How to make the knitting stitch pattern of k1p1

Knitting patterns quite often ask you to follow a k1p1 stitch pattern. But you  may wonder what exactly does that mean and when would you use something like that, and why? Let’s look at each part individually.

What does k1p1 mean?

In knitting patterns, we use abbreviations to denote different stitches. Knit is abbreviated as K or k. Purl is abbreviated as P or p. So K1P1 means knit one stitch, then purl one stitch.

We can recognize a purl stitch by it’s distinctive “necklace.” We call that a purl bump.  A knit stitch will look like a loop around the needle, whereas a purl stitch will have the added necklace. Study the sample photo below


This Seed stitch pattern clearly shows the different appearance of a knit stitch and of a purl stitch.

What does k1p1 look like in a knitted sample?

k1p1 ribbing will show distinctive columns of knit and purl stitches. Look at the photos below to see the differences. The knit column looks like a stack of “v’s” and the purl column recedes slightly and looks like a stack of purl bumps.


When do you use a stitch pattern like this?

k1p1 is a ribbing style of stitch pattern, and it is used to give stretchiness to knitted fabrics. We see it used on brims of hats, on sweater hems, and on socks.

The picture below is one of my hat patterns, Foxy Lady, and it uses k1p1 ribbing for it’s brim. I picked the Cast On and Ribbing that I use in this pattern, because I think it’s easiest for beginners. Or for anyone who is looking for something cute, but not overly complicated.


My Foxy Lady Hat Pattern uses k1p1 on the brim.

Why do we use k1p1 ribbing?

Mostly, ribbing  stitch patterns are used for the purpose of giving added stretch to the fabric. Sometimes we want our knitting to cling! How else would your socks stay up? Or your hat stay on?

In today’s video tutorial, we will see how to make a sample of k1p1 ribbing as knit on straight needles to yield a flat piece of knitting. Knitting-in-the-round is slightly different, but that is a topic for another day. Today, we are going to work on making neat rows of knit and purl stitches that make up the familiar rib pattern.

Follow along with the video. I knit and purl several rows of the pattern to give you a chance to clearly see what I’m doing, and to allow you the opportunity to knit along with me. Knitting a sample piece of k1p1 ribbing will give you practice in changing from knit to purl stitches, and  it will help you to recognize how the live stitches appear. It is important to be able to easily distinguish between your stitches when you are working on a project.



If you are unfamiliar with how to make the knit or purl stitches, please start at the very beginning by learning to Cast on Stitches and then learning the Knit Stitch followed by the Purl stitch. I have a free knitting pattern that will help you learn to knit your first scarf project using all knit stitches. I suggest you start here if all of this is completely new to you. If you have some understanding of knits and purls, that’s great!! I hope this video helps you to understand the differences between the two stitches and how to make your own k1p1 rib stitch pattern.

Thanks for dropping by today! Lovely to see you, and I hope you enjoyed this description and video of how to knit in k1 p1 ribbing.  If you are new to the site, please sign up for my email list so you never miss an update from me. It can be so hard to keep up with your favorite blogs without those reminders. The form is below and you will receive a fun knitting related picture for your phone wallpaper just for signing up!

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Author: Pattymac

Patty loves figuring out new ways to use pom poms, where to stash more yarn and is always wondering what to bake next...chocolate or lemon? When not dreaming up new things to knit (or bake), she loves riding her beach cruiser on the Boardwalk, escaping to mid week movie matinees, and planting new things in her container garden.