Learn the Moss Stitch

A Classic Texture

This moss stitch knitting block is a great project for a sampler.
The Moss Stitch block from a sampler afghan, while being blocked to size. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Moss stitch, along with its cousin the seed stitch, is one of the classic textured knitting stitches. It's a highly textured pattern made by alternating knits and purls every stitch and changing their location after two rows.

A Durable Fabric

This stitch produces an almost shifted ribbing or tiny basketweave patterned fabric. Because of the balance of knit and purl stitches, moss stitch does not curl and is reversible, making it great for scarves, blankets and other projects where you see both sides.

Moss or Seed Stitch?

The stitch is also sometimes called American moss stitch because there is some confusion in different countries about the difference between Seed Stitch and Moss Stitch and what terms are used where. 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

Moss Stitch is a really easy knitting stitch pattern that works on multiples of 2 stitches and involves a 4-row repeat. 

Rows 1 and 2: *K1, p1. Repeat from * across. 

Rows 3 and 4: *P1, k1. Repeat from * across. 

Repeat these 4 rows for pattern.

Knitting Moss Stitch

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 so many patterns out there using Moss Stitch, you can probably find a free knitting pattern for just about anything you would want to knit using the stitch.

Here are some patterns for a simple Moss Stitch Lap Afghan and a two-color Moss Stitch Headband.

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.

Stephanie Fall has an adorable pattern for a Moss Stitch Bow Headband, and a simple Moss Stitch Dishcloth is available on Ravelry from Mindy Hudson.

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 2 stitches and purl 2 stitches in each row before switching their order after two rows.