What’s the difference between seed stitch and moss stich? What is double moss stitch? Does double seed stitch exist? And where do rice and box stitch fit in?

A friend pointed out that last week that my Tale of Two Cowls post called the same stitch both moss stitch and seed stitch, and that she thought they were different stitches.

This is the stitch I’m talking about…

Moss stich - seed stitch

Pattern worked over an even number of stitches

  • Row 1 *k1, p1, repeat from *
  • Row 2 *p1, k1, repeat from *

Repeat rows 1 and 2.

I believe the above stitch is called both moss stitch and seed stitch, because when my mum  taught me to knit, I learnt this pattern was called moss stitch. However, when knitting exploded on the internet, it became apparent that on the opposite side of the Atlantic it’s called seed stitch. This was my reasoning for using both names; in my head I was knitting a moss and stitching stitch cowl, but I named the pattern Seed and Stocking Stitch Cowl, because the alliteration sounded better.

All clear so far?

It was clear for me too until my friend said moss stitch was a different stitch.

I googled.

Several US references I checked (including Craftsy) also thought so. They call this moss stitch


Pattern worked over an even number of stitches

  • Row 1 *k1, p1, repeat from *
  • Row 2 and 3 *p1, k1, repeat from *
  • Row *k1, p1, repeat from *

Repeat rows 1 to 4.

Being a Brit, I call this double moss stitch, and, quite frankly, shouldn’t this be double seed stitch in the US? I googled and found it being called double seed stitch by Vogue Knitting.

Hurrah for Vogue Knitting! Nice and logical.

But then I found another popular US reference (New Stitch a Day ) calling it double moss stitch – despite calling what I think of as moss stitch, seed stitch. Not logical at all! And we now have three names for this…

Moss stitch, Double moss stitch, double seed stitch
Moss Stitch, Double Moss Stitch and Double Seed Stitch

To add to the confusion Barbara Walker calls this double seed stitch….

Double seed stitch, box stitch

Pattern worked over an even number of stitches

  • Row 1 and 2 *k2, p2, repeat from *
  • Row 3 and four *p2, k2, repeat from *

Repeat rows 1 to 4.

However, if you check out both Lion Brand’s site and New Stitch a Day they call the stitch above box stitch.

All nice and clear now?

Mmmm. So what I conclude is, if you’re looking at an American designers’ pattern this very likely to be called seed stitch

Moss stich - seed stitch

… unless they call it rice stitch – which I’ve also seen it called, but not dared google further. In the UK patterns are likely to call it moss stitch – unless the designer learned from an American source (or if the alliteration works better).

Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. Although you might be on a safe wicket if a Brit mentions double moss stitch that it’s this…

Moss stitch, Double moss stitch, double seed stitch

While I’m off resting my brain, please feel free to add your thoughts on the matter.

Bekki Hill



33 thoughts on “What’s the difference between seed stitch and moss stich? What is double moss stitch? Does double seed stitch exist? And where do rice and box stitch fit in?

  1. Isn’t it fascinating how different parts of the word attach different meanings to words? This post is a great example of how confusing it can get when it comes to technical terms! Haha. Ps: Did you know that here, in Canada, a “jumper” is called a “sweater”, and a jumper refers to a one piece garment – pant and top together, sort of like an overall? Although maybe “overalls” also have a different meaning over there! I would say stick with your definition of it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yes, the clothing is amusing. I think your jumper in Brit speak is a jumpsuit? That’s if overall means the same to both of us. Of course the minute you mention pants we Brits find it very amusing because pants to us are underwear. We say trousers. I tend to attempt to stick with sweater to avoid confusion all round. I think jumper is more English, but we all understand sweater too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Probably not helpful but I thought seed stitch was plain stocking stitch with spaced out ‘reversed’ stitches on every fourth row – so 2 rows st st, 3rd row knit 2, (p1, k5), repeat till end. row 4, 5, 6 st st. row 7 k5, (p1,k5) row 8 st st – repeat all 8 rows. That should, if I’ve got the calculations right put the ‘seeds’ from the second patterned row in the middle of the earlier row’s seeds. You could have more plain rows, you could space the ‘seeds’ further apart, I suppose it depends on the yarn weight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always called it seed stitch, and the double of it, double seed stitch. Have seen it referred to as moss stitch as well, and always assumed it was the same, I wont; anymore. And I also hate it, as it is slow going – much as I hate 1×1 rib. Don’t love 2×2 rib much better… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I got a headache just reading your title! Now I’m completely bamboozled. It’s pretty obvious folk just make up names for stitches – maybe they thought they invented the stitch and gave it a name when we all worked pre-internet- in isolation…….. I call it moss stitch and it’s one of my favourite stitches, especially with a chunkier yarn, as it makes a thick fabric 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An interesting thought. I’m sure a lot of it does come from mixing UK rooted and US definitions – but I do think people making teaching videos or tutorials, should acknowledge all the possible names, not just say the name they are using is it. Look at double and single crochet, that really is confusing for beginners!


  5. I loved this post. I grew up knowing it as moss stitch, but as I knitted more and got patterns from all around the globe, I learned that moss stitch can be seed stitch. My mind still thinks of it as moss stitch.
    I had a good laugh reading this post and comments, as I know all about the different meanings for words, specially around here. The different names we have for things that are known by another elsewhere is mind-boggling at most times. 🙂
    But that is a whole different story.
    Have a good weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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