Learn How to Purl Knitting like a Pro

Learn How to Purl Knitting like a Pro

Are you ready to take your knitting skills to the next level? Learning how to purl is an essential technique that will open up a whole new world of possibilities for your knitting projects. Whether you’re a beginner knitter or have been knitting for years, mastering the purl stitch is a must.

The purl stitch creates a bumpy texture on your knitted fabric and is often used in combination with the knit stitch to create different patterns and designs. It’s an important stitch to have in your knitting arsenal, as it can be used to create everything from ribbing and cables to lace and colorwork.

Don’t let the purl stitch intimidate you – it’s easier than you think! With our easy step-by-step instructions, you’ll be purling like a pro in no time. We’ll walk you through the basics of how to hold your needles, how to create the purl stitch, and how to read a purl stitch pattern. Soon, you’ll be creating beautiful purl stitches with confidence and incorporating them into your knitting projects.

What is Purl Knitting?

In the world of knitting, purl knitting is a fundamental stitch that creates a textured pattern on the fabric. It is the counterpart to the knit stitch, and together they form the foundation of countless knitting patterns and designs.

The purl stitch is created by working the needle from back to front, instead of front to back as in the knit stitch. This results in a loop of yarn being formed on the front side of the fabric, creating the characteristic “bumps” or “pearls” that give purl knitting its name.

Purl knitting can be used to create a variety of effects in a knitted piece. When combined with knit stitches in different combinations and patterns, it can create ribbing, cables, and intricate lace designs, among many others.

Learning how to purl knit is an essential skill for any knitter, as it opens up a world of possibilities for creating different textures and patterns in their projects. Once you have mastered the purl stitch, you’ll be able to tackle a wide range of knitting projects with confidence.

To purl knit, you will need a set of knitting needles and a ball of yarn. The size of the needles and the thickness of the yarn will depend on the specific project you are working on.

It’s helpful to practice purling on a swatch of fabric before attempting it in a larger project. This will allow you to get comfortable with the technique and test different tension levels to achieve the desired look.

Overall, purl knitting is a versatile and essential technique for knitters of all skill levels. Once you have mastered this stitch, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful and unique knitted pieces. So grab your needles and yarn, and get ready to purl!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Purl Knitting

In knitting, the purl stitch is an essential technique that creates a smooth and bumpy texture on your fabric. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, learning how to purl correctly is crucial. Follow the step-by-step instructions below to master the purl stitch.


  • Knitting needles
  • Yarn



  1. Hold the knitting needles with the cast-on stitches in your left hand.
  2. Insert the right needle into the first stitch from right to left, as if you were going to knit.
  3. Instead of wrapping the yarn around the right needle as in a knit stitch, bring the yarn in front of your work between the needles.
  4. Hold the yarn in front with your right index finger to keep it taut.
  5. Insert the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle.
  6. Bring the right needle behind the left needle, over the top of the yarn.
  7. Wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right needle.
  8. Use the right needle to pull the yarn through the stitch, forming a new stitch on the right needle.
  9. Slide the original stitch off the left needle, replacing it with the new stitch.
  10. Repeat steps 2-9 for each stitch until you have completed the row.
  11. To switch between knit and purl stitches, continue working in the purl stitch for as many rows as desired or as stated in your pattern.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to purl knit. With practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful purl stitch patterns in your knitting projects.

Choosing the Right Knitting Needles

Choosing the Right Knitting Needles

Knitting needles are an essential tool for any knitter. They come in a variety of materials, sizes, and types, and choosing the right ones can make a big difference in your knitting experience. Here are some factors to consider when selecting knitting needles:


Knitting needles can be made from various materials, including metal, wood, bamboo, plastic, and more. Each material has its own unique qualities and advantages. Metal needles, such as stainless steel or aluminum, are durable and smooth, making them great for faster knitting. Wood and bamboo needles have a warm and natural feel, ideal for those who prefer a slower pace. Plastic needles are lightweight and budget-friendly, perfect for beginners.


Kntting needles come in different sizes, usually indicated by a number or letter. The size of your needles will depend on the type of yarn you are using and the desired gauge of your project. Thicker yarns typically require larger needles, while thinner yarns need smaller ones. It’s important to match the needle size to the yarn’s recommended gauge to achieve the desired results.


