How to Knit Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone Knitting Stitch Tutorial Swatch
Mollie Johanson

How to Knit With Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone Knitting Stitch Sample on Large Needles
Mollie Johanson

Add warmth and texture to your knitting with herringbone stitch! Learn the simple process with step by step photos and easy instructions. This stitch resembles herringbone fabric and is common for home decor projects like pillows. When worked in the round, it's also great for accessories like hats and cowls. 

There are several variations of herringbone stitch, though most look nearly identical. To create this version of the stitch pattern, there's just one basic stitch for each row of a two-row repeat. That makes it especially easy to remember. 

Herringbone forms a tight, dense knitted fabric. When working this stitch you need to use knitting needles that are several sizes larger than what is recommended for your yarn. For example, the yarn in the sample swatch suggests size 7 to 9 needles, but the swatch uses size 11 needles. 

Before you try this stitch, it's helpful to be familiar with how to knit and purl two stitches together, as well as the difference between knitting in the front or the back of each stitch.

Knit Row: Work in the Back Loops

Knit Two Stitches Together Through the Back Loop
Mollie Johanson

Cast on any number of stitches. 

Knit Rows

Knit two stitches together in the back of the stitches, but don't let the stitches drop off the needle yet.

Knit Row: Let One Stitch Drop Off the Needle

Drop Only One Stitch Off the Hook
Mollie Johanson

Normally you would let both of the stitches you just knit drop from the needle. For herringbone stitch, drop only one stitch (the one closest to the end) off. 

Leave the second stitch on the needle and it becomes part of the next two stitches that you knit together. 

Repeat this as you work across the row: knit two together through the back, dropping only one stitch off. 

When you reach the end and have only one stitch left, slip the last stitch through the back of the stitch.

Purl Row: Purl Two Stitches Together

Purl Two Stitches Together
Mollie Johanson

Purl Rows

Purl two stitches together (purling as usual), but don't let the stitches drop off the needle.

Purl Row: Let One Stitch Drop Off the Needle

Drop Only One Stitch Off the Hook
Mollie Johanson

Just as with the knit row, only drop one stitch off the needle. The second stitch becomes part of the next two stitches to purl.

Repeat this as you work across the row: purl two together, dropping only one stitch off. 

When you reach the end and have only one stitch left, slip the last stitch purlwise.

Repeat the knit and purl rows to continue the pattern.

The Back of Herringbone Stitch

Back View of the Herringbone Knitting Swatch
Mollie Johanson

The front of the work creates a herringbone pattern, while the back looks like ridges or ribbing. While it isn't a reversible stitch, the back looks interesting and good enough to show on projects like scarves.

Knitting With Herringbone

Herringbone Knitting Stitch Tutorial Swatch
Mollie Johanson

Want to work herringbone stitch in the round? The process is similar, but with a twist. You'll need to knit every row and twist a stitch at the end of each round. 

After casting on an even number of stitches, join the ends and place a marker. 

Round 1: Knit two together (knitting as usual), letting only one stitch drop off the needle. 

Ending the round: When you reach the last stitch before the marker, slip the stitch briefly to remove the marker. Slip the stitch back. Knit the last two stitches together, letting only one stitch drop from the needle. Place the marker again. Twist the next stitch. 

Round 2: Knit two stitches together in the back of the stitches, letting only one stitch drop off the needle.

End the round just as you did at the end of round one, while still knitting through the back of the stitches. 

Repeat these two rounds to make your project! Looking for a beautiful pattern to give herringbone a go? Try Purl Soho's Big Herringbone Cowl or Tif Handknits' Heath Mits!