong Side Of Reverse Stockinette Stitch

Why Use It In Projects?

Reverse stockinette is often used in garments, as it provides a simple but textured background for cables and other stitch patterns.

It’s also used in projects like dishcloths and blankets where you want texture, but nothing too fancy.

How To Do Reverse Stockinette

Knitting Techniques You Need To Know

  • Here’s what you need to know to learn how to knit the Reverse Stockinette stitch.
  • Making a slip knot
  • Casting on (my favorite method is the long-tail cast on)
  • Reading knitting abbreviations (like k1, p1)
  • The knit and purl stitch
  • Casting off (AKA bind off)

Knitting Tools & Materials

  • These are the supplies you need to knit reverse stockinette stitch.
  • A skein/ball of yarn (if you’re a beginner, use a wool or acrylic worsted weight yarn)
  • Straight knitting needles (ensure the sizes match the type of yarn you’ve chosen) or circular needles if you prefer
  • Scissors
  • A yarn needle (AKA a tapestry needle)

Casting On

  • First, cast on an even number of stitches – around 10-20 onto your two needles

Don’t know how to cast on? See this by Davina from Sheep & Stitch on YouTube.

YouTube video

Done that process? Now get ready to knit your first row of the reverse stockinette stitch fabric swatch.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Knitting Pattern

Here’s how to knit the reverse stockinette stitch in flat knitting.

Do you use your left hand or right hand to make a knitted fabric? These instructions are for right-handed knitters. If you’re left-handed, it’s the same, but with the opposite hand.

Total Time: 10-15 minutes.

  1. Purl all stitches on the row after your cast on
  2. Knit all stitches on the next row
  3. Repeat these two rows as necessary

You may find some people work with a chart, but if you’re a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend learning it yet.

Casting Off

  • Cast off your stitches
  • Trim the yarn tail
  • Weave in the ends

Don’t know how to cast off? I’ve covered the easiest way to do it! See my post here. Congrats! You’ve created your knitted piece using the reverse stockinette stitch.

Visual Tutorials

Here’s an excellent tutorial with pictures by The Yarnist on YouTube showing you the steps above.

YouTube video

Pin For Later

Stockinette Pin

How To Do Reverse Stockinette Stitch In The Round

Knitting Techniques You Need To Know

  • Making a slip knot 
  • Casting on
  • Joining in the round
  • The purl stitch
  • Casting off

Knitting Tools & Materials

These are the supplies you need to knit reverse stockinette stitch.

  • A skein/ball of yarn (if you’re a beginner, use a wool or acrylic worsted weight yarn. Cotton is more difficult to use. The price varies depending on the yarn brand you choose. Occasionally, brands have a collection of products on sale. Try to shop then and look for some deals on shipping, or get someone to gift it to you!)
  • Circular needles (ensure the sizes matches the yarn)
  • Scissors
  • A yarn needle (aka tapestry needle)

You can use other types of needles like DPNs, but they’re more difficult to use.

Casting On

  • First, cast on enough stitches to fit around your circular needle circumference
  • Ensure your gauge (how many stitches per inch) isn’t too tight or loose for the needle size you’re using

Don’t know how to cast on? No worries! See this by WE ARE KNITTERS on YouTube.

YouTube video

Joining In The Round

  • Wrap the yarn around the needle, and join in the round

Don’t know how to join in the round? See this by Norman from Nimble Needles on YouTube. Skip to the 6.35 timestamp for the part you need to watch.

YouTube video

Done that? Now, get ready to knit.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Pattern In The Round

Here’s how to knit the reverse stockinette stitch in the round.

  1. Purl all stitches in the round
  2. Repeat as many times as necessary to reach your desired length

Casting Off

  • Cast off your stitches, leaving the last stitch knit
  • Pull the yarn through the last stitch
  • Trim the yarn tail and thread it through a yarn needle
  • Weave in the ends

Don’t know how to cast off? No worries! See this by Jennifer from Fiber Flux on YouTube.

YouTube video

Video Tutorials

Here’s a tutorial by Howcast on YouTube on how to do the reverse stockinette stitch patterns in the round.

YouTube video

If you’re confused, hopefully it’ll make it a lot easier to grasp.

Common Problems & Fixes

When you’re learning, things are bound to go wrong! You may notice the following problems in your knitting, but don’t worry. Here’s how to solve them.

