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Published on September 17th, 2014 | by Amy Kaspar


Do you seed stitch, or moss stitch?

We love Amy’s stitch guides, and this is an interesting point – stitches do sometimes have different names!    If you know of any others, please tell us in the comments!

The LoveKnitting team here is excellent at allowing my goofy personality shine through, if I do say so myself, in these blog posts. My English gets changed to British English, but other than that, I rarely get a question on how I have worded something.   (That’s because we love you Amy!  Ed.)

Then, I ran across a knitting friend who called what I was doing “moss stitch,” and I called it “seed stitch.” Moss stitch, to me, is a one-by-two alternating rib pattern. To her…and she is British…it is a one-by-one alternating rib pattern. Because of this little confusion, I would like to show you both and clarify the name game for you as well.

First, the stitch pattern. To seed stitch (in America) or moss stitch (in the United Kingdom), the pattern is quite simple. The pattern is also reversible, so there is no particular right or wrong side. Cast on an odd number of stitches, and then:

  1. K1, *(P1, K1) to end.
  2. Repeat row 1.

Easy enough, right? Alternate knit and purl stitches on every row. This is what your first row should look like:  knit, purl, knit purl.

Do you seed stitch or moss stitch? - LoveKnitting blog

This is actually one of those patterns that you can pick up and knit, even when you have put it down for a long time. When you knit ribbing, you often will see the phrase “Knit the knits, and purl the purls.” With seed or moss stitch, you do the opposite. If you encounter a purl bump, knit the stitch. If you encounter a knitted “v,” then purl the stitch. I often look at the next stitch because I do ribbing all the time; it is easier for me to figure out if I am knitting or purling by looking at the following stitch instead of the current one, and doing whatever is next on the needle. Weird, I know.

Do you seed stitch or moss stitch? - LoveKnitting blog

If you do this stitch incorrectly, you end up with a beautiful one-by-one rib pattern. It looks like reversible, stretchy stocking stitch. If you do it correctly, you end up with single columns of garter stitch. The little purl bumps are in a lattice or diagonal pattern, looking like little seeds all over the fabric. Hence, seed stitch.

Do you seed stitch or moss stitch? - LoveKnitting blog

And moss stitch. Or whatever.

In America, “moss stitch” is what the Brits…so I am told…call “double moss stitch.” This stitch pattern is equally easy to do, to follow, and equally pretty. Cast on an odd number of stitches, and then:

  1. K1, *(P1, K1) to end.
  2. Repeat row 1.
  3. P1, *(K1, P1) to end.
  4. Repeat row 3.

Basically, you do two rows of ribbing, and then you alternate your knits and purls and do two more rows of ribbing. You still end up with purl bumps, but with double moss stitch you also end up with a pretty display of stocking stitch “v”s as well. I put them on the same swatch so you can see the difference. The one on the needles is the so-called double moss stitch, and the one on the bottom is just regular moss stitch (or American seed stitch).

By the way, you can do either stitch pattern with an even number of stitches, but you do have to pay attention so that your bumps do not turn into ribs. If you are not careful, you will go from seed stitch or moss stitch to ribbing in no time flat.

Do you seed stitch or moss stitch? - LoveKnitting blog

Now that the knitting dialect has been explained, perhaps this will help when you are reading a confusing pattern which just names the stitches, and does not illustrate them in written instructions. It ultimately does not matter, however. Here’s why.

American seed stitch and British moss stitch are the same. American moss stitch and British double moss stitch are the same. Beyond that, the patterns can be applied to your knitting in exactly the same way, because they possess many of the same qualities knitters love when making their fabric more interesting.

Both patterns look the same on both sides. They both lie flat, so they can be used as an edging with stocking stitch and it will prevent the dreaded stocking stitch curl. They are easy to keep your place if you put your knitting down, even in the middle of a row (but do remember to start when your yarn is hanging from the first stich on the right needle, not the left one, if you are in the middle of a row).

Do you seed stitch or moss stitch? - LoveKnitting blog

On its own, either pattern is gender-neutral, so they can be made into scarves for pretty much anyone whose neck gets cold. The gauge is not too terribly different from stocking stitch, so unlike ribbing, the pattern can be an extension of stocking stitch or it can be inserted in either a vertical or horizontal pattern in the middle as well.

And while either pattern would make a stunning afghan, keep in mind that switching from knit to purl on every stitch is a bit labour-intensive, so it takes longer to knit than plain garter or stocking stitch. But the end result is a mini-pattern that is both simple and stunning.

Hopefully, you have some yarn lying around, and you will pick it up with your favourite needles and try both patterns. Whether you call it seed stitch, moss stitch, or double moss stitch, I will just call it “pretty” when you finish!

