January 11th, 2012

Linen Stitch

The Linen Stitch is a simple, two-row repeat that makes a dense, flat fabric that looks woven instead of knit.

Want to give it a try? Download the free Ravelry PDF, which includes a link to an instructional video on the Linen Stitch. (The video is also available at the bottom of this post.

For a little variation, here is the stitch knit in two-row stripes. Cool zig-zaggy look!

And here it is knit by holding two strands of yarn together as if they were one –

Maybe you already have ideas for projects using this stitch, but here are some of mine. Placemats, table runners, rugs…yes, all of my ideas seem to revolve around home decor.

Have fun!


  1. Staci,

    Wow that looks like fun. I will have to try that! Thanks!


    Comment by Betty — January 11, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

  2. Staci,
    We are building a new house and I have been looking for new kitchen placemats, now I know what I want to do. I will use this stitch and make my own :-)
    Thank you

    Comment by Sandy Morgan — January 11, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

  3. Hi Staci

    I LOVE the scarf you wear in this vdo! Is there a pattern for it that you can share?

    Thank you :)


    Comment by Vikky — January 12, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  4. Vickky – the shawl I’m wearing in this video is called Ishbel, and can be found here:

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 12, 2012 @ 10:38 am

  5. Staci, can this be done in the round?

    Comment by Strix — January 13, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

  6. Hi Strix – yes, this can be done in the round. You’d just have to rethink the wrong-side row to make every row a right-side round.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 14, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  7. Staci – what yarn (type and weight) did you use in the two stripe version? And the needle size? I know you said any yarn/needle size would work – but I’m a novice when it comes to picking out yarn.

    Comment by Laura — January 14, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  8. Hi Laura – in the striped sample, I used worsted-weight yarn and size 7 needles. Please understand that tension-wise, your mileage may vary!

    Also, in the solid (tan) color, I used bulky yarn and size 10.5 needles.

    Hope that helps!

    Comment by s t a c i — January 14, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  9. Great technique! Love your clear videos and instructions – huge help!


    Comment by Janet — January 15, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  10. FYI I was at Home Depot yesterday and the newest issue of COuntry Living has a feature on yarn and home decor – loved all the textures! Check it out if you get a chance!

    Comment by Vivian K — January 18, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  11. I look forward to trying the linen stitch. Mahalo!

    Comment by Nancy — January 18, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  12. Is there a “direction” that needs to be respected with the linen stitch? By that, I mean, if I make a scarf in it, do I need to do it lengthwise, or will it look just as good width-wise? TYVM

    Comment by Ellen — January 21, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  13. Hi Ellen – the direction you choose to knit is entirely personal preference. If i were you, I’d knit up a swatch with the yarn(s) I’m using, and make a decision about direction after seeing how it knits up.

    Good luck!

    Comment by s t a c i — January 22, 2012 @ 8:04 am

  14. Greetings Staci, Which seaming technique do you recommend for a purse/ side seam (Linen stitch) to attach a handle? By the way, thank you for all you do :) I for one, appreciate you.

    Comment by Mary — January 30, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  15. Hi Staci,

    This stitch really looks cool and I want to try. You advice to start with second row. When do I start with different colour yarn for zig zaggy pattern? Is it row 1 or 2 from written description?

    Thank you.

    Comment by Vilma — February 3, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  16. Hi Vilma – to work the striped Linen Stitch, work two rows in one color, then work the next two rows in the other color, and continue altering that same way. So the new color stripe always begins at Row 1 again.


    Comment by s t a c i — February 3, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  17. Thank you Staci for your terrific video turorials. The first one I did was two socks on two circular needles. (Can I attach a pic?) I loved doing that project! Your videos are like having my sister or my mom–my first knitting mentors– right at my side.

    Comment by Marilyn Luinstra — February 10, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  18. That is so pretty!

