Now that you know how to cast on, knit the first row, bind off and yes, even how to read a pattern, you’re probably wondering what in the world the strange word “purl” even means. Sure, you get that the “P” in the pattern stands for purl, but when you come across that P, you’re stuck as to what to do next. Well, don’t worry! This short guide to purling will tell you everything you need to know about the weird and wonderful world of purling.
How to Purl
So what is a purl stitch, exactly? Well, it’s fairly simple. The purl stitch is simply the reverse of the knit stitch. Here’s how to do it:
Read your pattern and cast on the number of stitches it calls for, then hold the needle with the yarn in your left hand and the empty needle in your right.
Insert the right needle from back to front into the first stitch on your left-handed needle. Hold the yarn in front of your work, the right needle in front of the left.
Wrap the yarn around the right-handed needle, right to left.
Once again, insert the right-handed needle into the first stitch on the left needle. You will notice that you now have a stitch on the right needle (if you don’t, try step 1-3 again!). Next, slip the first stitch off the left needle.
Repeat the previous steps until every last one of your stitches is on the right needle. Your left needle should now be empty. It’s like magic!
Switch the needles in your hands so that, once again, the needle with the yarn is in your left hand and the empty needle in your right. Repeat for as many rows as your pattern calls for.
That’s it! Not too bad, right? Purling is an important–and fun!–part of learning how to knit. Stay tuned for future articles on knitting–and as always, make sure to have fun exploring your new hobbies!