Recognizing stitches

This is gonna sound really dumb - but I’m confused again!

One of Amy’s vids says to recognize a knit and a purl, use the stitch on the needle as a head and see if the stitch below is a scarf or a noose - a scarf is a knit stitch, a noose is a purl.

BUT - which way should I be holding the work to look at it? If I look at it as if holding to do the next row, the stitches on the last row look like nooses, but if I turn around to the way it has just been knit they look like scarves.

So as I’m about to knit/purl into a stitch, if it looks like a noose - was it a knit or a purl on the row before?

I had a very hard time with this when I first started knitting because I couldn’t wrap my head around it logically…if i had just done a knit stitch why isn’t it still a knit stitch? But i just had to stop thinking about it and go with what i was being told…lol. You need to look at the stitches as you are about to do them so if you are looking at it and you see a collar it is a knit stitch…if you see a noose (or turtleneck…heh) it is a purl.

If you are doing stockinette then one row is knit and one row is purled. The knit side will look like vvvv and be smooth and flat. The purl side is the bumpy side.

In ribbing you will have the same look, but it will be alternating on both sides. The back of a knit stitch is a purl and the back of a purl stitch is a knit. So if you are ribbing and you start with a knit stitch and do k2p2 ribbing you would start with a purl on the back side:


The side facing you as you are about to knit is the side to look at.

Does this help?

Thank you Both!!!

Thats so much clearer now!

:hug: :muah: :hug: :muah:

If it looks like a noose on the side you are about to work on then it was a knit on the row before. If it looks like a v on the side you are about to work on then it was a purl.

When you are knitting in stockinette and you knit a row, when you flip your needle to start the next row, the side facing you will be all purls. It doesn’t matter which side you look at it from – the stitch on the side you are about to work on is the reverse of what you just did on the previous row.

Does that make sense?


Sometimes I get lost as to what stitch I just knitted, especially when doing ribbing, and a quick easy way to tell, without havign to check for scarves and nooses, is to look at the working yarn.

If it sits in front, you just purled, and if it sits in back you just knitted.

Recognizing the stitches made knitting oh so much easier for me…

My thinking is that a knit stitch on the right side is a purl stitch on the wrong side, and vice versa. Am I in the ozone on that one? I’ve been using the “rule” that you decide if it’s a knit or a purl by the way it looks on the side you’re working on (if you can understand what I’m trying to say). Stitches with scarves (or V’s) are knit stitches and nooses (or turtlenecks) are purls.


Nope, that’s right - the back side of a knit is a purl stitch, the back side of a purl is a knit stitch. And whichever side you’re going to work on is what you work on. Don’t overthink it by trying to figure out what it was on the previous row.


[color=indigo]I am somewhat better at reconizing K and P stitches, but if these are part of a pattern involving, say, YO or K2T or S1, I really get confused. PLUS, I have at best a very foggy grasp of the distinction between the right & wrong sides, particulary because I mostly knit in the round, where garter and stockinette are different creatures indeed. That is, I think . . . .

If I allow myself to think I can recognize what’s what, I am usually headed for a four-star frogging. As Ingrid say, “Just trust the pattern.”


Think of the “right side” as the side you WANT to show. That makes it pretty easy.

[color=indigo]Not really, for me. Too often, both sides look very much alike. I know the difference, but I can’t always see it.[/color][/i]

i know what you mean, especially when u’re doing ribbing in the round :doh:

With ribbing (and garter stitch) it doesn’t matter so much unless/until you get to a point you want or need to do something different. Like increase, decrease, or change to stockinette. You decide which is RS at that point.