Having a hard time knitting into my purl stitches - tension?

I’m making this sailboat discloth…

Some of the rows (I’m up to 17) call for doing some knitting and some purl stitches…

then all of the even numbered rows are supposed to be knit straight across.

I have noticed that when I’m doing an even numbered row, and knitting straight across, that I have a really hard time getting the needle into the purl stitch. I have to stop and work on each one for a few seconds.

Whereas when I’m knitting into a knit stitch, no issues.

I noticed that with the purl stitch, the yarn sits differently (since it’s a different stitch, duh) and the way the yarn is wrapped, just makes it harder to get the needle into.

Is this a normal newbie problem? Or could my tension be too tight on the purl stitches? Or is there something else I’m doing wrong?


i think that it could be both. it is definitely possible that as a “newbie” you are knitting too tight making it harder, but i always find that knitting into a purl stitch is a little tougher just because of the way the stitch is situated. if that is your issue, you will get use to it!

I had that problem with my purl stitches too, at first. I got into the habit of purposely purling loosely so I wouldn’t have to fight with every stitch. It’s a pretty easy habit to get into, I just give the right needle a bit of a pull towards myself just before I slide the stitch off the left one.

Check to make sure you’re doing your purl stitch correctly. If you’re twisting them as you’re purling, it will be difficult to knit into them on the other side. It shouldn’t be so difficult that you have to work so hard at it.

Hmmm, well I watched the purling video again and I don’t think I’m doing the yarn correctly. I don’t know what twisting means or how to tell if I’m doing it, but instead of moving the yarn up, over and under, I’m moving it under and up, if that makes sense?

I will try doing it correctly and see how that works! LOL. Maybe this is why my stitches don’t really look like I thought they would!

That makes sense. Let us know how you make out.

OH! That was it. I did a couple of rows and did my purl stitches the way the video shows, and that made all the difference in the world!

Glad I caught this “OOPS” before my fingers memorized purling that way!

Thanks, everyone, for the help!

I realise this is an old post that I’m posting to, but I came across it as I was looking for suggestions for my own trouble, so throwing in a couple of things I figured out that helped. I’m new to knitting myself, so I’m giving a beginners perspective!

1 Purl stitches feel different on the needle. I assumed that I was not doing them well, and tightening them up made them feel more solid. If you are working knit into purl, you have to take a leap of faith and realise that the next row will bring the stitch together.

2 Because I was concentrating so hard, I was working with my stitches right at the point of the needle. When I moved them back 2-3cm, my tension automatically fixed itself, because the give needed to move the stitch off the needle gave me some slack.

3 As my first time doing This kind of patterned stitch, it was also my first larger piece. As the stitches began to bunch onto the needle, my tension increased. Make sure you slide your stitches down if they are bunching a bit.

4 This may sound dumb, but I’ve found it helps in many situations. When you feel yourself tensing up, and your wool begins to do the same, take a moment for a few deep breaths, whack a smile on your face and start again. Something about smiling while I work relaxes me and the knitting improves.

Hope that helps someone in the future!


Those are some very good suggestions, especially the smiling part. :slight_smile: