The Purl Stitch

Ah, the joys of purling. It’s so easy and many of the video tutorials on YouTube make it look so laborious. I don’t have the option to shoot such a tutorial right now, but here is a graphic of the stitch as well as photos of my petroleum scarf in the making. (Yes, I found the second skein, and yes, I’ve produced lots of stitches on it since my previous post on the subject!)

Purl 1

The Purl Stitch

In the photos below, it looks like I’m keeping fingers of the left hand in the air during knitting, but in reality my both hands are holding closely both needles with all fingers surrounding the needles.

Purl 2

Step 1 – Place the yarn in front of the left needle

Purl 3

Step 2 – Push the right needle from the “backside” through the first stitch on the left needle

Purl 4

Step 3 – Begin the circling of the yarn (this is when I place my right index finger on top of the stitch and the yarn on the right needle to prevent them from falling off so to speak)

Purl 5

Step 4 – Finalise the circling of the needle (and I move my right index finger toward the tip of the right needle, place it on top of the circled yarn, and let go only once I push back through the stitch on the left needle to create the new purl stitch)

Step 5 – Make the purl stitch by leading the right needle back through the stitch on the left needle, just like in the third picture of the graphic above. Unfortunately, I can’t take a photo of this step, because both hands are needed, but if you follow the graphic, you will probably see what happens regardless.

As you can see, the point of bringing the right needle through the first left stitch is to grab the yarn (pictures 1 and 2 of the graphic), the same way as when making a basic knit stitch from the “frontside” of that stitch, with the yarn kept behind the left needle rather than in front of it like here.

What may be a bit confusing is the circling of the needle, as the practicalities of making the purl stitch doesn’t show in the graphic; the circled yarn will very easily fall off the right needle, unless one keeps one’s right index finger on top of it until the tip of the right needle can push through the stitch of the left needle and lift it off that needle.

This way of purling makes knitting a basket weave so easy and the purl stitch is almost as quick as the basic knit stitch once flow is found.

6 thoughts on “The Purl Stitch

    1. Nina With Freckles Post author

      Hi, glad to hear it helped! I’m writing the tutorial for my basket weave scarf as we speak, have a few tweaks to do still, but will publish it before the weekend. I’m also quite a beginner knitter myself, but find the pattern very easy and a really good exercise in the knit and purl stitches.


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