Knits and Purls of Woe

So check this out, I’m an experienced garterstitcher who is trying my hand at knitting a cable into a nice warm toque for the first time ever. This obviously requires a bit knit-purl/purl-knit alternation. Right.

The woe comes in after I’ve stitched my first row and turn the project over to come back the other way - when I reach the stitch where I am meant to switch from a knit to a purl (or purl to a knit for that matter) I find two strands of yarn crossed in an X. So I count my stitches and the number comes out right only if I count this X (which is made up of two strands) as a single stitch. So I stitch through the X as if it were one stitch.

Is this normal? It certainly doesn’t feel right to me. It makes me wonder if I’m doing my purls correctly. I’m a left-handed knitter who learned by watching my mom knit right-handed. Can any experienced knitters out there help me identify my problem? The weather is cold here in Canada and I really need a new toque!

It’s not right. You might not be pulling the old st off the needle completely, so it combines with the new st to make the X. Take a bit of scrap yarn and practice the ribbing for a bit until you figure out how you’re getting the X and how to fix it. Right or left handed should make no difference, but if you’re a continental knitter with the yarn in the left hand, the purls are a little more difficult I’ve heard.

You might also be forgetting to move the yarn when you change stitches. To go from knit to purl you have to move the yarn from back to front, moving it in between the needles before doing the stitch. To go from purl to knit, you move the yarn from front to back in the same way.