PurlsAndPixels

How to Knit the Purl Stitch

Learn to make the purl stitch, a knitting lesson from Liz @PurlsAndPixels.

Now that you understand the knit stitch, you are ready to move on to your next knitting challenge: learning to make the purl stitch.

A purl stitch is essentially a backwards knit stitch. You will hold your yarn in front of your needles to create a “U” shaped stitch, which looks like a bump. If you make a knit stitch, turn it over: the back side of a knit stitch looks exactly like the front side of a purl stitch.

If you purl every stitch in every row of a flat knitted piece, you end up with a garter stitch pattern, just as you do when knitting with only the knit stitch.

Combining knits and purls can create all sorts of fun patterns and textures.

Two important things to remember when making the purl stitch:

  1. Hold the working yarn in front of your needles, and
  2. Insert your right needle into each stitch from back to front.

Below are both video and written tutorials to help you learn how to make a purl.

Video Guide: How to Make the Purl Stitch

Written Guide: How to Make the Purl Stitch

Step 1: Learn to make the purl stitch, with a knitting lesson from Liz @PurlsAndPixels.

Purl, Step 1:

Hold your yarn and needles as if to knit, except place the working yarn in front of your left needle.

Step 2: Learn to make the purl stitch, with a knitting lesson from Liz @PurlsAndPixels.

Purl, Step 2:

Insert your right-hand needle tip into the front loop of the next stitch on your left needle from back to front.

Step 3: Learn to make the purl stitch, with a knitting lesson from Liz @PurlsAndPixels.

Purl, Step 3:

With your left pointer finger, bring the working yarn down, towards you, over then behind the right needle tip. This will form a loop on the right-hand needle tip.

Purl, Step 4:

Pull the new loop of yarn on the right-hand needle through the first stitch on your left needle.

Purl, Step 5:

Slide the stitch you just worked into off the left needle, allowing the new stitch to remain on your right needle.

Purl, Step 6:

You have made your first purl stitch!

Repeat steps one through five each time a pattern asks you to purl a stitch.โ€ƒ

Practice With My Knitting Patterns

Free Beginner Face Scrubby knitting pattern by Liz @PurlsAndPixels.

If you purl an entire piece of knitting work, you end up with a garter stitch pattern, just as you do when knitting with only the knit stitch. Because of this, one way to learn and practice the purl stitch is to make a Face Scrubby with only purls. You can follow the free Beginner Face Scrubby Pattern, except replace all the knit stitches with purl stitches.

Basic Washcloth and Face Scrubby knitting pattern by Liz @PurlsAndPixels

When you are ready to start a new project, you can to learn to purl with the Basic Face Scrubby or Washcloth pattern found in my Simple Washcloth Knitting Pattern Collection. You will combine knits and purls in to create the traditional, smooth Stockinette stitch pattern that is commonly used in knitwear.

Learn to make the purl stitch, a knitting lesson from Liz @PurlsAndPixels.

Up Next

To help you “read” your knitting and make sure you are following patterns correctly, you can start to see the knit stitches as “V” shaped and the purl stitches as upside down “U” shapes. Learn to identify knits and purls next.

Go Back to the Learn to Knit Index

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