FAQ: What are twisted stitches?

There are two questions about twisted stitches that come up a lot from knitters who are working on Miette. What are they and why use them? Twisted stitches are exactly what they sound like. They’re stitches that have been twisted by being worked through the back loop so the legs cross instead of being open. You’ll most often run across twisted stitches in textured stitch patterns or ribbing patterns.


Ribbing can cause the legs of a normal stitch to spread farther apart than in stockinette, and many knitters don’t enjoy the appearance of that. On the left is normal, plain ribbing that was created using plain knits and purls. On the right is twisted ribbing. Twisted stitches twist the legs of a stitch which pulls the column of stitches in tight and prevents it from expanding like normal ribbing. Ribbing with twisted stitches tends to look neater than normal ribbing, but it also doesn’t stretch as much. This can be useful for a yarn that can stretch out of shape, like the cotton blends recommended for Miette.


And I can’t write about twisted stitches without writing about accidental twisted stitches. They’re a common mistake for beginner and self-taught knitters, typically caused by wrapping yarn in the wrong direction while purling. Unintentionally twisted stitches can create a striped look and will spoil features like eyelets. If you’ve ever noticed that your eyelets aren’t as large or your stockinette isn’t as smooth as the sample, this could be the culprit.


The easiest way to spot accidental twisted stitches is to stretch your knitting. Regular stockinette stretches evenly with the columns opening up, but twisted stitches prevent the columns from opening, so you get tight, compact columns instead.





9 responses to “FAQ: What are twisted stitches?”

  1. This is really good information, especially the part on how to spot them by stretching your knitting. I remember when I first started knitting and I would twist my stitches. It was so frustrating! I am one of those self taught knitters with the help of YouTube. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was a little girl but I had put it down and forgot everything when I picked it up again as an adult.

  2. Wendy

    So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong! I’m a self-taught knitter, and for years it’s always bugged me that my stockinette looked differently when knit flat than it did when knit in the round. I’ve asked other knitters and searched around the interwebs for an answer, but found nothing – ’till today! Now to figure out how to fix it…

    1. It sounds like it’s your purl technique if your stockinette looks right when working in the round. Try wrapping your yarn around your needle in the opposite direction of what you’ve been doing when you purl!

      1. Mariana

        wow. I have this same issue.
        thanks for the advice : )

  3. ellen

    Great post, I’m also self taught and made this mistake too. Funny thing tough, when I made my 3th sweather I discovered my mistake and now that sweater has 1 sleave with twistes stitches and the other sleave knitted the right way. It doesn’t bother me at all, no one ever noticed it, but I felt quite stupid at the time.

  4. Elaine

    Thank you for clear explanation. I’m nearly finished a Miette and love how the twisted rib works, so I’m glad I persisted with it.

  5. Aaargh, I can’t believe I’ve been knitting for almost 20 years and never noticed this mistake! It all makes so much sense now :-). Thanks Andi for this great post, finally I know why my stockinette looks so strange…

  6. Rochelle

    An advantage of twisting the K rib stitches intentionally is that the rib is more in relief

  7. Wow thanks for explaining this! I have been twisting wrong all along 🙁

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