    Comment by Rachel Viosca — February 11, 2012 @ 10:42 am

  19. Hello Staci,
    Thanks so much for sharing this stitch, I am very excited to start on a bath mat in the zig zaggy combo. All of your videos are much appreciated.

    Comment by Claudia Gover — February 12, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  20. You know, watching one of your videos is like having a little visit with a friend!

    Comment by Susan — February 14, 2012 @ 8:12 am

  21. ??????…

    […]v e r y p i n k . c o m » Linen Stitch[…]…

    Trackback by ?????? — February 16, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  22. Stacy:

    This seems like it should be so easy, so I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I was working two rows one color and two rows a different color.
    So I’m knitting along, then I notice that on the wrong side, it’s bunching up. One side of the project is not as wide as the other. I have no idea how this is happening. I have torn out this project 5 times, and it keeps happening. Maybe you can offer some help.

    I have to fight the feeling to fling it across the room.

    Comment by Debbie — May 28, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  23. Debbie – are you keeping careful track of your rows? Like with a row counter or tally marks on a piece of paper? The pattern, as written should work out better than this. :)

    It sounds to me like you’re getting confused with what row you’re on, and you’re slipping the same stitch more than once. That would certainly cause bunching and uneven fabric.

    Without seeing your work myself, this is what I think is happening. Don’t give up – this stitch is worth it!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 28, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  24. Is it possible to Knit a Buttonhole into the pattern and if so how do I it?

    Also thank you for your Magic Loop Sock Class it was amazing for a new sock knitter

    Comment by C-Los — May 31, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

  25. For a tiny buttonhole in this stitch, you should be able to simply do a K2tog, YO…then pick up the pattern as set on the next row. For a larger buttonhole, you can BO the number of stitches required for the size of buttons you’re using, then use the backwards loop CO to CO the same number of stitches on the next row, then pick up the pattern again on the third row.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — June 1, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  26. Found your linen stitch last night (past 2am) and had to come ack today and revisit. Your patterns and directions are great. It’s so nice to have a concise explaination (even with the mistakes, cause we all make them) and mental picture of how our projects will turn out. Now, that my mouth has carried me away, I need to shut up and start knitting. I’m sure placemats (for Christmas presents) are in my future. You have given me lots of ideas about that yarn in my stash. Thanks, I’ll be looking for more of your videos.

    Comment by Linda Howard — July 2, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  27. I love this! I wonder….how would this stitch work on a ruffled hat brim using worsted weight yarn…..too stiff?

    Comment by Mimi Pyne — July 7, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  28. Hey Staci,

    I was wondering if this pattern would be good pattern to use if I wanted to do a blanket? I know that you said it is a great pattern for “rouund the house”. But have you tried this as a blanket or afgahn? if so what are your thoughts?

    Huge Fan!!!

    Comment by Amanda — July 30, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  29. Hi Amanda – I suggest you knit up a swatch for yourself, using the yarn and needle size you’d like to use for a blanket, and see how you like it. I can imagine this stitch making a great blanket with the right yarn and needle combination!

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — July 31, 2012 @ 6:54 am

  30. Hello Staci,
    Thank you for your great video of this stitch… and for the buttonhole instructions I will need for my project. I fell in love with the Linen Stitch so much that I frogged a sweater I was doing and began in Linen Stitch. The stitch goes slowly compared to other stitches, but offers thickness and uncurling flatness that I so appreciate.
    I had trouble converting from RS to WS with this stitch, so I swatched to knit in the round, and changed the pattern so I can steek it to a cardigan afterwards.
    So far, so good… ‘cept for the part where I need to increase and decrease for shaping. The swatch I worked on last night looks as though I could have a problem. Am I barking up the wrong tree with increases and decreases? It is nearly KNITTING TIME and I am to the point where I need to begin decreases.
    Any info you can offer will be appreciated beyond words.
    Thank you again for all you do for us.

    Comment by MJ — August 27, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  31. Hi MJ – I’m afraid you will need to test knit decreases in linen stitch yourself, as I’ve never tried it, and I’m not comfortable giving advice without putting rubber to the road. Good luck with your sweater!