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About the Author

Amy lives in Chicago and can either be found knitting, writing about knitting, designing knitted things, or watching professional hockey while knitting. There is also a necessary cup of coffee nearby at all times, Follow her on Twitter @thefiberfriend for more yarny bits.

Last updated: September 16th, 2014.

24 Responses to Do you seed stitch, or moss stitch?

  1. Pam says:

    Amy, thank you so much for clearing up this mystery, and in such a simple, concise way. I understood it even without benefit of my first cup of coffee this morning! (Yes, reading this first took precedence over getting coffee!)

    • Amy Kaspar says:

      Miss Pam…Amy here…thank you for the kind words, and you referring to your “first cup” of coffee (meaning there are others after that) means you and I understand each other. 😉

  2. Becky Deming says:

    I LOVE to seed stitch. It is such a firm stitch, but also has plenty of give. Have never done the moss stitch until yesterday, and thought is was gather different. Now that you explained them both I so unstand the moss. I thought it looked like mini ribbing. Now I know that’s how the pattern goes. Thanks for the lesson.

    • Amy Kaspar says:

      Miss Becky…Amy here…glad I could help! I also love the stitch…they both make great borders for the bottoms of garments, and I am not a fan of having ribbing on my hips…ha ha.

  3. Barb says:

    What would u use this stitch with? I’m thinkin an afghan would take forever and if using needles larger than 10 -U wouldn’t be able to recognize the Moss/Seed stitch.

    • Amy Kaspar says:

      Miss Barb…Amy here…I think an afghan would be gorgeous, but you’re right…it would take a bit of time. Then again, it would be stunning so maybe the time would be worth it. No matter what size needles you use, if you use the commensurate yarn weight you will be able to see the stitches. I would use it for any decorative edge…collar, hem, button band…anything!

  4. Flora Kuritsky says:

    I Thank you too for a very clear explanation of the seed and moss stitch. They work perfectly for borders. Great finishes and looks so good on what ever you choose.

  5. Jill Mahler says:

    I think the moss stitch would make a great hat. I’m going to start designing one today. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Patricia says:

    Thank you so much for the explanation

  7. Pamela Campbell says:

    Thank you, so much. Amy, I was just going to research the Moss Stitch and the Double Moss Stitch, because I have been seeing it referenced lately.
    So nice of you to clear up the confusion. I used to live in Michigan and always enjoyed my trips into Chicago. It is my favorite big city!

    • Amy Kaspar says:

      Miss Pam…Amy here…come back to Chicago and I’ll tell you all of the great places to knit! Thanks for the kind words, and I’m happy to help all of you (it’s also a good lesson for ME).

  8. Regina says:

    Thank you for explaining the difference with such clarity.

  9. Alice says:

    I’m very new to knitting, thanks for clarifying this stitch. It is beautiful.

  10. Judith says:

    Thank you, Amy. I have done so many projects in seed and moss, my friends at my lys laugh about it. I actually knitted a large cardigan for my son in seed. And a great pullover for myself in moss. Whichever one you do, your rotater cuff hurts just as much. But I love the look.

  11. Connie damico says:

    First time Blogger! Love your explanation of moss stitch

  12. Brigitte says:

    Dear knitting sisters, in french, in France my country, (maybe different in Canada) moss stitch is called “rice stitch”, point de riz, which is rather close to “seed stitch”. And “double rice stitch”… as your double moss stitch. I enjoy going on your web site… and learn a lot, included vocabulary! Merci!

  13. Leslie Buff says:

    Thanks Amy, excellent information, now I will know the difference, never knew there was, so nice information to know. I have written this down and put it into my knitting information. Thanks so much.

  14. Jami Merrick says:

    Thanks for the detailed explanation of the stitches and names. I hang out at Sister Arts Studio on Wrightwood, one block east of Halstead. We have open knit night on Thursdays. Swing by if you get a chance. Donna is the owner and she’s terrific. I look forward to more from you. Ta, Jami

    • Amy Kaspar says:

      Miss Jami…Amy here…I know Donna quite well! Tell her that the Cascade rep says hello, and hope to meet you there soon. Thanks for the kind words!

  15. ursula says:

    Wish you would make a video of this and others. If a picture is worth a thousand words a utube video is worth a million.


    • Noreen says:

      Excellent explaination. As a course designer and instructor for health care professionals I frequently have the opportunity to learn or witness instruction stratigies in many of my hobies. Well done… verbal and image selection.
      As for video request — I get that a lot also – but in a clinical setting I try to stress it is the moment you pause, look and consider. Action shoots make things flow and look easy. But skill development has many moments of peace and consideration.

      My favorite stitch – and you have expanded my use – a double moss stitch scarf comming up for Christmas and shelter gifts!

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