How to: work stocking stitch
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Stocking stitch alternates a row of knit stitches with a row of purl stitches. This creates a knitted fabric that is smooth on the right side (with purl stitches forming the bumpy wrong side).
The cast on method and pattern will determine the right side, so using the yarn end isn’t always the most reliable way to do this. Attach a stitch marker to the right side to avoid any confusion.
Although called a ‘stitch’, this really a pattern as it is created with two repeated rows. It is such a classic that you will soon come across the phrase ‘beg with a k (or p) row, work in st st’ or ‘cont in st st’. This is shorthand for alternating rows of knit and purl to create stocking stitch, with the knit side usually being the right side. You may also be working in stocking stitch with shaping on, say, even-numbered knit rows, while all odd-numbered rows are simply purl to the end. The aim with stocking stitch is for all of your stitches to be very even, as mistakes or differences in tension can be noticeable, unless concealed by a forgiving yarn. Remember that for a knit row the yarn is held at the back, while for a purl row it’s held at the front. Tension squares are often given over stocking stitch, even for an item with patterns or motifs worked in, so keep practising to make this your default ‘knitting’, and everything else will flow from this.