Basic knitted fabrics
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Basic knitted fabrics are so fundamental that some types have been adopted as part of the language of knitting, similar to techniques such as yarn over or decrease. Examples include stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch, garter stitch, seed stitch, faggoting, and tricot. In some cases, these fabrics appear differently on the right side (as seen when making the stitch) than on the wrong side (as seen from the other side, when the work is turned).
Stockinette/stocking stitch and reverse stockinette stitchEdit
Stockinette stitch (in UK, Australia, New Zealand etc., stocking stitch) is the most basic knitted fabric; every stitch (as seen from the right side) is a knit stitch. In the round, stockinette stitch is produced by knitting every stitch; by contrast, in the flat, stockinette stitch is produced by knitting and purling alternate rows.
Stockinette-stitch fabric is very smooth and each column ("wale") resembles a stacked set of "V"'s. It has a strong tendency to curl horizontally and vertically because of the asymmetry of its faces.
Reverse stockinette stitch is produced in the same way as stockinette, except that the purl stitches are done on the right side and the knit stitches on the wrong side. In the round, reverse stockinette stitch is produced by purling every stitch.
Garter stitch, also known as the knit stitch, is the most basic form of welting (as seen from the right side). In the round, garter stitch is produced by knitting and purling alternate rows. By contrast, in the flat, garter stitch is produced by knitting every stitch (or purling every stitch, though this is much less common).
In garter-stitch fabrics, the "purl" rows stand out from the "knit" rows, which provides the basis for shadow knitting. Garter-stitch fabric has significant lengthwise elasticity and little tendency to curl, due to the symmetry of its faces.
Seed stitch (called moss stitch in the UK, Australia, New Zealand etc.) is the most basic form of a basketweave pattern; knit and purl stitches alternate in every column ("wale") and every row ("course"). In other words, every knit stitch is flanked on all four sides (left and right, top and bottom) by purl stitches, and vice versa.
Seed/moss-stitch fabrics lie flat; the symmetry of their two faces prevents them from curling to one side or the other. Hence, it makes an excellent choice for edging, e.g., the central edges of a cardigan. However, seed stitch is "nubbly", not nearly as smooth as stockinette/stocking stitch.
Like most lace fabrics, faggoting has little structural strength and deforms easily, so it has little tendency to curl despite being asymmetrical. Faggoting is stretchy and open, and most faggoting stitches look the same on both sides, making them ideal for garments like lacy scarves or stockings.
Tricot is a special case of warp knitting, in which the yarn zigzags vertically, following a single column ("wale") of knitting, rather than a single row ("course"), as is customary. Tricot and its relatives are very resistant to runs, and are commonly used in lingerie.