Now that you’ve learned about the knit stitch, you are ready to continue your knitting education. In today’s post, we’ll teach you about the purl stitch.
This stitch is a favorite of ours as it really broadens the knitting opportunities. We love to knit hats, fingerless gloves, and pretty cowls using the purl stitch. We’re sure you will too.
Here's what you'll learn today:
- What is purl stitch.
- What is stockinette stitch.
- How to purl stitch.
- How to knit stockinette stitch.
What is Purl Stitch?
The purl stitch is not so much a new technique but the reverse of how you create the knit stitch. Nevertheless, it is still an important technique to learn.
The purl stitch creates flat, vertical V shapes while the garter stitch creates horizontal hills. It may be easier to remember which is which if you think of it as hills and valleys. Learning to recognize each will help you identify right and wrong sides in patterns and worked pieces.
What is Stockinette Stitch?
When you knit on one side and purl on the other, you create stockinette stitch. You may also hear it called stocking stitch depending on the region or origin of the knitter.
Like the knit stitch, the purl stitch is a technique and stockinette stitch is a pattern.
What You Should Know About Purling:
- The working yarn is in front of the needle.
- Stockinette creates a flat, thin piece that is less stretchy than garter stitch.
- The purl side is considered the right side of your work.
- If you purl every row when knitting flat, you create garter stitch.
- Working in stockinette, the edges will curl. Some patterns use this in their favor. If you want to prevent this from happening, you can add on a selvedge or a knitted border.
American Style Knitting (or English Knitting)
The style of knitting used in this photo tutorial is American style knitting. It is also known as English Knitting because of its origins. In this method, your right hand fingers control yarn tension.
How to Purl
As mentioned earlier, the purl stitch is the opposite of the knit stitch. When purling, your yarn is in front, and your needle points back. The following photo tutorial will show you how to purl. Let’s get started.
Make sure your working yarn is in front before you insert your needle to purl.
Insert your right needle into the front of the stitch.
Carry (or throw) the working yarn counterclockwise. Wrap yarn around the right needle.
While maintaining tension on the working yarn, slide your right needle down.
Move your right needle down and through the loop.
Now slide the stitch up and off the left needle. Your purled stitch should now be on your right needle.
Congratulations! You just learned how to purl. You are on your way to learning more knitting stitches. Remember, the more you practice the better you will knit.
How to Knit Stockinette Stitch
In flat knitting, you will first work one row in knit stitch. When you turn your work, you will then work one row in purl stitch. This sequence is repeated to create the stockinette stitch pattern.
When knitting in the round, you will knit all rounds to create stockinette. You could also purl all rounds. Either one will achieve the same results.
Ready to practice your stockinette stitch? We have just the thing. Our free Fingerless Gloves pattern is perfect for beginners and an easy knit to complete. And did we mention it’s free? It is. Enjoy!
Read more: How to Read a Knitting Stitch Pattern
*Editor's Note: First published in October 2017, this post has been completely updated. - December 10, 2018