How To Knit The Purl Stitch {+ Video Tutorial}

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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 these basic stitches, you can make practically anything!

example of purl stitches in knitting

What’s A Purl Stitch?

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

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  • 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.
How to knit the purl stitch

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.

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

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

Purl stitches make bumps and create texture in the knitting.

This term is normally abbreviated as a P in patterns.

the purl stitch knit in grey yarn

When you work knit one row and purl one row  – you create the stockinette stitch pattern.

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 –

Knitting for beginners

Yarn weight guide

Knitting tools for beginners

Knitting patterns for beginners

12 Simple knitting stitches for beginners

Knitting terms and abbreviations

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.

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