Moss Stitch Knitting {UK &US} Easy for Beginners

Learn how to do moss stitch knitting! Now is the time to add some variety to the fabric you are knitting! If you have a basic pattern that you like, and which fits you well, you can change the stitch pattern up a bit to give yourself different looks and textures. Moss stitch is a great place to start because it is a really simple variation. Moss stitch gives you a lovely textured fabric that is reversible and lies nice and flat.

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Moss Stitch Knitting Tutorial

Moss Stitch Knitting Tutorial

Supplies for Knitting Moss Stitch

  • Yarn of your choice
  • Needles appropriate for that yarn
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors

Abbreviations Used for Knitting Moss Stitch

How Fast Does Moss Stitch Knit up?

Moss stitch is a relatively quick stitch pattern to knit, as it is simply alternating knit and purl stitches, without any complicated ‘back of loop’ or yarn over’ type of instructions. It will work up as quickly as you can knit a rib! Of course, the thickness of your yarn and needles will also influence the speed of finishing your item.

Moss Stitch Knitting vs Seed Stitch

What is the difference between moss stitch and seed stitch? They are in fact, very similar, both involving k1, p1 stitch patterns and generally with an even number of stitches. Both use only basic knit and purl stitches and both are reversible and lie flat.

Just as in crochet, the terminology for these knitting stitches is different, depending on whether you are reading an American pattern or a British pattern.

The British moss stitch is a two-row repeat pattern, and in the US this pattern is known as seed stitch. The American moss stitch is a four-row repeat pattern and is known in the UK as the Irish moss stitch.

Moss Stitch Knitting ChartPin
Moss Stitch Knitting Chart

You can use either version for most patterns and I shall be explaining how to work both variations.

How To Knit Moss Stitch – Step by Step

Casting On for Moss Stitch Knitting

You can use whichever cast on knitting method you like the best. It won’t make a huge difference to the look of the fabric. If you want an especially neat edge, you can choose the knitted cast on.

  • Begin with a slip knot.
  • Insert the right hand needle into the back of the slip knot, from left to right. Keep tension on the yarn, using your right hand.
  • Wrap the yarn around the right needle, counter clockwise.
  • Pull the yarn down in between the needles.
  • Pull the wrap of yarn into a stitch through the loop. Bring the right needle forward.
  • Place that stitch onto the left needle.

This is a knit cast on.

Now you must use the same method for a purl cast on. Instead of inserting the right needle into the next stitch knit wise, you must insert it purl wise, complete the stitch, and place it on the left needle.

Continue casting on 1 stitch knit wise, 1 stitch purl wise until you have the right number of stitches.

American Moss Stitch Or Irish Moss Stitch Knitting

  • Cast on the number of stitches you require.
  • First Row – alternate between k1, p1 across the row.
  • Second Row – Check what the last stitch was on the previous row, and start with the same stitch. So if your last st was ap, it will show on the next row as ak stitch, and you must start with a p.
  • Third row – Repeat row 2.
  • Fourth Row – Repeat row 1.

If you have an even number of stitches it will look like this:

  • Row 1: * k1, p1, repeat the sts from the star to the end of the row.
  • Row 2: *p1, k1, repeat from * to end of row. You will be doing ‘opposite’ stitches for this row.
  • Row 3: * p1, k1, repeat from * to end of row. Your stitches will look the same as in the previous row.
  • Row 4: *k1, p1, from * to end of row. ‘Opposite’ stitches again.
American Moss Stitch KnittingPin
American Moss Stitch Knitting

When you repeat row 1, your stitches will look the same as row 4.

Continue with this 4 row repeat until your knitting is the required length.

British Moss Stitch or American Seed Stitch

  • Cast on the number of stitches you require. (Even number of stitches.)
  • Work k1, p1 to end of row.
  • Check what the last stitch was on the previous row, and start with the same stitch. So if your last stitch was ap, it will show on the next row as ak stitch, and you must start with a p.
  • If the last stitch was ak, start the new row with ak stitch.
  • Continue working these 2 rows.
British Moss Stitch KnittingPin
British Moss Stitch Knitting

Double Moss Stitch Knitting

The difference with a double moss stitch is that instead of using a k1, p1 repeat, you will be using a k2, p2 repeat.

  • Cast on a multiple of 4 sts +2.
  • Row 1: * k2, p2, repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2.
  • Row 2:* p2, k2, rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
  • Row 3: *p2, k2, rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
  • Row 4: * k2, p2, rep from * to last 2 sts, k2.
  • Repeat this 4 row pattern until your knitting has reached the length you require.

You can do this pattern as just a 2 row repeat, but it looks far better and more symmetrical as a 4 row pattern.

