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.
Since there is a 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 of the fabric.
Moss vs. Seed Stitch
The moss stitch is also sometimes called the American moss stitch. That's because there is confusion in some 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 repeats. On the other hand, the seed stitch only has one row of those repeats.
For a lot of patterns, you can work moss stitch instead of seed stitch. The gauge should be pretty much the same for both 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 1 and 2: *Knit one, purl one. Repeat from * across.
- Rows 3 and 4: *Purl one, knit one. Repeat from * across.
Repeat these four rows for the pattern.
Reading the Moss Stitch
The moss stitch gives you a great opportunity to learn how to read your knitting. This is a valuable skill that allows you to 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 V's—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. For instance, you can find a pattern for a simple moss stitch lap afghan, which is super comfy to curl up with.
When it comes to accessories, you'll find endless projects to choose from. Halldora J has a great simple moss stitch hat on Ravelry, and another cute hat is available from Drops Design. Try the easy moss stitch scarf at From Crook to Hook or go to A Common Thread for an adorable moss stitch bow headband pattern. If you'd like to stitch some simple fingerless mitts using moss stitch, Creative Yarn has a fun pattern.
Isabell Kraemer has a lovely shrug pattern that actually uses double moss stitch. That is a variation where you knit two stitches and purl two stitches in each row before switching their order after two rows.
For your home, you might want to make a simple moss stitch dishcloth, which is available on Ravelry from Mindy Hudson. You'll find that this stitch has amazing scrubbing power! Or, you can make a moss stitch french press cozy with a pattern from Rachael Kay, which is also a free Ravelry download.