Pages Navigation Bar

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Knitting 101: Lesson Four {The Purl Stitch}

We are moving pretty quickly, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, put off learning to purl until later.  If you are a natural, learned to knit previously without learning to purl, or are a glutton for punishment, here we go!  As I stated in the last post, knitting creates a knot on the back of your project, but purling creates a knot on the front of your project.  If you simply knit back and forth, or purl back and forth, you create the garter pattern (see the last post).  When most people think about knitting, they think about the stockinette pattern (it is the one pictured above).  The stockinette pattern looks similar to the garter on the back, but a little more squished.  The garter pattern has knots on both sides of the project; the stockinette pattern has knot on one side of the project.  If you want to create the stockinette pattern, you will need to knit one row, then purl the next.

Are you ready?  Let's start purling!

  1. Hold your needles and yarn just like you are getting ready to knit.  (remember while learning, I recommend holding the bottom needle between your knees)
  2. Before you begin your purl stitch, take the working yarn in your right hand, and pull it in front of both needles.  This is what I forgot frequently while I was learning how to purl, and it caused all sorts of problems (remember that the yarn stays in back when you knit, and in front when you purl--the side you keep the yarn on determines the side of the knot).
  3. Stick the bottom needle through the first loop on the top needle; your needles will be facing roughly the opposite directions with the bottom needle in front.  When you purl, you stick the needle through the loop from the outside, towards the rest of the stitches (from right to left).
  4. With your right hand, wrap the yarn around the bottom needle counter-clockwise.
  5. The next step is what I find the trickiest part of purling.  You need to use the tip of the bottom needle to sort of grab the loop you just made, and push it under the top needle so the bottom needle is now behind the top needle.
  6. Now push the original loop off the top needle.
  7. Congratulations!  You just finished your first purl stitch.  Repeat steps 3-6 until you finish purling your entire row.
Practice, practice, practice.  When you feel comfortable with both stitches, start to alternate rows and create a stockinette stitch.


  1. Blog posting at 7am Mal? On a school day! You must be getting up early!

  2. Actually, I sort of cheat. You can set it up to post at a later time. Since I did most all of the knitting, videos, and photos this weekend, I could type the posts early, and set them up to come out on different days. I wrote three of them last night. You will see another one at seven tomorrow--just about the time I leave to teach!


Thank you for leaving a comment--I love to hear what you think! I try to respond to any questions within one day.