St st is the abbreviation for Stockinette stitch. Stockinette stitch is a very common knit fabric with a smooth side and a slightly rougher side. Worked flat, this is the fabric created by working a knit row as the right side row, followed by a purl row as the wrong side row. Worked in-the-round, this is the fabric created by knitting only. In hand knitting, it is the next-easiest fabric to garter fabric (knitting every row). In fabric it is called jersey. If created on a knitting machine (either flat or in the round), it is the easiest fabric to create. When we can create Stockinette is when we feel that we have become real knitters!
Stockinette stitch is with the knit stitches as the right side, and the purl stitches as the wrong side. Reverse Stockinette stitch is with the purl stitches as the right side, and the knit stitches as the wrong side. But both are created by working a knit row and a purl row when worked flat. Worked in the round, Stockinette is knitting every round.
How to work St st – Stockinette stitch:
Row 1 (RS): Knit
Row 2: Purl
Repeat Rows 1 and 2.
Worked in the tound:
Rnd 1: Knit
Repeat Rnd 1.
Characteristics of Stockinette and Reverse Stockinette stitch?
The Stockinette side is the smooth side and the bumpy, purl side is the Reverse Stockinette side. As a fabric, it is Stockinette if the knit, smooth, side is the right or public-facing side.
It is the nature of Stockinette and Reverse Stockinette to roll at the edges.
- Rows (or the vertical edges) roll in toward the Reverse Stockinette/purl side of the fabric.
- The cast on and bind off edges, or the stitches (horizontal edges) will roll toward the Stockinette/knit side.
It has become fairly common to allow this tendency to roll horizontally to create a rolled edge. It is simple to execute and makes use of the nature of the fabric.
In previous decades rolled hems were considered unfinished, so borders or bands were added to stockinette and Reverse Stockinette fabric to counteract this rolling characteristic. Front edges will roll, so borders or bands need to be added. Often bands or borders will “flip up” if the bands or border are not “weighty” enough to balance the natural characteristic.