Can't continuously purl?


My Mum taught me to knit when she came to visit a few days ago and I was practising doing several rows of garter stitch and then several of purl and I was fine. Now she’s gone I can only do garter stitch. I’ve watched all the videos I can find on the purl stitch (English method) and I just can’t do them continuously. The actual method I understand. So much so that the first one comes out as it should. However the second row doesn’t. If I look on the side of the wool facing away from me then it has worked but not on the side facing me. It’s like it alternates back and forth. Can someone please explain where I’m going wrong?

Thanks in advance.

If you knit every row, as you’ve probably been doing, you get garter stitch. If you purl every row, you also get garter stitch. Is that what you’re seeing? You can get the stockinette pattern (knit Vs on one side and purl loops on the other side) if you knit one row and then purl the next row and keep alternating knit and purl rows.

Knits and purls are opposite stitches:
When you knit, the stitch looks like a knit on the side facing you, but like a purl on the side away from you.
When you purl, the stitch looks like a purl on the side facing you, but like a knit on the side away from you.

Since you claim that things look okay (like a purl) on the opposite side, it is probably that you are really knitting stitches rather than purling.

And, when you switch from knit to purl or purl to knit the first row may not be so obvious in its distinction (especially if you are a new knitter). But, if you work a few more rows then the pattern will become more evident.

Also, when you work multiple rows of knits OR purls you will always get garter stitch. i.e. it will look the same. You have to work stockinette stitch (one row knit, next row purl) in order to keep knits looking like knits and purls looking like purls.

Thanks for such a quick reply!

I’m feeling quite embarrassed now though! Amidst all my confusion I’d decided that constant purl had to look like stockinette stitch… That’s why I couldn’t understand why the flat v’s were alternating sides!

So in that case I can only assume I’d been doing it right to begin with? I realise I do achieve garter stitch with constant knit or with constant purl.

I knew I should have stuck to crochet :slight_smile:

Don’t stick with crochet. :lol: I mean crochet all you want but don’t abandon knitting, and don’t be embarrassed. Knitting is a very mysterious art and things that seem obvious once you learn them can be totally baffling. We’ve all been there (still are at times when learning new things).

It’s great to be learning something new and it sounds like your making good progress. Keep trying new combinations just to play around with the sts and rows and see what heppens. Your question was a good one.
Welcome to knitting and to KnittingHelp!

Well done! :yay: Not only were you doing better than you realized, you created a learning opportunity for yourself and others. I did abandon knitting and went back to just crocheting, then I found this forum and decided that yes, I can knit. If I can do, anyone can do it.

It definitely makes learning a lot easier knowing there are forums like this to help when I get stuck!

And don’t be embarrassed, either. I’d bet a good many of us did the exact same thing when we were learning. Knitting seems simple when you’ve been doing it for years. It isn’t when you first start out, and all the stuff that seems obvious twenty or thirty years down the road is NOT obvious when you’re a week into it!

Save yourself some fuss right now: when you start a piece, stick a safety pin or a piece of yarn or anything you have on what you want to be the outside/public side/right side of the work. Also, keep some Post-Its or scrap paper and a safety pin handy, especially when you’re working on something complicated, and when you have to lay down the work in a hurry, take enough time to scrawl “Row 17 DONE” or something like that. Not that I’ve ever got the sides of work mixed up…or forgot which row I was on…or knitted with the cast-on tail (just did that the other night AGAIN…):roflhard:

Not all newbies know this. You can knit all rows to get a garter stitch or purl all rows to get garter. I know one knitter who does her garter stitch by all purling.