Reverse Stockinette Stitch
A Simple Concept that Creates Texture Contrasts
The reverse stockinette stitch is simply the reverse of the stockinette stitch, which is the most popular stitch in knitting.
When I was learning to knit and I first heard of the reverse stockinette stitch, I was confused about why it was needed and what it was used for...after all, couldn't you just knit stockinette stitch and then flip it over??
Well, yes you could if a knitting project was made only of reverse stockinette stitch, but that just doesn't happen; no project is made entirely of reverse stockinette stitch.
Instead, reverse stockinette stitch is placed next to other stitches (usually stockinette stitch) in order to contrast with it.
For example, knitted stockinette stitch cables are often placed on a background of reverse stockinette. This is so the background has an obviously different texture to the cables, therefore helping them to stand out more (rather than blend in with the background).
Here is a video which will demonstrate what I mean, and show you real examples:
Whilst stockinette stitch has the 'wavy' patterned side on the back (i.e. the purl side) and the 'chevron' patterned side on the front (i.e. the knit side), the reverse stockinette is obviously the other way around with the wavy side at the front, and the chevrons side at the back.
If you've ever looked closely at stockinette stitch, you will notice that the chevrons side is thinner and smoother, whilst the wavy side is chunkier and more textured.
This is why stockinette stitch is often paired up next to the reverse stockinette stitch; because the textures of the stitches on each side differ vastly and therefore contrast greatly.
From the right side, comparing the stitches side-by-side makes the stockinette stitch look 'recessed' next to the chunkier reverse stockinette stitch which seems to 'stand out' a lot more and sit further forward.
You'll often see knitted 3D elements such as cables, which are designed to stand out, being knit in stockinette stitch, with reverse stockinette stitch completely surrounding it. This works really well at giving the knitted element more definition, stopping it blending into the background, and making it 'pop' more.
Essentially reverse stockinette is used alongside other stitches to add depth to your knitting.
I hope you have found this page helpful :)