How To Purl Stitch: Knitting Basics For Beginners

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How to Purl Stitch

Hey There, thanks for stopping by! I am very excited to share these step-by-step instructions with you to learn how to purl stitch in knitting. Once you know the basics of a knit stitch and purl stitch there are several different knit projects that you can enjoy making. 

perl stitches in knitting

No matter if you are a new knitter or an experienced knitter, there are a few basic knit stitches that you will need to know in order to start following knitting patterns. The two basic stitches that will get you started making knitting projects are the knit stitch and the purl stitch. 

The Basic Stitches

Making a knit row is the basic stitch used in knitting and is likely the first type of stitch you learned how to make when you started to knit. When you make all knitted stitches for the whole row, all of the rows, then you will end up with a project with horizontal ridges on each side of the fabric.

To mix things up you can easily learn how to make a purl stitch. This is what I am going to show you how to do today. It is the opposite of a knit stitch, literally the same just made in the mirror image. The purl stitch is the second basic stitch in knitting. 

A purl row compared to a knit row has the appearance of the back of the stitch made by using a knit stitch. This is because it is made using the reverse motions. When you look at a purl stitch, the purl stitch looks like the back of a knit stitch, with a little bump. 

Because the purl row and knit row stitches are so similar, you can easily alternate them, or create projects using the two to make several different stitch types. This allows you to make may project using these two basic stitches. 

Are you ready to get started? Grab your favorite knitting needles and a ball of yarn, then let’s get started making your first purl stitch! 

The Basic Purl Stitch Step-By-Step Tutorial

Before you Begin

Before you begin making the purl stitch, you will want to cast on your desired number of stitches. 

The Set Up

Before you start making the new stitch, we will first look at the setup for making a purl stitch. Holding in your left hand, you will hold the knitting needle with the cast-on yarn. You will be working the new stitches with the left hand needle. 

The yarn placement is very important for the purl stitch as well. The working yarn should be in front of the work. This is different than the knit stitch, where the working yarn is behind. 

making a purl stitch step 1

Making a Purl Stitch

With the cast-on loops on the left-hand needle, move the first loop toward the tip of the left needle for easier access. 

Place your index finger on the left-hand needle to gently hold the front stitch in place, so that it doesn’t fall off of the needle. 

Move the right-hand needle under the front leg of the stitch at the front of the left needle. 

making a purl stitch step 2

Wrap the yarn around the tip of the right needle. 

making a purl stitch step 3

Pull the new loop on the right-hand needle through the front of the stitch on the left-hand needle to complete your purl stitch. At the same time, you will transfer the new stitch to the right-handed knitting needle. 

making a purl stitch step 4

Repeat this process to make the next stitch until all of your desired purl stitches are made. 

Making a Knitting Project

Once you have gotten the hang of making both the purl and knit stitches, you can create several knitted projects using these two stitch methods. You can alternate the stitches, so that the wrong side rows are all the same, and the back of the fabric looks the same. Or you can alternate stitches, and either change the stitch pattern at the end of the row or repeat the same pattern on the next row. 

The basic knit stitch and purl stitch will allow you to create knitted projects with several different textures and appearances. These two stitches are a fun and easy way to mix things up when making your knitted projects. 

Stitch Patterns Made Using Purl Stitch

Now that you know the basics of a knit and purl stitch, here are a few different types of stitch patterns you might enjoy trying out. 

Garter Stitch Pattern

The garter stitch pattern is made using all knit stitches. This stitch pattern will create rows or stitches that are horizontal to your knitting needles. 

Moss Stitch

In knitting, the moss stitch pattern is made by creating a row of alternating knit and purl stitches. This pattern is made by creating two rows with the same stitches, and then the next two rows of the alternating stitches.

To make this stitch first cast on an even number of stitches then the first row will be made by making a knit and purl stitch alternated. The second row is made by turning, then repeating the same knit one, purl one stitch pattern. Row three is where things get changed up a little bit. Row three and four will be the same, the first stitch will be purl one, then knit one. Repeat these for both rows.

Making these alternating stitch rows gives your knitting a beautiful finish. This gives your knitted fabric a lovely textured appearance. 

knit side of purl stitches

Stocking Stitch

The stocking stitch pattern, also known as the stockinette stitch pattern, in knitting, is one of my personal favorites. It is made by alternating rows of knit stitches and purl stitches. This makes your knitted project have the same texture on each side of your finished project. Doing this makes your project look like it has all knit stitches on one side, and purl stitches on the other side. 

purl knit stitch

Purl Stitch Tips and Tricks

Maintaining Yarn Tension. Being able to maintain an even yarn tension in your knitted projects will go a long way to help your projects have nice even stitches. 

Create a Practice Swatch. When you are learning a new stitch, it is always a good idea to create a small practice swatch before starting your actual project. This will give you the opportunity to practice and get the hang of the new skill. 

Make Loose Stitches. When you are knitting, it is important that your stitches aren’t too tight. When they are tight, it makes them much harder to work with. Also, some yarn squeaks when the stitches are too tight, and that is really annoying to work with! Lol For the best results you will want to keep the yarn nice and loose but even, so that it’s not falling off the knitting needles. 

Purl Stitch Knitting Technique

Learning how to master the purl stitch in addition to the knit stitch is a great skill and will allow you to create several different textured knit projects, simply by learning these two basic stitches. With a little practice, you can begin making all kinds of beautiful, knitted projects.

It is my hope that you have found this tutorial for how to purl stitch very helpful! Now that you know how to make a purl stitch, you can begin practicing and make your own project! Thank you so much for stopping by! Happy knitting! 

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Once you master the purl knitting stitch, you might enjoy moving on to learn the basic rib knit stitch using your newly learned stitch!

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how to purl stitch knitting basics for beginners
About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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