The question of the knit stitch(s)…

The following is an excerpt from a very interesting post by my friend at

learnToKnit19b lion brand image

“a stitch by any other name is still just a loop…

a few days ago a question was posted on the gettin’ it pegged! loom knitters clique facebook page that got my mind whirling:

“Do you prefer the true Knit Stitch, the U-Knit Stitch, the Flat Stitch or the E-Wrap (Single) Stitch? I think I prefer the U-Stitch.”

it is often said in needle knitting that there are only two stitches:  knits and purls.  everything else is a variation on these two stitches.  i contend something a little different:  that there aren’t actually two different stitches at all, but two variations on the same stitch:  a loop…”

Please take a moment to pop on over to Rowena’s site and read her intriguing article… then come back here and read my response.   I was just going to post in her comments, but I figured that this is such an interesting topic that it deserved it’s own blog post! 🙂  So go ahead….mosey on over and read, read, read!


Interesting idea isn’t it? …and one that I’m sure many people will agree with.  I do myself on most of the points, except a few. 😉

First of all, the e-wrap can’t be lumped in with the knit stitches and generically called a “loop” when really, this stitch is actually the “Twisted Knit Stitch” or “knitting into the back loop” in knitting terminology.  It is created differently and has a different texture than a knit stitch.

As for the others, I believe that the “true knit” stitch, which is really the method of physically working and lifting the stitch on the front of the peg and the U-stitch can be used interchangeably….it all comes down to a possible matter of gauge difference, but the use of either of these can really be left up to the knitter.

The flat stitch, however, is a super tight stitch which has it’s own uses and (in my opinion) should really be avoided unless the pattern specifically states to use this particular stitch.  Yes, the yarn wraps itself around each other to create the same “loops” as in a knit stitch (which it still IS essentially), but it is not the same in practical use as a knit stitch during loom knitting.

Do Loom Knitters need to stand up with confidence, take ownership of their knitting ability and make some of their own decisions in what methods to use as they work through patterns where none are specified?  YES!  I highly agree! 🙂  Do some patterns require specific methods of knitting in order to get the projects to turn out like the original?  The answer is: Yes again. 😉

Thank you so much, Rowena…and Stasia, who asked this question in the first place, lol…for this informative and very tasty dialog on the merits of standardization of loom knitting stitches!  We do need this to happen, but we also need to be fully aware of what those standards should include, combine, or eliminate. 😉

Would you like to carry on the discussion??  Do you have your own idea of what  loom knitting patterns and techniques should be and include?  Pop in a comment below!


About gettinitpegged

Whipping up whimsy with looms & string! :)
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17 Responses to The question of the knit stitch(s)…

  1. isela says:

    Great topic, one that hits my email all the time too. I am with you on this one Bethany. I believe the confusion arises due to the fact that as loom knitters we have grown and learned so much in the recent years. As we learn, we have changed the way we do things on the looms, unfortunately, the “history” has been recorded in patterns (some of them even my own) and instructions. Although we are striving to get a nice standardization going, it has been a bit complicated to achieve. However, I think we are moving in the right direction. I still remember back 9 years ago when there was no Purl stitch in the loom knitting world–yes, there was none! Then it came about and a whole new world opened up.

    We are still learning and as we do this we will encounter bumps along the road, the key is to keep moving forward.

  2. gettinitpegged says:

    You said it, Isela! 🙂 We are progressing nicely, but there are inconsistencies when we deal with the terms along found the road that lead to here. I have some patterns myself that need to be re-written to bring them up to today’s terminology. If we only had extra time to be able to get it all done in, lol…or a private loom knitting secretary! 😉


  3. rowena___. says:

    actually, i made exactly the same points about the e-wrap and about the true knit stitches:

    “the stitch most commonly used in loom knitting is referred to as the e-wrap stitch, but to needle knitters it is just a twisted knit stitch or KTBL (Knit Thru the Back Loop).”