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — August 27, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  32. I love this stitch and can’t wait to try it. The video was was great and very informative. What green one button sweater do you have on the mannequin? Thank you. Beth

    Comment by Beth — September 6, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  33. Hi Beth – that green sweater is loosely based on this pattern:

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — September 7, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  34. Hello Staci,
    After testing increases and decreases (in what little time I’ve had lately), I have NOT found a suitable decrease I like yet. Everything has fumbled the beautiful smooth texture of the Linen Stitch. If I find a decrease I’m pleased with, I will let you and your readers know.
    I have found that KFB works perfectly as an increase. Because the Linen Stitch is a two stitch repeat, the two new stitches work with the pattern easily. Staying ‘in pattern’ is NOT a problem at all.
    Thank you again for your help. Have a great day!

    Comment by MJ — September 9, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  35. Sorry Staci and readers… I should have said knit 2 front and back. A single KFB only increases the stitch count by ONE stitch, which will not work with the Linen Stitch. By making 2KFB, the pattern will stay in step.
    Have a great day!

    Comment by MJ — September 9, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  36. […] 4:47pmURL:Embed:To download free written instructions for this technique, visit my website here: http://verypink.com/2012/01/11/linen-stitch/ This entry was posted in How to Knit, Knitting Videos, Very Pink Knits Youtube Knitting Videos. […]

    Pingback by Knack Pins | Knitting Help – Linen Stitch — October 13, 2012 @ 8:44 am

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    Comment by Noe — January 8, 2013 @ 12:41 am

  38. Hello Stacy, Love your videos and all of your instructions and patterns. I have been trying to get the “zig Zag” affect doing the linen stitch in two colors. Mine doesn’t look like yours at all. I am doing 2 rows of one color and then 2 rows of the next color. What am I doing wrong?

    Comment by verna bohnert — January 15, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  39. Verna – thank you for the note. If you’re changing color in linen stitch every two rows, you’re doing it exactly as I did. My guess is that it’s the colors you’re using that are making it look different than the swatch I knit…? That’s my best guess, without seeing your work.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 15, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

  40. Hi Staci,
    is there a way to make this stitch reversible. I have seen a girl wearing a beautiful scarf that looked like knitted in linen stitch (2 colours)… but then wouldn’t it look different on the 2 sides?or is there a similar stitch which will look reversible great for scarves?
    thanks Fede

    Comment by fede — January 16, 2013 @ 3:41 am

  41. Hi Fede – yes, the back of Linen Stitch does look different from the front, but it’s not bad. If you do want two “right sides” for a scarf, the solution is to work Linen Stitch in the round, then seam the top and bottom edges of the scarf.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — January 16, 2013 @ 8:24 am

  42. I’ve used this stitch before-but not with your ease! I am really impresed with your flow. Zip zip and zip. Very nice. One more thing for me to work toward.

    Comment by Ruth — January 22, 2013 @ 9:51 am

  43. I have not figured out how to do the bind off correctly. When I do so, I end out with too many stitches on the right needle.
    I’d LOVE to see a video. I made a great piece using four colors and I want to bind off the best I can.
    Pleease help.
    Thanks, Jolyn

    Comment by Jolyn — February 3, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

  44. Ah ha, I think I see how to bind off.
    I would write it like this:
    K1, S1, BO1,
    *K1, BO 1, S1, BO 1
    repeat to end
    That seems to be working.

    Comment by Jolyn — February 3, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

  45. gan izin kopi artikelnya boleh?…thanks

    Comment by google — February 8, 2013 @ 9:44 am

  46. Hi Stacy , I was just woundering if you have any tutorials on table placemat.because i would like to learn how to make them please and thank you

    Comment by Michelle — February 10, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

  47. Michelle – you don’t really need a tutorial or even a pattern to work placemats in this stitch. Just cast-on an even number of stitches as wide as you’d like the placemats, then work until you’re happy with the length. That’s it!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — February 10, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

  48. Hi!

    I’ve been knitting coasters in this stitch and they’re just gorgeous! I knitted one with 2 colors, so I could get the zig zag pattern, but now I’m having trouble on how to bind off with those 2 colors! I’m new to knitting, thank you! I love your videos!

