Which Do You Prefer Stockinette or Reverse Stockinette

Which Do You Prefer?

When it comes to knitted fabric, which do you prefer? The knit side or the purl side? Do stripes affect your choice?

Knitters and Non-Knitters – Which Do You Prefer?

For striped garments, my experience has been that most knitters prefer to see the knit-side of plain knitting. And non-knitters prefer the purl-side.

Purl Soho put out a simple cowl pattern called the Newsprint Cowl. It’s a circularly knit tube with two rows of light color yarn and one row of dark color. And they seem to show that the reverse stockinette side (or the purl-side) is the correct public-facing side.

First of all, I think the colors that they chose make both sides look like newsprint. Especially with the 2:1 ratio of stripes.

Further, the garment is loose and long enough that both sides show when it’s worn anyway. And they also tag this as a reversible garment.

Finally, the 2:1 ratio of light-to-dark stripes also evens out the distribution of purl-bump rows on the purl-side.

Snug Cowl Gaitor Reverse Stockinette 01-17-22-01

It appears as though there is a single row of each color when viewed on the purl-side. Which blends the colors. Even though these colors are relatively high-contrast. Note how the striping is evident on the knit-side of the fabric.

Snug Cowl Gaitor Stockinette 01-17-22-01

Jamie McCanless brought this pattern to my attention in a Zoom meetup. He also modified the pattern by doing i-cord edging at the top and bottom. Finally, he striped using helical knitting instead of jog/carrying unused yarn up the inside (or the outside if you wear it as indicated). Both adjustments were very useful.

So choose people. Knit-side or purl-side.

To be fair, knitters already call this “stockinette” and “reverse stockinette.” Or even more biased language as the “right-side” and the “wrong-side” of their knitting. Whereas non-knitters are unfettered by semantics. They only evaluate based on visual aesthetics.

Current Knitting

Latest knitting is based on comments from Amy about making child-sized gaitors or cowls.

Snug Cowl Gaitor 01-17-22-01

Snug Cowl Gaitor 01-17-22-03

The Snug Cowl-Gaitor is a simple tube of striped stockinette with i-cord edging on top. I used the concept of the Newsprint Cowl and stole both of Jamie’s great ideas on making it better.

It’s also done in worsted-weight instead of fingering-weight. And it’s only knit on 88 stitches instead of hundreds.

11 comments on “Which Do You Prefer?

  1. Hmm. I always have had a fondness for the purl side because I felt it was underrated. Kind of like rooting for the underdog. This is cool how the 2:1 stripe ratio evens out on the purl side. But oddly with these colors I think I like the knit side better. Also, pray tell, what is helical knitting?

  2. Honestly, I think the purl side has more depth-and general interest. Also having the smooth side against the skin is an advantage. 65 years of knitting experience. Dange, when you realize when I learned to knit, that means I am …old

  3. First of all Joe, thank you for acknowledging the child size gaitor/cowl from my suggestion. I’m humbled 😉

    I like the I-cord idea and thank you for the helical tutorial. Both those ideas are helpful as I struggle to expand my skills.

    I agree with Marion about the purl side being more interesting to look at, but ultimately I like the knit side best. The best of both choices in apparent in your finished piece where you’re able to see a little of each.

    The 2:1 ratio is great, too.

  4. Helical is definitely the way to go – of course I’m prejudiced because I use it whenever I do 1 or 2 row stripes. Insofar as which side – in this case and with these colors I’m on the reverse stockinette team.

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