    “the stitch that loomers call the flat stitch is just a plain knitted stitch as in all other forms of knitting. whether or not you create this stitch by flat wrapping, or U-wrapping, or some other wrapping method, what you end up with is a knitted stitch.”

    however, i disagree that the “flat stitch” is a different stitch. it is exactly the same stitch when finished as the “true knit” stitch, it is just the method of performing it that varies. what you are doing, essentially, is changing the gauge of the knitted fabric. but not the stitch itself.

  4. gettinitpegged says:

    Hi Rowena! 🙂 Glad you commented!

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood your comment about the twisted knit stitch…I thought in reading your post that you were saying that it doesn’t matter what stitch you use in a project as long as it is a knit. I was simply pointing out that even in knitting patterns there is a differentiation between these knit stitches. Please see your quote below:

    “needle knitting patterns do not state “make this kind of knit stitch”, they tell you to knit, and you then knit according to your preferred method—continental (this is the method i use), or english, or eastern/combined, or backward, or one-handed, or whatever. same with purling–a pattern doesn’t tell you to form a purl stitch, it tells you to purl–verb, not noun.”

    Also, in creating a different gauge with what knit stitch you use, you are going to get results that might not be what you intended in the finished project…especially when size is an issue…your quote below:

    “the method you use to create a stitch is really not critical except as it pertains to achieving the look you want.” …which is why the different gauged stitches are necessary. 😉

    I don’t wish to be argumentative…just giving you my thoughts.


  5. Brenda Myers says:

    I’ve been working with a representative from Simplicity Creative Group regarding another new book Boye is creating for their new line of looms. During one of our discussions, I emphasized the need for standardization and told her that Isela Phelps would be the best person to head up such a project. At the time the rep was getting ready to attend the TNNA (The National Needlework Association) trade show. Afterward, she send me this hopeful message:
    “I was at TNNA this weekend and spoke to several people regarding standardizing the loom abbreviations and I think that the Craft Yarn Council is going to get behind this.”
    Maybe this will be a start.

    Since you like the “U-knit stitch”, originally called the “u-wrap knit stitch”, you might enjoy reading some history behind this stitch on one of my blog posts from January 6, 2007: U-wrap knit stitch revisited

  6. rowena___. says:

    ah, i see how my post could be confusing, thank you for taking the time to point that out. the difference as i see it is that when a needle pattern (or a machine pattern) wants you to twist the stitch, it will state that, using common terminology: “knit thru the back loop”, or “purl thru the back loop”. but i do still stand by the notion that the terms “knit” and “purl” dictate actions, not stitches.

    the point you make about gauge is valid. what i should have said is that the stitch formation method matters only in terms of creating a finished surface. cables, lace, etc. naturally if what you are making needs to fit a certain way, then the gauge must be accurate but that still has nothing to do with the stitch formation itself, as it is possible to create a knitted item to gauge even more accurately on a loom than on needles.

    there is some discussion amongst needle knitters that a third stitch should be considered, and that is the yarn over. i am undecided on that question, although i’m leaning toward the “not a separate stitch” camp due to the fact that it is nearly always re-absorbed into the knitting on a following row with a decrease.

    i do appreciate you taking the time to respond, you have given me much to think about and the discussion helps to clarify things in my mind. without people willing to discuss such mundane issues so deeply, the art of knitting becomes stagnant and loses its vitality. i do not intend for my remarks to be argumentative and i hope that others will join the discussion as well.

