• Knitting is made up of two (yes, just two!) basic stitches — knit and purl. The purl stitch is sort of like a backwards knit. You create a bump on the right side of your fabric, and 'V' on the wrong side. Pair it up with the knit stitch, and the possibilities are endless.

  • Good to Know

  • We're showing two different ways to hold your yarn when you purl — holding the yarn in your right hand, which is called throwing, or English style, and holding the yarn in your left, which is referred to as picking or Continental. The end result is exactly the same, so choose whichever method feels more comfortable.

  • English Style

    1. 1. To start a new row, make sure the needle with all the stitches is in your left hand, and you're holding your empty needle in your right. You'll use the empty needle to make new stitches, transferring the stitches from the left needle to the right.

    2. 2. Slip your right needle through the first stitch on your left needle. Go through the front of the stitch, moving your needle from right to left. Keep your needles crossed, with your right needle in front.

      Pro Tip

      • Use your left hand to pinch your needles where they cross — this will help stabilize things as you move the yarn.

    3. 3. Hold your working yarn in your right hand, in front of the needles, then wrap the yarn over your right needle.

    4. 4. Move your right needle through the stitch, ending behind the left needle, pulling the wrapped yarn onto your right needle as you do.

    5. 5. Slide the stitch you just worked through off your left needle. That's it! When you work your next purl stitch, make sure you keep the yarn at the front of your work. Then just repeat the steps above for each stitch you want to purl.

      Pro Tip

      • There are lots of ways to hold onto your yarn (sometimes referred to as tensioning). There's no right or wrong way — you can drape it over your pointer finger, pinch it in place, or even drop it completely between stitches. The important thing is to find a way to hold it that lets you also keep a grip on your needles.

  • Continental Style

    1. 1. To start a new row, make sure the needle with all the stitches is in your left hand, and you're holding the empty needle in your right. You'll use the empty needle to make new stitches, transferring the stitches from the left needle to the right.

    2. 2. Hold your yarn with your left hand, keeping it in front of your left needle.

    3. 3. Slip your right needle through the first stitch on your left needle. Go through the front of the stitch, moving your needle from right to left. Keep your needles crossed, with your right needle in front.

    4. 4. Wrap the working yarn over the top of your right needle.

    5. 5. Move your right needle through the stitch, ending behind the left needle, pulling the wrapped yarn onto your right needle as you do.

    6. 6. Slide the stitch you just worked through off your left needle. That's it! When you work your next purl stitch, make sure you keep the yarn at the back of your work. Then just repeat the steps above for each stitch you want to purl.

      Pro Tip

      • The first stitch of the row can feel a little sloppy — that's totally normal! Just make sure your yarn is coming straight down the front of your needle. If you pull it up and over, that first stitch can look like two stitches.

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