How To Knit The Purl Stitch (For Beginners + A Video Tutorial)


Learning how to knit the purl stitch is really simple to do – once you have practiced the basic knit stitch, then you will be ready to learn a new stitch, the purl stitch.

This is usually the second stitch a newbie knitter learns how to do.

The knit and purl stitches work together in most patterns, so you will need to know both.

Once you learn how to master some basic stitches and techniques in these knitting lessons, you can make practically anything!

How to knit the purl stitch

What’s A Purl Stitch?

Think of purl stitching as the opposite to the knit stitch.

  • You still hold your knitting needles the same way however you will hold the yarn in front of your knitting needle as you purl the stitches.
  • Even though knitting purl stitches is easy to do it will feel a little awkward to work at first but you’ll get used to it as you practice.
  • Purl stitches tend to get looser so just give them a little tug when you are finished working the stitch or hold your yarn a little tighter.
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example of purl stitches in knitting

How Do I Knit A Purl Stitch?

You will see a step-by-step photo tutorial below and a video tutorial.

You can view the video tutorial on my YouTube channel here.

I used 9 mm/US 13 knitting needles and super bulky yarn for this tutorial.

You can cast on around 10 or 12 stitches for this sample swatch.

You will start to purl on the right side of the knitted fabric.

How To Purl Stitch

  1. Step 1 – Insert the needle into the front of the stitch

    Place your right-hand needle up into the front of the first stitch (or first loop) on the left-hand needle.insert the needle into the front of the stitch

  2. Step 2 – Wrap the yarn around the needle

    Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle, from the front.wrap the yarn around the needle

  3. Step 3 – Push the right-hand needle to the back of the stitch

    With the yarn wrapped around the right-hand needle, take it and push it down and then up into the back of the stitch.
    Hold the working yarn attached to the ball in your right hand.push the needle up to the back

  4. Step 4 – Slide the stitch off the needle

    Slide the loop off the left needle and you will have one completed purl stitch on the right needle.
    You can see the bump of the stitch just created on the right-hand needle.slide the stitch off the needle

  5. Step 5 – Work the purl stitch in a sample

    Repeat steps 1-4 and practice your purl knitting.
    This pattern can be worked on any number of stitches.
    On two needles: Purl all stitches.
    If you purl all of your stitches, you will be creating the same fabric as the garter stitch pattern.example of purl stitches in knitting

Do You Have To Purl In Knitting?

The purl stitch is used in many patterns and can be knit in the English style or the Continental style.

Once you can recognize a knit stitch from a purl stitch, you can keep track of where you are in your work.

Purl stitches make bumps and create texture in knitting.

This term is usually abbreviated as a P in patterns.

the purl stitch knit in grey yarn

More Knitting Tutorials

When you work knit one row and purl one row  – you create the stocking stitch – stockinette stitch pattern. How to knit the stockinette stitch (for beginners)

Stockinette stitch is very commonly used in many patterns from scarves to blankets.

For more beginner knitter information and patterns, please visit the links below –

Once you get started on the basics, you can grow in confidence to try out many different types of stitch patterns, from those that incorporate both knit and purl stitches to lacework and cables.

How do you tell if it’s knit or purl?

The knit stitch is the most commonly used stitch for the right side (front side) of a project, and the purl stitch is the most common stitch for the wrong side (the back side). You knit them in the exact opposite way. As a result, they will appear exactly the same on the other side.

What is the easiest way to purl?

Some knitters prefer to use the Continental method to purl faster. This is a personal preference in the way that you work, either using the English knitting style or the Continental knitting style.

What type of knit is Purl?

When you use purl stitches to create your knitted fabric, you are alternating the way that you create the stitch, knitting into the front of the stitch instead of the back when you create a knit stitch.
The knitted fabric is reversible and identical on the right and wrong sides. The knitted fabric does not curl and lies flat.

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