The linen stitch creates a thin, dense, durable fabric that has both a sophisticated, woven-look right side and attractive, moss-stitch-like wrong side. With only two rows to the pattern, this is an easy stitch to learn, and it works extremely well for combining colors. The linen stitch is a great stepping stone for the adventurous beginner who is looking for something new that looks much more complicated than it is!
- CO - cast on (we used the long tail method)
- K - knit
- P - purl
- Slip - slip stitch purlwise
- BO - bind off (we bound off knitwise)
Cast on an odd number of stitches. (Pattern can also be worked over an even number of stitches.)
Row 1 (right side) - Knit 1. Move the yarn to the front between the needles. Slip the next stitch purlwise. Move the yarn to the back between the needles. Repeat these four steps to the last stitch. Knit 1.
Row 2 (wrong side) - Slip stitch purlwise with yarn in front. Purl 1. Move yarn to the back between the needles. Slip the next stitch purlwise. Move the yarn to the front between the needles. Repeat four steps from purl 1, ending with a slipped stitch.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 to desired length.
Start new colors on Row 1. Row 1 will end with every other stitch alternating colors.
Step By Step Tutorial
Step 1: Cast on an odd number of stitches
Step 2: Row 1, step 1 - Knit 1
Step 3: Row 1, step 2 - Bring yarn to front between the needles
Step 4: Row 1, step 3 - Slip next stitch purlwise
Step 5: Row 1, step 4 - Move yarn to back between the needles
Step 6: Repeat steps 1-4 to last stitch, k1
Step 7: Row 2, step 1 - Slip 1 purlwise
Step 8: Row 2, step 2 - Bring yarn to front between the needles
Step 9: Row 2, step 3 - Purl 1
Step 10: Row 2, step 4 - Move yarn to back between the needles
Step 11: Repeat steps 1-4 to last stitch, slip 1
Step 12: To add in a new color, attached yarn at the beginning of Row 1 with the first k1
The Right Side will develop a woven look - similar to linen fabric
The Wrong Side will look similar to seed stitch or moss stitch
Tips for the Linen Stitch
Take your time! While easy to memorize, it is also easy to get tripped up while working this stitch pattern. It is not easy, however, to go back and fix errors. Be patient and enjoy the rhythm of the pattern.
Slow crafting. The linen stitch does not build length very quickly. Take this into consideration if you are a product knitter or need/want a short-term project. The stitch does take well to a variety of yarn weights, so if you’re concerned, grab a heavier weight yarn and have a go.
Be adventurous! Try using this stitch pattern with two, three, four or more colors! The way the yarn moves through the linen stitch blends all kinds of combinations beautifully - making it a fantastic option for everything from bold contrasting colors and to tonal neutrals. Use mini skeins or remnants for a fun and unique piece!
If you’re looking for a pattern to try out this stitch, we shared the Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf and it is a blank slate for learning - or mastering - this technique. Adaptable to many fibers and weights, choose a yarn or yarns you’re excited to work with and you’re sure to enjoy the process and finished piece!