How to knit the Double Stockinette Stitch

A step by step tutorial on knitting the reversible double stockinette stitch for beginners

We all love the stockinette stitch. It’s an easy, beautiful, and versatile stitch for beginners. It just has two big flaws: It’s not reversible and it curls in at the edges and it’s a bit difficult to prevent it. That’s why I believe for knitting a scarf, the double stockinette stitch is the perfect alternative.

a swatch knit in the reversible double stockinette stitch

So, in this tutorial, I want to show you everything you need to know about this amazing stitch pattern. The repeat is quite easy to learn and after a couple of rows, you’ll be able to knit it without even thinking or looking.

Double Stockinette stitch creates a fully reversible and luxuriously thick fabric that is very cuddly. The resulting knitting is rather airy and squishy. Because you are essentially knitting every row twice, it is quite the yarn eater and you will have to cast on almost twice as many stitches to get to the same width compared to standard stocking stitch. It is an easy alternative to double knitting.

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a swatch knitted in the non-curling double stockinette stitch

In case you were wondering: I am using the Knit Picks Dreamz knitting needles for this tutorial. They are my favorite DPNS for larger sizes.

Instructions

Cast on an even number of stitches

Repeat this pattern until you reached the desired length

So, the main trick is to slip the stitches with the yarn in front. Normally, you would keep the yarn in the back as you slip. But, as the stitches you slip will turn into the knit stitches on the wrong side, you don’t want a visible wrap at the base.

Also, be aware that it may take 4-6 rows for the pattern to truly emerge. It might look a bit weird after the second row still.

a double stockinette stitch swatch

If you cast on an odd number of stitches, you will have to change the repeat on the wrong side to:

  • Right side: *K1, sl1 purlwise with wyif*, k1 
  • Wrong side: sl1 wyif, *k1, sl1 purlwise wyif*
double stockinette stitch pattern

Perhaps the easier way to remember this is: In every row, slip all stitches that appear like purls (so with a little bump at the base) and knit all stitches that look like knit stitches (so like a little “V” on your needles.

Or, if that is easier for you, slip all stitches you knit in the previous row, and knit all stitches you slipped.

Double Stockinette Stitch in the round

A swatch of double stockinette stitch knit in the round

Naturally, you can also knit this stitch pattern in the round as well. I personally feel, the main benefits (being reversible and non-curly) are getting lost here, so decide for yourself if plain stocking stitch will serve you not just as well.

Cast on an even number of stitches

  • Round 1: *K1, sl1 wyif*
  • Round 2: *sl1 wyib, P1*

The main problem is, as you can see, that there is no wrong side you could knit with. So, you gotta adjust for that by slipping with the yarn in the back every second round. But other than that, the repeat is just as straighforward.

Make sure to use a row counter so you don’t lose track. And I would place some a stitch marker at the beginning of the round so you don’t miss it either.

Slipped stitch selvage

close-up of double stockinette stitch edge to stop curling

The double stockinette stitch is also a really nice selvage stitch. In this case, reduce the repeat to 3 or 4 stitches on both sides. The repeat would look something like that

  • Row 1: Knit 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn in front, knit 1, knit across until only three stitches are left, knit 1, slip 1 purlwise wyif, knit 1 stitch
  • Row 2: slip 1 purlwise wyif, knit 1 stitch, slip 1 purlwise wyif, knit across until only three stitches are left, slip 1 purlwise wyif, knit 1 stitch, slip 1 purlwise wyif

Tip: Here’s a list of the 10 best edge stitches in knitting in case you are looking for alternatives

How to bind off double stockinette stitch

the bind off edge of a swatch in double stockinette stitch

At the end of this article, I quickly want to talk about your bind-off options. You can certainly use the standard bind-off for your project. However, you need to take care that you stay in pattern for this very last row as well.

Normally, you would probably knit two stitches and then lift the last stitch over the first on your right needle. In this case, knit and cast off every stitch the way they appear. So, you knit those knit stitches, but you slip the purl stitches with the yarn in front and then cast them off like that. Otherwise, your bind-off edge might look a bit wonky.

And that’s it. That’s how you knit the double stockinette stitch. Feel free to comment with your questions in case you still have any!

how to knit the double stockinette stitch

22 thoughts on “How to knit the Double Stockinette Stitch”

  1. I’ve done double-knittibg before, but this solidified the process and I’m now much more likely to use it again…for something other than 15ft long Harry Potter scarf for my grandson.
    As a side note, I’m so glad I found you and your newsletter. I read your piece on 25 essential tools awhile ago when it popped up on my Google feed. I already have most of the items you mentioned, but got some new ideas as well.
    I also had recently watched your discussion of the pros and cons of the four brands of circular needles sets. I bought the set of ChiaoGoo needles and love them. I’ve ordered several extra cables as well as the bits that let you convert cables from (S) to (L) and vice versa. The thing I love most about ChiaoGoo needles, fixed and interchangeable, are the cables. They are also the reason I bought a set of interchangeables…I was going broke buying fixed needles and never seemed to have the size and/or length I needed.
    Knit Pick circulars are also part of my fairly large and expansive collection of needles . I like them, but like the ChiaoGoos better.

    Now to make sure I put time aside to read more of your lessons…you write so well, and that makes it a pleasure to read your posts.

