Want to add some texture and a bit of sweetness to your knitting? Learn how to do honeycomb stitch! This easy stitch pattern is a combination of knit and slipped stitches and the result is a design that is certainly bee-friendly!
Another name for this stitch pattern is loop stitch, but there's another loop stitch pattern you can do too (which creates long loops of yarn), so the names can be confusing. Not to mention, the design in this doesn't look very loopy. Honeycomb stitch, however, describes the soft and subtle hexagonal texture that slipping stitches creates.
Alternating rows of all knitting with rows of knit and slipped stitches result in honeycomb on the front and a back that looks more like a cross between garter stitch and seed stitch. Because of this, the basic version of the stitch pattern works best when you knit flat. For those times when you want to knit in the round, you'll need to adapt the pattern and swap in purl stitches on the even rows.
You can knit the honeycomb stitch pattern on any odd number of stitches, so cast on some stitches for a swatch and give this a try!
Knit every stitch. (We told you this was easy!)
Knit 1. *Slip 1 stitch purlwise with the yarn in back. Knit 1. Repeat from * across the row.
If you haven't slipped stitches before, slide the tip of your right needle under the next stitch on the left needle as though you are going to purl the stitch. Be sure your working yarn stays at the back, as when working knit stitches. Move the stitch to your right needle without doing anything else to it. That's it!
As you work across the entire row, slipping and knitting the stitches, you should end up with a row that has stitches that tend to group in twos.
Knit every stitch.
Knit 2. *Slip 1 stitch purlwise with the yarn in back. Knit 1. Repeat from * across the row, ending with one more knit stitch.
The two knits at the beginning and end of this row are what create the staggered honeycomb effect.
Just like at the end of row 2, you should see the stitches grouped in sets of two.
Rows 1 and 3 are the right side of your knitting and rows 2 and 4 are the wrong side. By the time you finish row 4, if you flip your work over to start the next repeat, you'll see the pattern already starting to form.
Repeat rows 1 through 4 until your piece reaches the desired size. Here's the summarized and abbreviated version:
Row 1: K.
Row 2: K1. *Sl1 wyib. K1. Rep from *.
Row 3: K.
Row 4: K2. *Sl1 wyib. K1. Rep from * to last st. K1.
Because it's a simple repeat, it's easy to memorize this and knit while you're watching a movie or riding the train. The only thing to really keep track of is which row you're on, as it can be tricky to tell if you need to work row 2 or 4 after a knit row. Use a row counter so you always know which row you're on!
The longer horizontal stitches that form the lower curve on each row on the front side of your knitting come when your yarn is held in the back of the slipped stitches. It's amazing how one small change can alter the look of rows of basic knitting!
The back of honeycomb stitch still looks similar to garter stitch, but the texture is bumpier. You can use the front and back to your advantage by knitting a dish or face cloth with different sides for different purposes!
Another good thing about the honeycomb stitch pattern is that the edges don't curl like stockinette stitch. That makes it ideal for knitting items on which you don't want an extra border of stitches. And because it's simple, you can use it in situations when you might otherwise choose garter stitch. Just be sure to check your gauge because it will be a little different.
And if you want to change it up even more, try working this on larger needles for a more open look!