The Purl Stitch is the second of two basic stitches that form the basis of knitting. In fact, the Purl Stitch is simply the Knit Stitch in reverse. Usually, it is the second stitch that you learn as a knitter. And here, you will learn the Purl Stitch Continental style.
Knit stitches make a smooth V-shape on the side that is facing you when you are knitting. Conversely, purl stitches make a small horizontal bump on the side that is facing you.
If you turn around a Knit Stitch, you will be able to see the bump that is characteristic of the Purl Stitch.
Likewise, if you look at the back of a Purl Stitch, you will see the V that is characteristic of the Knit Stitch.
When you knit one row of just knit stitches and then one row of just purl stitches, you create the Stockinette Stitch.
By alternating between 1 Knit Stitch and 1 Purl Stitch for a whole row, you create a 1×1 rib pattern, perfect for hats, top of socks, the wrist of a mitten, etc.
You can combine knit and purl stitches to a lot of wonderful and interesting stitch patterns.
As with the Continental Style Knit Stitch, you also hold the working yarn in the left hand for the Purl Stitch Continental Style.
You will typically see the Purl Stitch abbreviated in patterns with a “p”.
Starting with the Continental Purl Stitch
In this knitting tutorial, you will learn how to make the Continental Purl Stitch.
As you are becoming a more proficient knitter, you will find that there are many variations of Purl Stitch Continental Style.
However, since we cannot cover all the variations here, we have chosen to show the most common one in this tutorial.
Before you start on the tutorial, we suggest that you cast on and knit one row first. In case you need a reminder, here are the tutorials that will get you to this point:
- Making A Slip Knot
- Learn How To Do The Slingshot Position
- How To Do A Long-tail Cast On
- Learn How To Do A Knit Stitch Continental Style
Step-by-Step Purl Stitch Continental Style Tutorial
As with the Knit Stitch, begin by holding the working yarn taut between your left index and middle fingers.
While keeping the working yarn taut, grab the needle with the stitches on with your left hand. The working yarn should be in front of your left-hand needle.
Insert the right-hand needle into the first stitch from right to left, forming an X with the right-hand needle in front. Make sure that the right-hand needle passes behind the working yarn, i.e between the working yarn and the stitch.
Move your left index finger down and to the front. The working yarn should now be taut over the tip of the right-hand needle.
Use the right-hand needle as a “hook” and pull the working yarn through the stitch.
Slip the purled stitch off the left-hand needle.