Seed stitch knitting pattern for beginners

Step-by-step tutorial on how to knit the seed stitch. A simple reversible knitting pattern perfect for scarfs and other beginner projects

Are you planning to knit a scarf? And now you are wondering how to knit the seed stitch? Well, you came to the right place! In this tutorial, I will show you everything you need to know about this simple, yet effective knitting stitch pattern.

a swatch knitted in the seed stitch on a wooden board

The seed stitch creates a lovely structured and reversible fabric. Unlike stockinette stitch, it doesn’t curl in on the edges (read how to keep knitting from curling here). It lays perfectly flat and is moderately stretchy.

You only need to know the knit stitch and the purl stitch. So, it’s a great pattern for beginners. Not only because it’s easy to knit but also because it’s quite forgiving when it comes to hiding smaller mistakes or sections with a slightly different tension.

a seed stitch swatch seen from above so you can see the pattern really well

So, let’s show you how to knit it, eh?

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Instructions: How to knit the seed stitch

a swatch knitted in the seed stitch on a wooden board

The seed stitch is an easy 2-row repeat where you are basically alternating between knit and purl stitches across all rows with a one stitch offset. It works with any kind of yarn and can be used as a standalone pattern but also as a detail in the middle of a larger project. The repeat is:

  • Row 1: *K1, P1*
  • Row 2: *P1, k1*
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Step: Cast on an even number of stitches

    casting on an even number for the seed stitch on a knitting needle
    You can use any cast-on technique you like. A standard longtail cast-on works perfectly in this case as it's neither too stretchy nor too solid for this pattern.

  2. Step: *Knit 1, purl 1* across all stitches of the first row

    knitting across the first row with k1, p1

    After your cast on, turn your work around, bring the yarn to the back, and then knit into the first stitch. Then, bring the yarn to the front, and purl the next stitch.

    And from here, it's rinse and repeat: Knit the next stitch, then purl the next, and so on until you come to the end of the row. And remember to keep bringing the yarn back and forth as required.
  3. Step: *Purl 1, knit 1* across all stitches of the second row

    starting the second row of the seed stitch with a purl stitch

    Turn your work around, and now the repeat is exactly the other way round. So, start with a purl stitch, followed by a knit stitch, purl, knit and so on.

  4. Repeat those two rows until you reached the desired length

    repeating the two rows over and over again to knit the seed stitch pattern

    As I said, the seed stitch is an easy 2-row repeat. You simply have to repeat steps 2+3 over and over again. It does not matter, by the way, with which row you end your project.

    You can easily remember the repeat like this:
    Every odd-numbered row starts with a knit stitch and every even-numbered row with a purl stitch. Or just as easy - lead with a knit stitch on the right side and a purl stitch on the wrong side.

Notes

Be careful not to create an accidental yarn over as you move the yarn to the back. This happens, when the right needle is in the way and a bit of yarn gets snagged (see picture below showing you how NOT to do it).

accidentally adding a yarnover to your seed stitch when you bring the yarn to the back

If you want to go the extra mile, you can alternate between casting on a regular stitch and a purl stitch. This will create an edge that has a totally seamless transition if you treat the cast on already as your row #1. Here's how to cast on purlwise.

Also, instead of always counting stitches, you can learn to read your knitting. For a seed stitch, you are basically knitting every stitch that looks like a purl stitch, and you are purling every stitch that looks like a knit stitch.

a seed stitch on the needles with the next stitch being a purl with a visible bump at its base

So, if the next stitch has a little bump around its base, then knit it. And if it looks like a V, purl it.

How do you knit a seed stitch with an odd number of stitches

You can also knit the seed stitch with an uneven number of stitches. There’s only one slight adjustment. In fact, it’s maybe even easier because it’s the same repeat across all rows.

  • Row 1: *Knit 1, purl 1*, knit 1

So, all you need to remember is that you have to knit one final stitch at the very end. And that’s it.

What is the difference between Moss stitch and Seed stitch?

two knitted swatches showing the difference between seed stitch and moss stitch; they are very smilar
A swatch in moss stitch (blue) and seed stitch (teal)

The moss stitch has a four-row repeat, while the seed stitch has only two rows. A moss stitch alternates between knit and purl stitches as well, but it keeps that pattern for two rows. As a result, you can see two knit stitches/purl stitches stacked upon each other before the pattern changes again.

If you look really closely at the fabric, you will notice that they do indeed look similar and they are in fact related. So, a moss stitch is, if you will, a seed stitch where you duplicated all rows. If you double the core repeat (*k1, p1*) into *k2, p2* on top of that, you create the double moss stitch.

Reading tip: Seed stitch is also one of the best edge stitches in knitting.

Why does my seed stitch look like ribbing?

a seed stitch swatch and ribbing side by side to explain why some mistakes happen
Seed stitch and a swatch in 1×1 rib next to each other.

This is a common problem that occurs when you accidentally cast on an even number of stitches but use the repeat for the uneven number or vice versa. The result will be a 1×1 rib stitch. Both patterns alternate between one knit stitch and one purl stitch. But in a ribbing, you stack the respective knit and purl stitches upon each other when seen from the right side. The seed stitch has a 1-stitch offset.

How to avoid that? Two things: Count your cast on properly and make sure you learn how to read your knitting. Remember, if it looks like a purl stitch, you have to knit it, and if it looks like a knit stitch you purl it. There is, alas, no way to fix that. You have to unravel and start over again.

