Moss stitch, along with its cousin the seed stitch, is a classic textured knitting stitch. It's made by alternating knits and purls every stitch and changing their location after two rows. This stitch produces an almost shifted ribbing or tiny basketweave patterned fabric. Because of the balance of knit and purl stitches, the moss stitch does not curl. It is also reversible, making it great for scarves, blankets and other projects where you commonly see both sides.
Moss or Seed Stitch?
The stitch is also sometimes called the American moss stitch because there is some confusion in different countries about the difference between the seed stitch and the moss stitch and what terms are used where. The basic rule of thumb for telling them apart is that a moss stitch starts with two rows of knit one, purl one repeating, while the seed stitch only has one row. For a lot of patterns, you can work moss stitch instead of seed stitch, because the gauge should be pretty much the same, as long as you adjust the stitch count if it's seed stitch worked on an odd number of stitches.
How to Knit Moss Stitch
The moss stitch is a really easy knitting stitch pattern that works on multiples of two stitches and involves a four-row repeat.
Rows one and two: *Knit one, purl one. Repeat from * across.
Rows three and four: *Purl one, knit one. Repeat from * across.
Repeat these four rows for pattern.
Read Your Knitting with the Moss Stitch
The moss stitch gives you a great opportunity to learn how to read your knitting so that you can find out where you are in the pattern if you put your work down and aren't sure what row of the repeat you were on.
Look at the stacks of vs., which are knit stitches, next to the little columns of purl bumps.
If you have two of the same stitch in a row, it's time to switch to the other row. If you only see one of that stitch, repeat that row again.
Patterns Using Moss Stitch
There are many patterns out there using the moss stitch. You can probably find a free knitting pattern for just about anything you would want to knit using it. Here is a pattern for a simple moss stitch lap afghan.
Halldora J has a great simple moss stitch hat, and another cute hat is available from Garn Studio. Try the moss stitch scarf at From Crook to Hook, or make a moss stitch french press cozy with a pattern from Rachael Kay.
If you'd like to stitch some mitts using moss stitch, check out the pattern from Creative Yarn.
Isabell Kraemer has a lovely shrug pattern that actually uses double moss stitch, a variation where you knit two stitches and purl two stitches in each row before switching their order after two rows.