Thermal Knit Stitch Pattern: How to Tutorial for Beginners

Thermal Knit Stitch Pattern
by Janice Jones
Published 12-08-2023

There's a reason this pattern is called the thermal knit stitch. It's cozy. Beyond warm, though, it is a beginner-friendly pattern that is worked entirely with knit and purl stitches using a four-row repeat pattern.

It is so similar to the interrupted rib stitch pattern and the Pique stitch that I debated whether to create a separate page but decided that you might want an additional option that can be used alone or as a rib stitch pattern.

The thermal knit stitch pattern worked in a olive green wool blend yarn

The thermal knit stitch gets its name from its thermal properties, the small, insulating pockets the pattern creates trap heat and keep the wearer warmer.

Knit Thermal Stitch vs. Crochet Thermal Stitch

Don't be confused; there is also a crochet thermal stitch, which creates a thick, warm fabric and is very easy to learn.

If you need a stitch for making potholders, thick dishcloths, or covers for casserole carriers, consider the crochet version of this stitch.

Both the knit and crochet patterns create a dense fabric, so it's up to you which one you choose. Check out my crochet tutorials and free crochet patterns using the thermal crochet stitch.

This knitting pattern is often identified due to its raised, waffle-like texture, providing extra warmth. It is a good choice for colder-weather clothing and accessories such as scarves, hats, mittens, blankets, and pullovers.

For those who appreciate comfortable, cozy knitwear, mastering thermal knit stitch pattern is invaluable for winter knitting projects.

Creating the thermal knit stitch pattern involves a simple combination of knit and purl stitches, which are knitted over stitch multiples of 4 +2.

Skill Level

From the Craft Yarn Council, the symbol used to determine the skill level required to finish the project.

Basic or Easy-level knitting pattern


K - knit

P - purl

CO - cast on

BO - bind off

*  * work the instructions between the asterisks the indicated number of times.

rep - repeat

st(s) - stitch, stitches

Skills Needed

  • Knit Stitch
  • Purl Stitch
  • Cast On
  • Bind off
  • Read written instructions
  • Weave in Ends

Notes about the Thermal Knit Stitch Pattern

  • Not technically reversible, but both sides look great.
  • Requires one know-how to make knit and purl stitches only.
  • It is a four-row repeat, but one of the rows is a plain knit row, and one involves purl stitches only; think stockinette stitch.
  • It is worked on a stitch repeat of multiples of 4 + 2.
  • All instructions are written in standard US terms.
  • It can be worked on straight needles or in the round using a circular needle. 

Is this Pattern Reversible?

The wrong and right sides of the stitch are not identical, but both look amazing, so it is up to you which one you want for your public side. 

The right side showing of the thermal knit stitch patternRight Side

The wrong side of the work looks like the waffle stitch pattern. The right side looks more like a rib stitch pattern.

The wrong side of the thermal knit stitch pattern

You are in luck if you use the stitch to make a scarf. Both sides will look great, giving your scarf more texture and interest. Since it is a simple stitch pattern, it works quickly.

Supplies Needed for this Tutorial

  • Yarn
  • Knitting Needles
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle for weaving in ends
  • Place marker (optional)

To work the swatch pictured on this page, I used Paton's Classic Wool Worsted Yarn and US 7 (4.5 mm) needles.

Written Directions for Making the Thermal Knit Stitch Pattern

In this tutorial, we will be making a small swatch for practice. I've left a link at the end of this page if you'd rather use the pattern for a larger project.

Cast on a number of stitches in multiples of 4 + 2

I cast on 26 stitches

Row 1:  (rs): *K2, p2; rep from * to last 2 sts.  K2

Row 2:  (ws):  P2, *k2, p2; rep from * to end.

Row 3:  K across

Row 4:  P across

Repeat rows one to four until you reach your desired length. Bind off after working the last row or row 4.  Weave in Ends. Block if desired

Learning to Read Knitting Charts

You don't need a chart to create this easy pattern.  Written instructions are pretty suitable.  If you want to know what a knitting chart looks like for the thermal knit stitch pattern, I've provided one below.  

Thermal knit stitch directions displayed in chart form

What Can You Make With This Stitch Pattern?

The thermal stitch is perfect for making items intended to keep you warm:  scarves, hats, cowls, shawls, sweaters, or even ponchos.  It's also an easy peasy way to make dish or face cloths, placemats, or table runners.  

I found this free pattern, a ten-inch block on Ravelry written for Wool-Aid.  It could be used as a face or dishcloth.

Happy Knitting

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About Janice

Hi, I’m Janice, the voice behind Smart-Knit-Crocheting. I love to knit and crochet and even more, I love teaching others what I know.

Though I learned to knit and crochet as a child, I didn’t get serious about these amazing hobbies until I retired. I’m a certified knit and crochet instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and am working on becoming a Master Hand Knitter through The Knitting Guild Association.

I’m currently living with my husband of over 50 years and our 7 Shih Tzu dogs.

I love hearing from you, so please drop me a line and let me know what you’re working on, whether you love knitting or crocheting more, and if you have any questions. Please visit my about me page for more information.

Happy Crocheting