My Cast On Row Has Big Loops

My preferred method of casting on stitches is a long tail cast on. It’s tighter and gives your work stability.

Big Gaps Between The Rows

If your stitches are too loose, you’ll notice gaps appear between the rows. Use a smaller needle size or tighten your tension by holding the yarn differently as you knit.

Project Ideas For This Stitch

Here is a list of suggested uses for this knitting technique. They’d make a variety of gifts for friends or family, or your next knitting project!

Designers use this stitch in their designs for backgrounds for more complex stitches.

  • Accessories like a shawl
  • Garments like a cardigan or sweater
  • Home décor
  • Knitted squares for a quilt or multiple quilts if you’re feeling ambitious! 😊
  • A useful thing for your home like dishcloths
  • A cute animal
  • A plant hanger

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Knitting Patterns To Try

Here is a selection of great free patterns for beginner knitters using the reverse stockinette knit stitch. 

Making something is one of the best ways to learn the knitting basics (or advanced methods!) Hope you find a wonderful project to do next! Let me know if you make one of these options.

Yarn companies and knitwear designers have patterns, but you often need an account to access them.

  1. Chevron Headband
  2. Ruffle Bag
  3. Regan Cardigan
  4. Frida Sweater
  5. Judith Jersey

FAQS About Reverse Stockinette Stitch

People also ask me the following questions.

How Do You Block Reverse Stockinette Stitch?

It depends on the yarn you’re using. See this article for how to block your knitted items, including images.

How Do You Weave In The Ends Of Reverse Stockinette Knit Stitch?

Here’s an excellent tutorial by Staci from Very Pink Knits.

YouTube video

Jump to timestamp 1.07 to follow along weaving your ends.

How Do You Count Reverse Stockinette Stitch Rows?

It’s tricky to count the rows because the purl ridges all look the same. Here’s how:

  • Flip the work over so you see the wrong side (the side with the little “Vs”/knit stitches
  • Choose a column of those
  • From the bottom, ignoring the cast on row, count upwards until you reach the top

How Do I Fix A Dropped Stitch?

Here are instructions by Davina from Sheep & Stitch. She’s a lovely person and her videos are engaging. She uses her other needle to pick up the dropped stitch. I recommend a crochet hook instead as it’s easier.

YouTube video

How Do You Seam Knit Stitches?

Here are some seaming methods to try. Here is a tutorial for three ways to seam knitting stitches by Hannah from Knit With Hannah.

YouTube video

(Note: Grafting is joining two pieces together invisibly.)

How Do You Knit Neat Edges?

Here’s an excellent tutorial on different methods for knitting a neat edge stitch for the border. Norman from Nimble Needles shares his expert knowledge.

YouTube video

Can Reverse Stockinette Stitch Be Created In Crochet?

Yes, you can create a mock version using a hook.

How To Do A Flat Vertical Seam for Reverse Stockinette Stitch 

  1. Lay the two pieces of fabric side by side with right sides facing up. That’s the side showing all the purl rows.
  2. Using a tapestry needle and a length of yarn, mattress stitch the two pieces together along the seam allowance, working from the bottom up.
  3. When you reach the end of the seam, knot the yarn and weave in the ends

Suzanne Bryan shows you all these steps in her video tutorial.

YouTube video

She uses a yarn in a contrasting color so it makes it clearer to see how to do the process.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Vs Garter Stitch

Reverse stockinette is created by knitting one row and purling the next. Garter is created by knitting every row.

The difference is reverse stockinette creates a smooth fabric on one side (the wrong side) where there are all knit stitches. The right side of the work shows all purl rows.

The garter stitch creates a textured, ridged fabric on both sides.

Why Does A Pattern Call For All Reverse Stockinette Stitch In The Round?

There are a few reasons.

  1. The right side of the fabric are purl rows which create visual interest
  2. It creates a firm fabric perfect for projects where you need the fabric to hold its shape
  3. It’s great for beginners who are getting used to knitting in the round and the purl stitch is one of the basic stitches.


Time to knit (and master) reverse stockinette stitch! Hope you enjoy learning these new skills.

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About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan - (Author and Founder)

Lives In: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 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. Please say hello, or see what she's making on Ravelry.

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