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:
- K1, *(P1, K1) to end.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- K1, *(P1, K1) to end.
- Repeat row 1.
- P1, *(K1, P1) to end.
- 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.
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).
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!
Last updated: September 16th, 2014.