Knitting Double Moss StitchPin
Knitting Double Moss Stitch

Casting Off Moss Stitch Knitting

This works best if you cast off the stitches as they appear while keeping your moss stitch pattern. So cast off ak stitch purl wise, and ap stitch knit wise.

If your final (cast off) row starts with ap, you will work k1, p1, lift the k stitch over the p stitch. Then k1 again, and lift the p stitch over the k stitch. Continue in this way until all stitches are cast off, pull yarn through final stitch to end off.

Increasing And Decreasing Moss Stitch Knitting

It is best to increase or decrease right at the ends of the row so that you can keep the sequence of the moss stitch correct. So to increase, cast a stitch on at the end of a row, to decrease k 2 tog (or p 2 tog) at the end of a row. Then check carefully which stitch you need to start the next row with!

Sewing Up Moss Stitch Seams

If you are making a garment in moss stitch, which needs sewing together, the best and most invisible method will be the mattress stitch seam. To do this:

  • Line up the two edges which need to be sewn together, right sides facing.
  • Fasten yarn to the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Insert your needle into the first stitch on the RH piece of fabric. Pull the yarn gently.
  • Insert the needle into the corresponding stitch on the LH piece of fabric. Pull the yarn up.
  • Insert the needle into the next stitch up on the RH side and pull it through.
  • Insert your needle into the next stitch up on the LH side and pull it through.

Repeat this all the way along the seam, end with a back stitch to secure and weave the end of the yarn in. The final seam, when pulled firmly, is almost invisible. (Especially if you use a matching yarn!)

Troubleshooting in Moss Stitch Knit

Stitch Issues

The most common mistake that is made is that your moss stitch turns into a rib because you haven’t knitted the purls and purled the knits. If you are not alternating the stitches, they will stack up, the same stitch upon the same stitch, which makes a rib.

Dropped Stitches

The other problem which may happen is a dropped stitch. This is a little more complicated to fix than a dropped stitch in stockinette stitch! But it is most definitely do-able.

To fix it: Pull back your knitting to where the dropped stitch is. Have the ‘ladder’ that has formed between the left and right needles. Look and see what your last complete stitch was. Your first repaired stitch must be the opposite stitch.

If you are making a purl stitch: Transfer the last complete stitch plus the strand across where the dropped stitch was (the bottom ‘rung’ of the ladder) onto your RH needle. First the stitch, then the strand. Pull the stitch over the strand with the tip of your LH needle.

If you are making a knit stitch: Transfer the stitch and the strand or ‘rung’ onto your LH needle. Pull the stitch over the strand. Work all the way up the column of strands, alternating each time, until you reach your needle. Then continue knitting your moss stitch as before.

Moss Stitch Knitting vs Moss Stitch Crochet

If you are one of the many people who enjoy both knitting and crochet, you may want to compare the two types of moss stitch. Both give a checked pattern, and both are easy to work. Crochet moss stitch Works up more quickly but uses more yarn, while knitting moss stitch has a finer look to it, but takes a little longer.

Moss Stitch CrochetPin
Moss Stitch Crochet

Moss Stitch FAQS

Do You Need an Even Number of Stitches for Moss Stitch?

Moss stitch knitting works with either an even or odd number of stitches. As long as you are alternating the knit and purl stitches in the correct rows, you will get a moss stitch pattern.

Knitting Moss Stitch – Conclusion

Whether you choose American or English moss stitch, the result will be an attractive basket weave type pattern. Moss stitch is extremely hard wearing, which makes it ideal for children’s clothing.

Its texture also makes it good for rubbing and scrubbing, so it is ideal for making dishcloths or for knitting up exfoliating bath cloths. It also makes wonderful scarves, as it is reversible and doesn’t curl up at all. Now all you need to do is decide which version of moss stitch you like the best, and get knitting!

Moss Stitch Knitting, How to Knit Moss StitchPin

Moss Stitch Knitting – American and British Moss Stitch

Learn how to do moss stitch with this easy tutorial.

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Difficulty: Easy Beginner

Keyword: Knitting

Instructions

American Moss Stitch (Irish Moss Stitch)

  • Cast on.

  • First Row – alternate between k1, p1 across the row.

  • Second Row – Check what the last stitch was on the previous row, and start with the same stitch. So if your last st was ap, it will show on the next row as ak stitch, and you must start with a p.

  • Third row – Repeat row 2.

  • Fourth Row – Repeat row 1.

British Moss Stitch

  • Cast on. (Even number of stitches.)

  • First Row – Work k1, p1 to end of row.

  • Second Row – Check what the last stitch was on the previous row, and start with the same stitch. So if your last stitch was ap, it will show on the next row as ak stitch, and you must start with a p.

  • Continue working these 2 rows.

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