Loop Stitch

At left, one repeat of Loop Stitch. At right, forming a loop to make a stitch (right hand removed)
Sarah E. White

Loop stitch is a really interesting, fun way to add a completely different look to your knit fabric. It involves making elongated stitches every few rows so that those long loops become the focal point of the fabric.

It's fun to use for cleaning projects and fun accessories, and once you get the hang of the technique, it's pretty easy.

Working Loop Stitch

Loop Stitch is more of a technique that a formal stitch pattern. It works on any number of stitches and can be worked as often as you like across the knit fabric, remembering that the pattern stitch part is worked on the wrong side of the knitting.

Rows 1-4: Knit.

Row 5: (wrong side) *Hold the yarn over your index finger and wrap the yarn around your middle finger, forming a loop around the middle finger (or do whatever you need to do to make a loop of the size you want). Knit the first stitch, but don't take it off the needle. Slide the new stitch to the left-hand needle and knit along with the old stitch, through the backs of both loops. Repeat from * across.

Row 6: Knit each stitch through the back loop.

Repeat these rows for pattern. You can also knit the loop rows closer together to make a denser fabric of loops, or even alternate working the loops on the wrong side and the right side so that you get loops on both sides.

Patterns Using Loop Stitch

We used Loop Stitch on the Loopy Washcloth, which is a nice spa-inspired project that's scrubby but not in a scratchy way. You could make this any size you like or even make it big enough to wrap around your hand and then sew it into a loop for a simple scrubby mitt-like cloth.

If you want to explore this stitch more, check out the Loop Stitch Boa from Debbie Bliss and this Loop Stitch tea cozy from a 1937 knitting book. The boa pattern is no longer live, but we saw in one of the patterns notes that the original was worked from side to side on 135 stitches. You could also work it the short way across on 12 to 20 stitches, depending on the size of your yarn and the desired width of your scarf. Work the loops as often as you like for a really dense look or less loopy if you prefer. This would also be fun as a cowl.

The Loop Stitch Collar by Sarah Hatton is found in the book, but the picture should give you an idea if you want to improvise a pattern (or get the book; it's a good one).

While the pattern link isn't working anymore, the Loop Scarf is a great inspirational piece. Just work long loops along one edge of a Garter Stitch scarf. Lara Neel's Loop Stitch Duster pattern is no longer available, either, but you get the idea from the picture that it has loops on one side for dusting and Garter Stitch on the back of the hand.

We also found a crochet pattern for Loop Stitch Rugs, which could be converted to knitting. We like the idea of working chevron stripes―or even straight stripes― alternating a plain cotton and Loop Stitch. So many great ideas and you are only limited by your imagination. Wouldn't it be fun as the cuff of a mitten or a sock, too?