How to knit the seed stitch in the round

knitting the seed stitch in the round on 4 double-pointed needles and an odd number of stitches

Of course, you can also knit the seed stitch in the round. It can be a great pattern for a simple hat, etc and it’s just as easy to knit. Just remember to place a stitch marker at the beginning of your round, so you don’t get confused.

  • cast on an even number of stitches
  • Round 1: *k1, p1*
  • Round 2: *p1, k1*
  • Repeat those two rounds until you’ve reached the desired length

It has to be noted that this is not the only way to knit it in the round. You can also knit it with an odd number of stitches. Simply add a knit stitch in the first round as the last stitch, And a purl stitch in the second round (so, *k1, p1*,k1 & *p1, k1*, p1). I am utterly undecided, about which version looks better.

difference between odd and even number of stitches seed stitch in the round shown at a little swatch
The 2 rows in white were meant to divide the two sections; well, at least it shows that 2-colored seed stitch doesn’t work very well in the round

You see, when you are knitting in the round you always create a little jog around the beginning/end of your round (well, at least if you don’t know my simple technique for creating jogless stripes). In this case, that final knit stitch of the repeat messes up the uniformity of the seed stitch a bit.

An even number of stitches is a bit less likely to create ladders in my experience, even though you end up with two purl stitches next to each other. The version with an uneven number is a bit more in pattern. However, I feel it ends up looking a bit wonky. I leave it up to you.

Anyway, that’s how to knit the seed stitch knitting pattern. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.

how to knit the seed stitch knitting pattern for beginners

12 thoughts on “Seed stitch knitting pattern for beginners”

  1. Hi Norman! I love your site and all of your helpful tips. I’m a beginner, I’ve knitted some scarves and a couple of blankets for the new babies in my family.

    I do have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer on anywhere. It’s more of a general question but it does apply to a pattern I’m working on. The row I’m working on is P5, K5. The instruction for the next couple of rows is ‘work 6 rows in seed stitch.’ Does this mean I work the next row as K1, P1, or would I follow the stitches from the row before to determine the knits and purls (in this case, it would be K5, P5)?

    Thanks for your help and for sharing your knowledge!

    Reply
    • I can’t tell because I would have to see and read the pattern and I typically don’t do that because it is not my pattern and I have no clue how it should fit or look.
      BUt probably it just means knitting across in k1,p1

      Reply
  2. I have been trying to do this and moss stitch for the last month and didn’t figure out what I was doing wrong until I saw this tutorial! I was reading the instructions incorrectly knitting two rows of the K1, P1 and then the P1 K1. Kept getting stocking stitches and had to frog my WIP several times. Learning is frustrating but I will keep on trying.

    Reply
  3. I am pretty much a beginner. When I want to learn a new stitch or practice. I make a washcloth. I have completed a pair of mittens in the fifth grade with a teacher coaching my every move. I am much older now. Recently I made two different blankets, a continuous scarf and a regular scarf. Thank you very much for this information. This is the most complete and understandable explanation of seed stitch I have read. How may I follow you? I would like to continue learning from you.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for making this tutorial, I wondered what this was called because I accidentally knit this pattern when trying to do 1×1 rib stitch so that was pretty funny but I liked the way that it looked because the rows are less obvious so it looks really cool.

    Reply
  5. Hi. Your tutorial is so detailed. Thank you. I won’t bother you with how my attempts at the seed stitch are coming out! But may I request with a video on how to use TWO COLORS in a seed stitch pattern? I can’t find one that makes sense to me.
    Thanks so much!
    Adrienne in MN

    Reply
  6. Hello. Love your website! I am currently making a seed stitch swatch for a blanket I want to make. Unfortunately there are holes in between some of the stitches. What is causing this and how do I fix it? Thanks!

    Lisa in UT

    Reply
    • probably because a) you are using a slightly too big needle and b) you have a slightly different tension between your knit and purl stitches. You can try to fix things by tighenting up after every stitch but particularily those purl stitches. Other than that, I’d needed to see you knitting to really judge what’s happening there.

      Reply
  7. Hi, Norman. Have you ever tried the linen stitch? It is my hands-down favorite and looks absolutely stunning with variegated yarn and color changes by row. Since the wrong side looks like seed stitch, it’s a win-win in my book. Thank you so much for all the time and hard work you invest in making the rest of us better knitters. You are a brilliant knitter and teacher!

    Reply
  8. Hi Norman. I found your site via a web search on “how to cast on.” This from a woman who started knitting a fisherman afghan that turned out beautiful, all 6 foot plus fringe, in wool. Then the female parental unit thought it looked a little dungy, so threw it in the washer and dryer. It turned into a gorgeous 3 foot rug. 🙁 That was 50 years ago. I made each one of the nieces/nephews that same thing when they got married. It took 6 weeks of hard knitting time to complete just one. Life intervened, and many other things took center stage, knitting, embroidery, and other hand-made projects paused. Now, after 50 years I am relearning how to cast on, my hands are still nimble (that happens as a musician). Now the brain is struggling to recall what came so naturally. I thought as my first new project I’d make a scarf, K1 P1, I never knew that sort of pattern had a name, just figured it out when I was young (long before the internet and searching for every bit of information was at my finger tips). Thank you, for your detailed explanations, the photos that show the correct finger position for casting on and all the information on your terrific website! Somewhere in my house is my knitting bag/needles/stitch markers and all the things I used to make literally hundreds of baby blankets, afghans, and small projects. Once I am done with my test project, work will begin on working with alpaca wool, as well as qiviut. Did not want to work with the more expensive yarn till I have relearned my skills. With your website and all the information to help me along the way. Thanks!

    Reply

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