There are different types of knitting needles to choose from. Straight needles are the most common and consist of two separate needles with a point at one end and a knob or stopper at the other. Circular needles, on the other hand, are connected by a flexible cable and are often used for larger or seamless projects. Double-pointed needles have a pointed end on both sides and are typically used for knitting in the round, such as socks or hats.


Consider how the knitting needles feel in your hands. Some knitters prefer needles with a smooth surface, while others like a slightly textured or grippy surface. It’s important to find needles that feel comfortable and secure in your hands to avoid any unnecessary strain or discomfort while knitting.


Knitting needles can range in price, depending on the material and brand. While it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, investing in a quality pair of needles can greatly enhance your knitting experience and the longevity of your tools. Consider your budget and the frequency of your knitting projects when deciding on a price range.


Choosing the right knitting needles is a personal preference and may require some experimentation. Consider the material, size, type, grip, and price when selecting your needles. Remember that finding the right needles can greatly improve your knitting experience and help you create beautiful and professional-looking projects.

Picking the Perfect Yarn

When it comes to knitting, choosing the right yarn is essential for creating beautiful and comfortable garments. There are several factors to consider when picking the perfect yarn for your project.

Fiber Content

The first thing to think about is the fiber content of the yarn. Common options include wool, cotton, acrylic, and blends of different fibers. Each type of fiber has its own characteristics and benefits.

  • Wool: Wool yarn is warm, breathable, and has excellent elasticity. It is ideal for creating cozy sweaters, hats, and scarves.
  • Cotton: Cotton yarn is soft, lightweight, and perfect for warmer climates. It is suitable for making summer tops, baby clothes, and blankets.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic yarn is affordable, easy to care for, and available in a wide range of colors. It is a great choice for beginners and for projects that need to be machine-washable.
  • Blends: Blended yarn combines different fibers to create a yarn with unique properties. For example, a wool-acrylic blend may offer the warmth of wool and the easy care of acrylic.

Weight and Thickness

Yarn comes in different weights, which refer to its thickness. Common weight categories include lace, fingering, sport, worsted, bulky, and super bulky. Choosing the right weight is crucial for achieving the desired drape and texture in your knitted fabric.

  1. Lace: Lace yarn is very fine and delicate. It is perfect for creating intricate shawls and doilies.
  2. Fingering: Fingering yarn is lightweight and commonly used for making socks, scarves, and lightweight garments.
  3. Sport: Sport yarn is slightly thicker than fingering weight and is suitable for lightweight sweaters, hats, and baby items.
  4. Worsted: Worsted weight is one of the most common yarn weights. It is versatile and can be used for a wide range of projects, including blankets, scarves, and sweaters.
  5. Bulky: Bulky yarn is thick and works up quickly. It is ideal for creating cozy blankets, hats, and winter accessories.
  6. Super Bulky: Super bulky yarn is the thickest and is often used for making chunky blankets, scarves, and cowls.

Color and Dye Lot

The color of your yarn can greatly impact the overall look of your project. Consider whether you want a solid color, variegated yarn with multiple colors, or a self-striping yarn that creates its own color pattern.

Additionally, if you need to buy multiple skeins of yarn for your project, make sure to check the dye lot. Dye lots indicate that the yarn was dyed at the same time and under the same conditions, ensuring consistent color throughout your project.


Lastly, consider your budget when picking yarn. Yarn prices can vary greatly depending on the fiber content, brand, and quality. Set a budget and look for yarn options within your price range.

By considering these factors – fiber content, weight and thickness, color, dye lot, and budget – you can choose the perfect yarn for your knitting project. Happy knitting!

Prepping Your Knitting Needles and Yarn

Before you start purling, it’s important to make sure your knitting needles and yarn are properly prepared. Here are some steps you can follow to get your materials ready:

  1. Choose the right needles: Select a pair of knitting needles that are appropriate for the weight of your yarn. The size of the needles can affect the tension and overall appearance of your knitting.
  2. Inspect your needles: Examine your knitting needles for any rough spots, burrs, or splinters that could snag your yarn. Smooth out any imperfections with fine sandpaper or a nail file.
  3. Prepare your yarn: If your yarn is in a hank or skein, you’ll need to wind it into a ball or cake before you can start knitting. You can use a yarn winder or simply wind it by hand. Make sure the yarn is properly wound and doesn’t tangle as you knit.
  4. Check the gauge: Before you start purling, you may want to knit a gauge swatch to ensure that your tension matches the pattern. This will help you determine if you need to adjust your needle size to achieve the correct gauge.
  5. Prepare your workspace: Find a comfortable place to knit where you have enough space to spread out your materials. Make sure you have good lighting so you can see your stitches clearly.

