The knit and purl stitches are often considered the easiest stitches in knitting. The knit stitch is usually the first one new knitters learn, followed by the purl stitch.
The knit stitch may also be known as garter stitch. It is the foundation for all other stitches in knitting. Knitters can make projects ranging in difficulty from easy to complex once they learn this stitch. A knitter can create everything from dishcloths to afghan blankets with this one stitch, although these projects will have the same texture.
The purl stitch is another basic knitting stitch. Once a knitter masters these two stitches, she can create many different projects with varying looks. Knitting only knit stitches on a project results in a bumpy texture that knitters recognize as garter stitch; alternating knit and purl rows results in a smoother fabric on one side and a bumpy fabric on the other side. This is known as stockinette, a pattern often found on sweaters. The smooth side is the "right" side, and the bumpy side is usually the "wrong" side.
Knitters can combine these two stitches for numerous variations in texture and appearance. Simple knit and purl combinations result in ribbing, commonly found on sleeve cuffs or scarves. More complex stitches, starting with the basic knit stitch, may result in lacy textures.