    Comment by Carol — March 20, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  49. Thanks for all of your tutorials., I’ve just discovered them last night. I’ve started knitting again after many years and wanted to learn new techniques. Your videos have helped a great deal! I can’t wait to try the linen stitch. Thanks again!

    Comment by Kathy — March 23, 2013 @ 6:30 am

  50. I just added this site to my google reader, excellent stuff. Cannot get enough!

    Comment by Karma Bolton — April 9, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  51. I worked up my swatch but am having trouble figuring out how to count the stitches per inch because I’m not accustomed to seeing the stitches this way. Any suggestions or is there a video somewhere? I cannot find anything online about this. TIA!!

    Comment by Julie — April 10, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

  52. I would like to knit 6 placemats in the linen stitch using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease yarn (Medium Worsted Weight 3.5 oz/100g skein – 207 yds) Approximately how many skeins of yarn would this require.

    Comment by Pat Stahl — May 10, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

  53. Would you possibly be able to explain how to work this pattern/stitch with increases and decreases while maintaining the fluidity of the stutch?
    I have been attempting to do a bow tie and it has been rather frustrating to have to pull out that often and start anew with this type of pattern.

    Comment by Eric — May 11, 2013 @ 12:21 am

  54. Thank you SO much for explaining this stitch so well, it had eluded me until I found your post! I am making a small rug (bathmat size) for a nursery in this. My question is, I’d like to use this as a border. I’m doing a Celtic braid across the length and want to use this to keep it flat and give it heft. I’ll be using three strands of Lily Sugar’n’Cream cotton worsted. How do you suggest doing this?

    Comment by Jen — June 5, 2013 @ 8:42 am

  55. Hi Jen – I’m not sure I understand your question, so I’ll kind of give a general answer on how to use this as a border. Cast-on, and do your first several rows in Linen Stitch, for a bottom border. Then work the Celtic Braid pattern, keeping several stitches at each end in Linen Stitch (for left and right borders). After you finish the Braid pattern, work another several rows in Linen Stitch for a top border.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — June 5, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  56. Hi Staci!

    I love this tutorial and I want to use it to make on idea of a purse but you don’t provide how to make increases. I’ve searched on the web for videos and written instructions but I’m not really coming up w/ anything. Could you help plz?

    Comment by Michelle W. — June 10, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

  57. Hi Michelle – I would need to write a pattern for that…thank you for the suggestion!
    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — June 11, 2013 @ 6:15 am

  58. Hi Staci,
    This is a beautiful. I did a swatch with two colours and the effect was stunning. Can this stitch be used to knit a cardigan?

    Comment by Florence Lohnes — August 5, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  59. I really like this pattern ! Do you think this would make a good iPad cover/case? It looks quite thick which I guess could be protective. Have you ever designed an iPad cover ? Many Thanks ! Mim (in Wiltshire England)

    Comment by Mim — August 17, 2013 @ 10:41 am

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    Comment by Trista — December 9, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  61. Hi, staci how could I download the video

    Comment by donna — March 14, 2014 @ 3:28 am

  62. Hi, how could I download this video

    Comment by donna — March 14, 2014 @ 3:28 am

  63. Donna – this is a YouTube video, and made for watching online. They are not set up to download.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — March 14, 2014 @ 7:07 am

  64. Could you make a video for how to make it, please show how to make the 2nd picture up there

    Comment by donna — March 15, 2014 @ 3:25 am

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  66. I’m attempting a linen stitch scarf in three colors without fringe (it’s for my son). However…The first three or four rows look great, but then I see Vs showing up on the right side. When I have seen this scarf made up, I don’t see any Vs; only the the slipped stitch yarn. I have ripped this out several times (and we’re talking 450 stitches!) Are Vs supposed to show up on the right side? Thanks for your help. Love your site!