By taking the time to properly prep your knitting needles and yarn, you’ll set yourself up for success when it comes to purling. Enjoy the process and happy knitting!

Starting Your Purl Stitch

Before beginning to purl, make sure you have already cast on the desired number of stitches onto your knitting needle.

1. Hold your needle with the cast on stitches in your right hand and the empty needle in your left hand. Your working yarn should be hanging from your right needle.

  • Ensure that the working yarn is in front of your work.
  • Insert the tip of your right needle into the first stitch on the left needle from right to left.

Note: The stitch that you are about to purl should be in front of the needle.

2. Using your left hand, bring the working yarn over the top of your right needle and towards the back of your work, creating a loop around the needle.

3. Using your right hand, pull the right needle back through the stitch, bringing the loop of yarn with it.

4. Slip the original stitch off the left needle once the new stitch is securely on the right needle.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each stitch until you have completed your purl row.


  • Take your time and focus on the movements needed to create the purl stitch.
  • Keep your tension consistent to avoid loose or tight stitches.

Once you have mastered the purl stitch, you can use it in combination with the knit stitch to create a wide range of patterns and textures in your knitting projects.

Troubleshooting Common Purl Knitting Mistakes

While purl knitting can be a fun and rewarding skill to learn, it’s not uncommon to encounter a few challenges along the way. Here are some common mistakes beginner knitters make when purl knitting and tips to troubleshoot them:

1. Loose or Uneven Stitches

If your purl stitches are turning out loose or uneven, you may be unintentionally adding too much slack to your yarn. Be conscious of how much tension you’re applying to the yarn as you work each stitch. It may help to hold the working yarn slightly tighter or use smaller needles until you become more comfortable with controlling your tension.

2. Twisted Stitches

Twisted stitches can happen when a purl stitch is twisted in the wrong direction. Take a moment to double-check that you are bringing the working yarn from the front to the back of the needle when purling. Twisted stitches can also occur if you accidentally knit instead of purl or vice versa.

3. Dropped Stitches

Dropping a stitch is a common mistake that can be a bit frustrating. The easiest way to fix a dropped stitch is to use a crochet hook or a small knitting needle to pick up the dropped stitch and bring it back onto the needle in the correct orientation.

4. Purling Too Tightly

Purling too tightly can make it difficult to slide the stitches along the needle. To avoid this, try to relax your tension and allow the stitches to move freely on the needle. Using larger needles or holding the working yarn looser can also help alleviate tight purling.

5. Forgetting to Bring the Yarn to the Front

One of the most common mistakes when purl knitting is forgetting to bring the yarn to the front of the work before inserting the needle. Always remember to bring the yarn to the front of your work between the needles before purling.

6. Confusing Knit and Purl Stitches

It’s easy to get confused between knit and purl stitches, especially when you’re learning. Take your time and carefully read the instructions or watch tutorial videos to ensure you’re working the correct stitch. Practice and repetition will make it easier to differentiate between the two stitches.

7. Tight or Loose Edge Stitches

Tight or loose edge stitches can be problematic when it comes to seaming your knitting or achieving a clean finished edge. To prevent this, be mindful of your tension when working the first and last stitches of each row. Adjusting your tension or using a different cast-on or bind-off method may also help improve your edge stitches.

Remember, knitting is a skill that takes practice, and it’s normal to make mistakes as you learn. The important thing is to keep trying and not get discouraged. With time and patience, you’ll become more comfortable with purl knitting and be able to avoid common mistakes.

Combining Knitting Stitches for More Complex Patterns

Once you have mastered the basic knit and purl stitches, you can start combining them to create more complex knitting patterns. By combining different stitches in different ways, you can create beautiful textures and designs in your knitting projects.

