How to Knit a Purl Stitch

Updated on August 2, 2016
Insert the gold needle through the front of the last stitch on the blue needle.
Insert the gold needle through the front of the last stitch on the blue needle. | Source
After the gold needle was inserted through the stitch on the blue needle, the yarn is pulled over the tip of the gold needle.
After the gold needle was inserted through the stitch on the blue needle, the yarn is pulled over the tip of the gold needle. | Source
The gold needle is pulled free from the last stitch on the blue one, but not from the looped over yarn.
The gold needle is pulled free from the last stitch on the blue one, but not from the looped over yarn. | Source

There are two basic stitches in knitting: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. With these two stitches, you can create all sorts of patterns.

Purling stitches is simple.

Knitting the Purl Stitch

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll work the stitches from the left needle to the right needle. However, you can work rows in either direction. You may notice that though some patterns instruct you to turn the fabric around every time you start a new row.

This makes it easier for some people to keep track of the stitches the pattern requests. When I tried that method, I got more confused than when I simply change directions when I reach the end of a row.

Before you start, make sure the tail of your yarn is hanging down the front of the project, instead of behind it.

  1. Slip the tip of the right needle through the front of the last stitch on the left needle.
  2. Loop the yarn over the tip of the right needle.
  3. Pull the yarn tight, and press the two needles together. Once you start going quickly, the needles will click together when you do this.
  4. Draw the right needle through the loop just enough to come out on the other side of the existing stitch. Don’t let the loop of yarn drop from the needle.
  5. Let the stitch drop from the left needle. You now have another stitch on the right needle.

Congrats! You’ve just knit a purl stitch.

This basic type of stitch is also used in some more advanced techniques.

Your new purl stitch!
Your new purl stitch! | Source

Different Knitting Stitches

Some patterns will call for you to reduce the number of stitches in a row by purling two stitches together.

Purl Two Together
This is just like the simple purl stitch, but instead of slipping the right needle through one stitch, you slip it through two instead.

You’d use this stitch to reduce the number of stitches in a row. It’s commonly used when making hats, socks and gloves.

Knit Front to Back
This type of stitch is used to increase the number of stitches by one. It’s relatively simple to do, but it can take a little bit of practice.

Follow these steps to do this one.

If you were going to only purl this stitch, you would let the green stitch slip from the blue needle.
If you were going to only purl this stitch, you would let the green stitch slip from the blue needle. | Source
When purling two together, insert the gold needle through two stitches instead of one.
When purling two together, insert the gold needle through two stitches instead of one. | Source
Instead of letting the stitch slip from the blue needle, insert the gold needle through the loop of yarn behind the blue needle and knit one stitch.
Instead of letting the stitch slip from the blue needle, insert the gold needle through the loop of yarn behind the blue needle and knit one stitch. | Source

One of the remarkable things about knitting is how much you can do with just two basic stitches. Although using just one stitch is easier, when you combine purling and knitting, a new world of projects, patterns and textures is opened.

The purl stitch is used for quite a few different reasons.

  • To act as a back-drop for cable stitches
  • To help tighten the fit of cuffs, gloves and socks
  • To add depth to a final project
  • To help establish an overall pattern for a garment or project

Although learning how to knit can be a daunting project to undertake, when you start with the basics, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll be able to complete more complicated projects.

  1. Slip the right needle through the last stitch on the left needle as if you were going to purl.
  2. Pull the yarn over the tip of the right needle, and pull the needle through, so you have a new stitch on it.
  3. Leave the old stitch on the left needle for now.
  4. Draw the yarn between the two needles, and let it hang down the back.
  5. Insert the right needle into the stitch on the left, behind that needle.
  6. Knit a regular stitch.
  7. Pull the old stitch from the left needle.

You’ll be left with one stitch that looks purled, and one that looks knit. However, when you continue with the project, only someone who’s looking for it will be able to see it.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 ESPeck1919

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • ESPeck1919 profile imageAUTHOR

      ESPeck1919 

      5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      I'm so glad it helped!! I also had a very hard time learning out of books, mostly because so many of them were poorly written and the pictures weren't much good.

    • misslong123 profile image

      Michele Kelsey 

      5 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

      The purl stitch for me was SO difficult to learn. I didn't understand based on the books I was reading off of that you had to put the thread in the front of the needle and poke it down rather than up. You did a great job in explaining this stitch. For beginners who only know how to knit, this is a great outlet for learning a new stitch, the second easiest stitch - the purl stitch. Great job! Keep up the good work! :) Michele

    • ESPeck1919 profile imageAUTHOR

      ESPeck1919 

      5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks! LOL I hope it helps her out. ;)

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Cool vid. Know just the niece to recommend it to. She seriously needs some better hobbies lol.

    • ESPeck1919 profile imageAUTHOR

      ESPeck1919 

      5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thank you! It was the easiest way I could think of. :) Glad it worked!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      I love how you use different colors of needles in your photos to make it easier to follow!

    • ESPeck1919 profile imageAUTHOR

      ESPeck1919 

      5 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Thanks!

      And that's exactly how I felt with crochet for quite a while. I'm still struggling to get some of the more complicated patterns down with both knitting and crocheting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Great pics and video! The purl stitch is about all I can do.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)