What’s your favourite knitting pattern?

seed stitch scarves and wrap
Favourite Seed Stitch Projects

Mine is seed stitch (Brits say moss stitch), one of the basic knitting patterns including garter stitch, stockinette stitch, and single rib (k1, p1). Although seed stitch is easy to knit, it packs a visual punch. It’s a textured pattern created by alternating a sequence of knit and purl stitches. Unlike ribbing, the knit stitches are purled and the purl stitches are knit forming a “broken rib” or “pebbly” texture. Let’s take a closer look at seed stitch and its variation.

Seed or British Moss Stitch

Seed stitch and British moss stitch are the same stitch pattern, but in American patterns moss stitch is not the same. Classic seed or moss stitch is worked as follows:

Even number of stitches

Row 1 (RS): *k1, p1; rep from * to end.

Row 2: *p1, k1; rep from * to end.

Rep rows 1 and 2.

Seed stitch can also be worked on an odd number of stitches

Row 1 (RS): k1, *(p1, k1); rep from * ending with k1.

Row 2: rep row 1.

Rep rows 1 and 2.

seed stitch swatch
Seed or British moss stitch swatch.

You’ll notice that seed stitch is a k1, p1 rib, broken on every row. Another way to think about making seed stitch is to purl the knit stitches, and knit the purl stitches; very helpful if you lose your place or drop stitches. This is different from making a rib pattern, where you create columns of knit and purl stitches.

American Moss Stitch

American moss stitch is one of the most popular broken rib patterns, and often used in combination with cable and lace patterns. Seed stitch changes from knit to purl stitches on every row, whereas American moss stitch changes every other row.

Even number of stitches

Rows 1 & 2: *k1, p1; rep from * to end.

Rows 3 & 4: *p1, k1; rep from * to end.

Rep rows 1 through 4.

Double Seed Stitch

This pattern is a variation of seed stitch, and can also be referred to as double moss stitch. Instead of k1, p1 broken rib in seed stitch, double seed consists of k2, p2 ribbing broken every other row.

Multiple of 4 stitches

Rows 1 & 2: *k2, p2; rep from * to end.

Rows 3 & 4: *p2, k2; rep from * to end.

Rep rows 1 through 4.

(Note: Refer to Knitting Terminology for any abbreviations that are unfamiliar to you)

The beauty of a broken rib pattern lies in its texture, edges that don’t curl, it looks the same on both sides, and doesn’t require extensive blocking.

When comparing a stockinette stitch with a seed stitch gauge swatch using the same needle size, number of stitches and rows, you’ll notice a difference. Usually the stitch gauge will be approximately the same for both swatches, but the row gauge will be different. The seed stitch swatch will be shorter in length than the stockinette stitch swatch. This difference will affect the amount of yarn required for the project. You most likely will need more yarn for a project knit in seed stitch than the same one made in stockinette stitch. 

Seed stitch is my favorite of the textured stitch patterns. It makes an otherwise simple garment more interesting, yet is so simple to knit. It also looks beautiful combined with other patterns like cables and lace. It’s also fun to change an allover boring stockinette stitch garment to one made in seed stitch. It’s critical to make your test swatch, because a change in stitch pattern will have a different gauge from one made in stockinette or any other pattern. Have some fun, and jazz up your next project with one of the basic knitting patterns, seed stitch.