Knitting backwards

I have found multiple sources online about knitting backwards. Unfortunately, they all seem to have different ways of doing it. Some say insert the left hand needle into the stitch on the right hand needle from front to back, others say back to front. Some say wrap yarn clockwise and other say counter-clockwise. Could someone explain the differences and why you would use one way over the other? I’m so confused…:???:


It depends on how you usually knit or purl sts, I guess, and whether you want it to be purled or knit on the other side. Short answer - both. Try out a sample, knit a row, turn and purl a few sts, then stop halfway through the next one, turn it to the other side and see which direction the yarn is wrapped and continue it. That’s for a purl row and you would insert the needle from the front to the back if your knit row is facing you. For a knit row on the other side, again, knit a few sts, then turn and see how the yarn wraps around the needle; it’s probably the same for both purls and knits, but the needle would be inserted from back to front.

I’ve only knit backwards when I wanted to do just that, the knit st backwards: left needle into the back of the stitch from left to right, yarn counterclockwise around the needle. I learned the same way Sue mentioned, by watching what happens to the stitches as I flip back and forth from one side to the other.

I don’t see much use for it unless you’re knitting a small object with frequent knit and purl row changes every few stitches. It’s mostly done by people who detest purling. It’s a cute knitting trick but my opinion is that if someone practices purling the proper way, purling is nothing to be afraid of.

You know, it does come in very handy for entrelac and similar techniques. It’s, as you describe, usually a rather small number of sts and as the item gets longer, it’s painful to knit, turn, purl, turn knit, turn…

Entrelac drove me nuts. Do 5 stitches and turn, do 4 stitches and turn. Knitting backwards is helpful for that. I think I have a link… Have to find it.

What are you making? If its a large project then purling would be easier.

I solved that problem - I make larger squares. For a scarf I did 10 sts, on a throw, I made them 15 sts wide.

I’m working on designing an afghan for my daughter. Her sorority’s national philanthropy is working with hearing impaired children & their mascot is the sea turtle (they’re deaf…who knew!!!). The afghan will be individual black squares with neon pink & green turtles. Being able to back knit will give me a way to change things up to keep from getting bored while doing LOTS of fairly short rows of stockinette.


Wow, sounds wonderful. Please do post a photo if you wouldn’t mind. It would be great to see this finished project.

I agree, be sure to post a pic! :thumbsup:

Will do but it’s going to be a while - I’m just now working on designing the turtle on paper!