  7. rowena___. says:

    coming back with a few more thoughts!

    forming the knit stitch on the loom by flat knitting is much the same as knitting tighter on knitting needles, or dialing the tension up on a machine. it performs the same function. and i think that is valid. knitters often have to make do with whatever tools they have, and needle knitters often find themselves having to adjust the tension on their knitting to make up for not having the size needles they would normally use to get correct gauge. this is especially true for knitters working with needles of different materials–knitters used to wooden or bamboo needles often have to adjust their tension markedly when using metal needles and vice verse.

    it is not as straight forward on a machine as it might seem, because the weight put on the worked fabric varies according to the knitter. even on a machine the knitter has to do a gauge swatch and adjust the weights and tensions accordingly.

    who knew the topic of loops could be so broad? 🙂

  8. While working/researching loom knitting and talking with many new loom knitters I have found that main concern is lack of standardization and consistency among patterns and conversation. Each designer refers to the knit stitch and doesn’t clarify the type of knit. I believe that there is a place for each of the knit stitches, I use the u-stitch doing cables, but I use the true knit stitch for sample stitch patterns. But I like the look of the single stitch for some projects. I really believe that we as the loom knitting community we need a “loomipedia”, a resource that can be used by the designers and knitters with ease. Sorry, about the soap box, I really do think all the knit stitches have a place and I can’t wait to see where the loom knitting community goes in the future.

  9. gettinitpegged says:

    Wow, Brenda! This is fantastic news for the looming world! 🙂 I wonder if there is a time frame available that they’re thinking for the completion of these standards…also, if they have the correct person for the job! Someone…or someoneS who have worked long and hard on being accurate and instructive in these matters should definitely be at the head of that project…as you say, Isela would be the perfect person to get a hold of. 🙂 I’m really excited to hear that the knitting/crochet world is taking us loomers seriously! 😉

    I have recently visited that very page of yours, Brenda, lol! I linked to it in the gettinitpegged facebook page when we were originally discussing this issue over there…it’s a very detailed description! Thanks for mentioning that!

  10. gettinitpegged says:

    Rowena…you said it! 😀 This seemingly simple topic has lots of twists and turns, lol. It’s good to bounce ideas off one another to help strengthen our own skills and bring us all more singularly minded in the end. 🙂


  11. gettinitpegged says:

    No soap boxes here, Stasia…we’re all on the same plane, I believe. 🙂 Your goals are very applicable to our needs as loomers for the future….so keep doing what you’re doing!
    Did you see Brenda’s comment about the yarn council possibly getting behind this project? Pretty cool indeed! 🙂


  12. ChrisB says:

    I agree with the first comment about a whole new world opened up . It still is evolving. I see it as even as a newbie. Now there is Loomchet, too!

  13. gettinitpegged says:

    You are so right, Chris! Who would have ever thought that we could crochet on our looms???!

    Thanks for commenting! 🙂


  14. Renee says:

    The issue of whether the flat knit is a separate stitch is an important one for loom knitters. Because we do not have the option of changing needle sizes mid-project, being able to change gauge is very important to us. In fact, all of the knit stitches, as well as the purl, are an underused tool for shaping fabric on our looms. I do not think we should be boxed up with how “it is done in needle knitting”, because we are not needle knitting. The knit stitch, e-wrap, flat knit, and purl are all ways of shaping our loom knit fabric, and they are important to a loom knitter in an entirely different way than a needle knitter. While much of the two crafts are similar, loom knitting has its own unique and special attributes.

  15. gettinitpegged says:

    What a wonderful way of stating things, Renee! 🙂 We do spend so much time comparing ourselves to needle knitting that we tend to forget that our craft really is in its own category. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject! 🙂

  16. Amanda says:

    Hi just wondered what the best Stitch be for a baby blanket which I’m trying on the circular loom. Thanks

  17. Hi Amanda 🙂

    If you are referring to which *knit* stitch to use, as is the focus of this blog post, then I would say it’s really going to be your personal preference. 😉 But I will say that I would lean more towards the true knit stitch or the U-stitch, rather than the flat stitch. Here’s another article about the differences between all stitches:

    If you’re just wondering about finding a great pattern for making a baby blanket, well, there are about a bazillion good ones out there, lol! 😉 Here’s a search which pulled up quite a few ones that I’m sure you can’t go wrong with:

    Hope this helps!

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