    Reply
    • Hi, I am a bit confused by the instructions for adding the selvage edge to the double knitting. I tried to follow the instructions but it’s not working out.😭

      Reply
        • Norman, did you leave out a knit stitch at the beginning of the Row 1 selvage edge instructions, maybe? You wrote:
          “ Row 1: Knit 1 stitch, slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn in front, knit across until THREE stitches are left*central pattern*, slip 1 purlwise wyif, knit 1 stitch”, but there are only TWO stitches listed after “central pattern.” Thank you for you wonderful, tutorials!

          Reply
          • well, you are right..or rather we are both right. Yes there is a knit stitch missing but as it says “knit across”, the 3rd knit stitch is there. I’ll adjust the instructions so they are more clear.

  2. I’m creating a swatch for Willow Yarns slip stitch dish towel.
    https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/slip-stitch-dish-towel
    The main pattern of that towel is a honeycomb stitch. The pattern also incorporates a single horizontal stripe of a different pattern near one of the ends of the towel. I’m not in love with the stripe pattern, so I’m planning to try out the double stockinette stitch (for beginners) described here to create a stripe. Thank you for your work to explain it so thoroughly. I like Nimble Needles. It’s really sharp. I keep returning here.

    Reply
    • Hey Cynthia,

      I’m not sure double st st is a good choice for a dishtowel. For pot holder yes, for a scarf definitely!…. but for a towel..? I would really think hard about it and maybe pick seed or linen stitch instead!

      Reply
      • Well, that swatch was very instructive! Now I better understand double stockinette stitch. One needs twice the yarn for a fraction of the width of ordinary stockinette. I was aiming for the thickness of it, the squishiness, but I didn’t understand the true nature of the stitch, which certainly revealed that it does not wish to be a stripe in a dish towel.
        It’s really beautiful once you get into it. I see a double st st scarf in my future.

        Thank you.

        Reply
  3. My edges are looking a little sloppy/ loose using this stitch. I am a newbie, so maybe it is just my tension. Do you have any tips for keeping the edges consistent?

    Reply
    • Hey Stephanie,

      hard to tell you what you are doing wrong…but it could be that you are bringing the yarn around wrong as you turn.

      Reply
  4. Grüße aus Kalifornien. I just knitted up a swatch of the double stockinette stitch and love it. Seeing its non-curling quality and brioche-like squishiness made me wonder why I’d never run into this stitch before. I looked it up in my knitting reference books, including your recommended “Vogue Ultimate Knitting Book,” and could find no mention of it. I looked under ‘double stockinette,’ ‘reversible stockinette,’ and ‘stockinette variations.’ Nada.

    Any idea why this stitch is not being touted for its reversible and non-curling nature? I’d have been using this stitch in scarves for some time if I’d known about it, even though it is a bit of a pain with the yarn flips back and forth. In a similar vein, may I ask what has been the main source of your knowledge of things like your method of making a better-looking left-leaning decrease? I don’t generally find those sorts of tips in books, just the standard instructions. Thank you for your great tips and suggestions!

    Best,
    Deb

    Reply
    • Hey Deborah,
      well, the thing is – it is a kind of double knitting so you might sometimes see it filled under that name. And Vogue Knitting might be a good book, but it’s not a knitting stitch book – so, I find it not very surprising that rather obscure patterns are not included.
      Do know, however, that you will create a sort of pocket between the two layers. You can prevent that by crossing the yarns – tho that will be somewhat visible.

      As for inspiration: truthfully? Myself. As I am always working on my own patterns, I often come across certain problems. And then I start swatching like madly and basically just trying things out. 90% of what I find is rubbish and 10% is gold 😉
      Knitting is math and logic – and I love both.

      Reply
  5. Hi Norman,

    What a great tutorial! I know that this stitch seems best for scarves and other rectangular projects. But is there a way to do increases or decreases to change the shape of a project in double stockinette? Or is it possible to do eyelet lace and yarnovers with this stitch?

    Thanks for all the knitting wisdom you share,
    Lora

    Reply
    • Well, you might look into proper double-knitting then. It is possible to increase and decrease…or do any other stitch in double knitting. But if you do it using this technique, you will need a cable needle.
      So, in essence you knit a KLL or a similar increase into one stitch you knit in the first row. And in the second pass you knit an increase into an adjacent stitch, and then you change the order of the two stitches you increased (with the use of a cable needle) so you can continue with the knit one slip one repeat the normal way.

      Reply
    • Quite honestly, I never tried this. It’s not a bouncy kind of fabric like ribbings are. I have a post on double knitting ribbings here on my blog and this would work for double stockinette stitch as well.
      That being said, I think it would work but not sure if it’s the ideal pattern – except you want to insert a rubber band – then there probably couldn’t be a better pattern.
      Also a lot of hat and sock patterns use the tubular cast on…and that’s essentially just 2 rows of double stockinette stitch… so…that definitely but be something you can look into.

      Reply
  6. Hi, I love this stitch, but the problem is that all my life I’ve been holding the yarn on my right hand. Which means I have to throw the yarn over the needle each time. I’ve never been able to master holding it in my left hand, although I do that for crocheting. With knitting, it seems like the yarn slips off my finger and the needle and I can’t control it. Is there a trick to this? Thanks.
    Beth Andre

    Reply
  7. OK, I’m trying. It’s slow and awkward, but practice makes perfect, right? Sure does make flipping the yarn back and forth much easier though. My 89 year old fingers don’t want to learn something new, but I’ll get there. Thanks. Do you crochet too? I make thick potholders with cotton yarn using a type of double-sided crochet, similar to this in that each row is crocheted twice. Not as smooth looking, though.
    Beth

    Reply

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