My purls have been all WRONG

OGM i just found out that i’ve been purling the wrong way :wall: Apperantly when you purl you insert the needle and carry the yarn OVER and UNDER the needle then pull through. All this time…all this time that i’ve been knitting i’ve been inserting the needle and carrying the yarn UNDER and OVER the needle and then pulling through :wall: . AARRRGGHHH…Well its it really wrong if the end result still looks the same??? i did a test and if i yarn O&U all the way through the entire row it looks fine but if i try to yarn O&U half way through the row and then try to switch to U&O then there’s an obvious mistake. Hummmm am i really doing it wrong…does anyone purl like me?? :help:

I’m positive that someone has purled like this before so no worries! It’s pretty common to find out that you’ve been doing a stitch wrong especially when you are learning.

If you are happy with the end result then I don’t see a problem with it. There are NO rules in knitting. :wink:

raises hand I did it that way for months. when it was harder to knit after a purl row i just assumed that was how it was supposed to be. it took me a LONG time to get the groove of purling the other way.

of course when i finally did, someone said that you can knit into the back of the stitch and that fixes it. :doh:

basically when you knit like that, you are twisting the stitch. hard to see unless you actually look at the two together like that. :roll:

I just found out I’ve been knitting wrong! I was wrapping the yarn clockwise, instead of counter-clockwise. (I knit English, for reference.)

It looks the same to me, and it’s not any easier to get the needle in, so :shrug:

I didn’t discover that I was purling the “wrong” way until I learned to pick the yarn with the right needle instead of throwing. Once I learned “continental” purling (and I put it in quotes because I’ve learned that there are many, many different definitions of what continental knitting really means) I figured out that my purls were backwards and I fixed it. Some people will say that it’s wrong, however I think it makes a cool fabric when you’re working back-and-forth. If you don’t mind the way it looks or the way it works while you’re knitting it, then who’s to say that it’s “wrong”?

Purl away!

thats so funny aylaanne :teehee: thats how i found out i was doing it wrong too I was trying to also learn continental knitting. Then i watched this video and she clearly says (6:40 into the video) that the way i was purling was the WRONG way.

I purl your way all the time, then on the return I just knit into the back of the stitch. The resulting fabric is the same. I think it’s easier and unless someone is watching you no one will be able to tell on the finished project. It is good to know how to knit in a variety of ways, in a sense how to “read” your stitches—especially as you start to do more complicated stitch patterns.


I had been knitting for years the way my mother taught me – we held our yarn in our left hand so I assumed I was knitting continental.

I didn’t know many people who knit other than my mom, gramma and auntie and they all knit like me.

When my son was old enough to join a playgroup, I started meeting other knitters who knitted English style. I watched them knit and noticed that they knit their knit stitch through the front of the loop. I had been knitting all along through the back of the loop. I realized that it was so much easier to knit garter stitch through the front so I adapted my knit stitch to the front of the loop but continued to purl the way I had been taught.

When I attended my first knitting class to learn how to make socks the instructor watched me knit, noted my difficulty in getting my gauge anywhere near what the pattern called for and told me I was purling wrong. I was doing exactly what you were doing – inserting the needle and wrapping the yarn UNDER and OVER the needle and then pulling through.

She showed me how to purl by wrapping the yarn over and then under the needle and pulling it through and my stitches were more even and I was getting my gauge every time.

This is what I figured out – when you knit through the front of the loop and then purl the way we were purling you are twisting the purl stitch – when you knit through the back of the loop like I was doing in combination with purling the way we were purling it is called combination knitting like on Anne Modesitt’s site.

Watch this movie:
[color=blue]Combination Knitting[/color]

Or you can check out this:
[color=blue]Combination Purl Stitch[/color]

Does this help?


Funny! I thought I was the only one who had that problem…I would insert my needle from the left side of the stitch instead of the right, wrap the yarn over, and pull the stitch over the yarn (with my fingers! :wall: It drove me nuts!): that would create a looser purl stitch. I don’t remember how I ended up learning the correct way, but I’m glad I did; it’s so much easier to purl now!

Ha! This post made me re-watch the videos, and as it turns out, I have been combination-purling and continental-knitting. That would explain wy my k1tbl p1 hat is reversible… I kept looking at it and wondering why the stitches were twisted on both sides. Good to be aware of, at least![/b]

:oops: I purled like that for a good three months or so before a mean yarn store lady set me stright. I had watched a Knitty Gritty eppisode where they were knitting combonation style, and I decided to try it. Turns out I had been knitting English style but purling combonation style. Whoops :teehee:

Isnt that combined purling? I think it is! :happydance: :happydance:

my story:
I learned to knit from my mom who’s left-handed and somehow that translated into me knitting through the back loops but purling fine, and despite the many baby sweaters for church sales I sent her, she never noticed everything was twisted.
and nobody else did either!
for a whole year this went on.
and then finally I watched the videos on this very site and figured out why none of the books made sense when they started in on orientation, and how to leave my stitches open so I can make patterns, :woohoo: but now everything looks kind of crap and my stitches are huge. I hope it just takes more practice. :verysad:

PS your avatar is very exciting.

I think if you mix a regular knitting stitch with a combined purl and all you do is knit stockinette or garter, no one will ever be the wiser.

It’s when you want to attempt other pattern stitches that the twisted purl effects the pattern and it doesn’t look quite right.

At least that’s what happened to me!


You’re not alone!
I’m a fairly new knitter (knitting since November), and I realized within a couple weeks that I was doing something that caused the stitches to orient themselves in a different way then all the books showed.
I finally realized that I was combination knitting, which I was ok with, and I figured out how to knit into the back of the stitch, so that the stitches wouldn’t be twisted.
Only today when I started my first pair of socks with magic loop did I realize that combination knitting doesn’t exactly work (at least for me) while knitting circular. It means that I have to purl from the back, and it’s not so easy! I checked out the video here to refresh myself on purling, and am knitting english style for the sock, with the “correct purl”.
But if I’m knitting on straights, then I will probably always knit combination… it’s so much faster for me that way!

I went a whole year knitting the knits the wrong way, in the same way that you are describing your problem! Glad you caught it though, better to be in the know, and not. :smiley:

I used to purl the wrong way. When I first started, for some reason I kept yarning over in the clockwise direction instead of counter clockwise.

[color=indigo]Not to worry. I purled like that for 16 years, and no one ever commented on it.

Purl on, chere, purl on!


I did the same thing for months and months and months and sat cussing at my knit rows because I couldn’t get the needles in to the purl above.

I posted on here asking why it was so hard and someone told me what I was doing wrong - I felt soooo Stoooopid for a while after that until I realised that everybody does it and we’re all as daft as each other :teehee: