The Purl Stitch

The purl stitch is the second most common knitting stitch. In fact, when you learn how to purl and know how to knit, you are equipped to start your first project!

These two stitches are the foundation for all knitting. Whether you want to make a scarf, blanket, hat, or sweater, getting proficient with these two stitches will have you knitting like a pro in no time!

The purl stitch can be thought of as the opposite of the knit stitch.

It is most easily identified by a "bump" in the fabric. In this photo you see all purl "bumps".

With the combination of knit and purl stitches, you will be amazed at all of the different effects you can achieve.

It is simply a matter of how to combine them. For example:

  • Knit 2 stitches, then purl 2 stitches and repeat this pattern and you will create ribbing. Ribbing is used in most all patterns for hems, cuffs, necks, or anywhere that you want a bit of stretch.
  • Knit one row, purl one row. This is the most common method of knitting when you want to achieve a nice flat surface on the front of your work.

Got Your Needles Ready?

Let's begin..

Cast on about 10 stitches. Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in the left hand. Hold the empty needle and yarn in your right hand (English Method).

Always keep your yarn in the front of your work when purling.

Step 1.  Insert the tip of the right needle into the first stitch (from the right to left). The tip of your needle will be in front of the left needle.


Step 2.  Wrap the yarn around the right needle (counter clockwise).

Step 3. Draw the tip of the right needle under and back through the loop on the left needle.

Step 4.  Bring the right needle up behind the left needle. Slide the loop on the left off the left needle.

Step 5. Pat yourself on the back and

What's next? Do the next one and...

Keep On Knitting... and purling!

You may find these videos helpful. You can see how the stitches are made. Note that how you hold the yarn, which hand you hold the yarn in (English or American Method and Continental or European Method) is purely a personal choice.

You may want to learn both. Why? If you want to do colorwork, being able to feed one color from the right hand and another color from the left hand make a truly joyful experience!

English or American Method

Continental or European Method

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