    Comment by Margaret Smith — April 15, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

  67. It would be great to be able to print the pattern without all the comments.
    Your videos are duper and I really appreciate all your help.
    Thank you

    Comment by Carol R iffle — May 3, 2014 @ 7:43 am

  68. Carol – there aren’t any instructions for this stitch on the website (where you just commented), instead, the instructions are available in a link to a free Ravelry download (no comments there). The link says “free Ravelry download”, or you can download it here from the Ravelry page: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/linen-stitch

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — May 3, 2014 @ 7:48 am

  69. Hi Staci,

    I’ve learned so much from your tutorials, so well done, and generous to
    share with folks. Very much appreciated.
    I would like to make a baby blanket using the linen stich, but I noticed in the picture that the right side of work seems to be neater looking than the left side of work. Is there something I can do to make them look the same.
    Also thinking about doing an icord cast on and cast off for the ends, and wondered if you thought that would work well, or should I use another style?
    Thank you for all your help.

    Comment by Sue — June 29, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

  70. I want to do the zig zag pattern. I don’t think I am following you correctly. Color A knit row and pearl row (twice) ? Then repeat with color B? I have the linen stitch down. I am just a newbie and don’t understand the terminology correctly.

    Love it!


    Comment by Stacey — September 22, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

  71. Stacey – to work the “zig zag pattern” in two colors, just knit Rows 1 and 2 in the same color (as described in the free download), then switch colors and work Rows 1 and 2 again. Keep switching colors every two rows.

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — September 22, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

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    Comment by compound bow — October 3, 2014 @ 11:03 am

  73. Hi,
    I can’t find the pdf for the written instructions with the bind-off instructions. The links provided just take me round and round and do not yield a pdf. Please help!

    Comment by Carole — October 6, 2014 @ 10:54 am

  74. Carole – the text in the post that says “free Ravelry PDF” is the link. Here is the link directly to Ravelry:

    S t a c i

    Comment by s t a c i — October 6, 2014 @ 10:58 am

  75. Just curious how you would suggest to weave in the ends on linen stitch.

    Comment by Krista — November 18, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

  76. Question about tension – you say this is a nice dense fabric. Mine feels big and loose. I wonder about the yarn going in front and back of the needle – should I be giving it a bit of a tug to make sure there is no extra slack in the yarn when I move it back and forth, to help keep the fabric dense.

    Love the look of this fabric. I’m excited to do some things with it. Thanks for the great tutorials! Mary

    Comment by Mary — November 30, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

  77. Question: are you actually knitting the knit and purling the purl on the previous row or are you knitting/purling the slipped stitch? Thanks.

    Comment by Ingrid Simmons — December 2, 2014 @ 11:05 pm

  78. Staci, because the linen stitch is compressed, is there a rule of thumb for choosing needle size when you’re doing several rows of say, stockinette, and then doing linen stitch for a while, then switching back to stockinette? Or do you just have to test swatch it? A pattern I was looking at uses US 10 for the stockinette and 13 for the linen. Thanks.

    Comment by Holly — March 8, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  79. Hello Staci,
    I learned to make socks with your videos. I am trying to make a linen stitch just for the toe to make it more durable but cannot make it neat where I decrease. Making cuff down socks and decreasing toe by 6 stitches every other round, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Valerie — March 27, 2015 @ 4:54 pm

  80. I am having difficulty with linen stitch bind off
    Do you know where I can find a video of it? Took one of your classes at gauge and loved it!

    Comment by j berbas — April 25, 2015 @ 8:50 am

  81. What yarn would be best for this placemat pattern. New to knitting and still learning the different yarns and what is best used for certain patterns.

    Comment by Sandy Takacs — August 11, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

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