1. Stockinette Stitch

The stockinette stitch is created by alternating rows of knit stitches and purl stitches. This stitch creates a smooth and flat surface on one side, and a bumpy texture on the other side. To create the stockinette stitch, simply knit one row and purl the next row. Repeat these two rows until you have achieved the desired length.

2. Garter Stitch

The garter stitch is created by knitting every row. This stitch creates a bumpy texture on both sides of the fabric. To create the garter stitch, simply knit every stitch on every row. Repeat this row until you have achieved the desired length.

3. Ribbing

Ribbing is a combination of knit and purl stitches that creates a stretchy and elastic fabric. Ribbing is commonly used for cuffs, collars, and hems. To create ribbing, alternate between knitting and purling stitches in a pattern. A common ribbing pattern is *K1, P1* (knit one stitch, purl one stitch), but you can also try other combinations like *K2, P2* or *K3, P2*.

4. Seed Stitch

The seed stitch creates a textured pattern that resembles scattered seeds. To create the seed stitch, alternate between knitting and purling stitches in a pattern. For example, you can knit one stitch, purl one stitch, and repeat this pattern across the row. On the next row, start with purling one stitch and then knitting one stitch, and repeat this pattern across the row. Repeat these two rows until you have achieved the desired length.

5. Cable Stitch

The cable stitch creates a twisted, cable-like pattern in your knitting. To create the cable stitch, you will need a cable needle. The cable needle is used to hold a certain number of stitches aside while you knit the next set of stitches. This creates the twisted effect. You can find many cable stitch patterns with different levels of complexity.

By combining these basic knitting stitches and experimenting with different patterns, you can create unique and intricate designs in your knitting projects. So don’t be afraid to try new combinations and let your creativity shine!

Finishing Your Purl Knitting Project

Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to purl and completed your purl knitting project. Now it’s time to finish it off and make it look polished and professional. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Bind Off: The first step in finishing your project is to bind off. To do this, purl the first two stitches, insert the left needle into the first stitch you purled, and pull it over the second stitch. Continue this process until you have one stitch left on your right needle. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later, and pull it through the last stitch to secure it.
  2. Weave in Ends: Next, you’ll need to weave in any loose ends of yarn from changing colors or adding new yarn. Thread the tail onto a yarn needle, and weave it in and out of the stitches on the back of your work. Be sure to go in different directions to secure it well.
  3. Block Your Project: Blocking is an important step to make your project look its best. Depending on the fiber content of your yarn, you can either wet block or steam block. Wet blocking involves soaking your project in lukewarm water, gently squeezing out the excess water, and then shaping it and pinning it down on a towel or blocking mats to dry. Steam blocking involves using a steam iron or a handheld steamer to lightly steam the project and then shaping it. Blocking will help even out your stitches and give your project a professional finish.
  4. Add Embellishments (optional): If you want to add a personal touch to your knitting project, now is the time to do it. You can sew on buttons, add embroidery, or even attach a small crochet border. Get creative and make your project unique!
  5. Enjoy Your Finished Project: Once your project is completely dry and any additional embellishments are added, it’s time to enjoy your hard work! Whether it’s a scarf, a hat, or a sweater, wear it with pride and show off your knitting skills.

Remember, the more you practice, the better you’ll become at purling and creating beautifully finished knitting projects. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and experiment with different patterns and designs. Happy knitting!


What is purling in knitting?

Purling in knitting is a technique used to create a specific stitch pattern, where the yarn is wrapped around the needle in the opposite direction compared to knitting.

How do I purl stitch in knitting?

To purl stitch in knitting, you need to insert the right-hand needle from right to left into the front of the stitch on the left-hand needle. Then, wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle, and pull it through the stitch, slipping the old stitch off the left-hand needle.

Is purling harder than knitting?

Some beginners find purling to be a bit harder than knitting because it involves different hand and finger movements. However, with practice, purling becomes easier, and many knitters enjoy the versatility it adds to their projects.

Can you purl all rows in knitting?

Yes, you can purl all rows in knitting to create a stitch pattern known as garter stitch. This pattern creates a fabric with a textured look on both sides and is often used for scarves, blankets, and other simple projects.


How to knit for beginners – the continental way (+ slow motion)

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