Hate Purling? You're Gonna Love Knitting Backwards

When I first started knitting, I loved almost everything about it — except purling. I don’t know why I loathed it so. Maybe it was because of the way I held the needles or threw the yarn, but I just. Didn't. Like. It.

Eventually, I found a way to avoid purling altogether (or at least when I'm working in stockinette stitch. This won't work for ribbing and purls on the right side of your work). The technique is called knitting backwards because, um, that's what you do. Instead of turning the work to purl the next row, you simply knit that row backwards.

Knitting backwards comes in handy in a lot of situations. Think about colorwork charts. Whether you're knitting a simple pattern or intricate Fair Isle, charts help you “see” the stitches clearly. Knitting backwards makes following charts a lot easier because you can watch the pattern develop while you work instead of having to reverse the fabric or guess as you purl.

Entrelac knitting is another good knitting-backwards op. In entrelac, you constantly turn your work, knitting one way and then another. Knitting backwards speeds things up and keeps you from getting confused about which side you're supposed to be on.

Knitting backwards also might save the day (and your sanity) when you're working with thin strips or sections too big for I-cord, like an 8-stitch strip. Don't get tangled in your yarn as you flip that thin strip back and forth.

So how exactly do you knit backwards? After you knit a row, keep your work facing you. Insert the left needle into the loop, leaving it behind the right needle.

Wrap your yarn around, back to front, and pull through the stitch, taking the remaining loop off the right needle.

That's it. Pretty simple, right? It may seem a bit awkward at first but pretty soon you will look forward to knitting backwards!

February 22, 2019
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Hate Purling? You're Gonna Love Knitting Backwards