My stockinette stitch looks funny

I learned to knit as a child, and have recently returned to knitting after a 30+ year hiatus. I’m having trouble with my stockinette stitch – instead of V’s, I’m getting columns of “half V’s” alternating with what looks like a straight line. I can see that the missing half of the V is just very tight, so that over many rows it seems to form a straight line. What am I doing?!? I know I’m not knitting into the back loop. This problem happens to a greater or lesser degree with every yarn I’ve tested, including wool-bamboo blend, merino sock yarn, and a merino superwash worsted. Has anybody else had this problem? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Are you knitting every row, or knit 1 row, purl 1 row? Knitting every row produces garter stitch, whereas alternating knit and purl rows give you the stockinette stitch. Look at Knit and Purl to see what the stitches look like.


Does the back of the stockinette look all right – that is, like rows of alternating horizontal “smiles” and “frowns?”

If so, you’re probably doing it right. Some yarns, because of the fiber or the way they’re spun, do create that slightly cockeyed effect, with one leg of the V slanting more than the other. (I’ve noticed this mostly with tightly spun cottons and yarns with a shiny finish.) As long the rows are straight and the size of the stitches consistent, the finished product should be fine.

If you’re in the mood for experimenting, try doing a swatch with a larger needle to loosen up your stitches. Also, try knitting combined style, which gives some people a more even result. (There’s a video on this site.)

It’s not you, but the yarn.

Yes, yes, that’s exactly it. The second picture looks exactly like my stockinette stitch, and my yarns are not plied. Thank you so much – and my husband thanks you as well. I’ve been driving him crazy with my obsessing about this.

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I’ve wondered about this and figured it was the yarn, but never saw this! Cool!

That is a fantastic article. My current project is turning out with the |/|/ stockinette, and I actually really like the look of it. I figured it was because this is my first project knitting Continental, but it’s also my first project with wool. I’m almost sorry its supposed to be felted!

Thank you for the link, very cool!

WOW! I am learning so much here!!! :happydance:

Hi. I am also trying to figure out why I have a vertical line on the left side column of my “v” when I stitch in stockinette, like this: l /. I tried linking to the article posted by janelanespaintbrush, saying “It’s not you but the yarn.”, but it comes up blank. Is it the yarn? I am using a superwash merino wool by Cascade.

Also, I have tried adjusting the tension every which way and trying differing knitting methods, and it doesn’t seem to change my problem.
Thanks for any help!

It’s probably not the tension it’s the ply. You can see a couple different yarns that create that effect.

Jan in CA, thank you for saving my brain the HA of trying to figure out how to fix this problem, which, it turns out, is not a problem. The article was very helpful. I still wish I had the regular “v”, but I will get used to this, now that I know it’s “normal”. I am using Cascade Yarns- Longwood. It’s 100% superwash extra fine merino wool. It looks just like the multi-strand yarns at the bottom of the article. Thank you again!

You’re welcome! Please stay around and share your knowledge and projects! :hug:

I just wanted to thank you for sharing this article! I am a beginner knitter and was also wondering why my stockinette stitch doesn’t look right! Thanks again! You saved my nerves tonight :grin: