After All This Time.....

I found out that I have been making my purl stitches incorrectly. My knit stitches are correct, but it seems I have been wrapping my yarn around the needle clockwise instead of counterclockwise when purling. I guess this is call the "Combined Purl" and results in a twisted knit stitch. Don't know how or why I came about doing my purl stitches this way. I swear that was how the instructions I learned from showed how a purl stitch is done. It seemed very logical and very natural for my hands and fingers to work the yarn this way (I am an English knitter).

Not a HUGE deal though since I really haven't done any flat knitting in AGES!!! Any purl sitches I do in the round are for ribbing and the knit stitch is never seen and I see no noticable difference in the purl bump on the right side of the work. Nor have I noticed any differences in my right or left slanting decreases when working in the round.

I do have several pieces of an unfinished ribbed sweater stashed in the closet, waiting for me to complete the second sleeve and seam everything together. I haven't touched it in at least six months. THese were all done as flat pieces and I guess every other row of knit stitches on the right side of the fabric are twisted. Still, no huge deal since I really do like the look of the sweater and it's such a fine guage I don't think anyone except the pros will notice, and only if they're looking VERY closely at the work. I will have to remember that when I do finish the second sleeve that I continue to do the "Combined purl" so that it matches the rest of the work.

It was a revelation that came to me about 2AM this morning as I was standing in my kitchen waiting for my dogs to come in. I often have such revelations at this hour.

Well, that's my moment of embarrassment. Yes, I am embarrassed, but not ashamed since I'm willing to come here and share it with all of you.

You can resume your knitting now (and your correct purling).



MMario's picture

it is not so much a case of "incorrect" as "differently" - - if you are satisfied with the result - then it is not "incorrect".

Just as in lace knitting - one knitter will hate anything done with larger then a size 3 needle when using lace yarn - and another won't work lace on any needle smalled then an 8.

Different strokes for different folk, marching to a different drummer and all that rot. It's true though.

And if it is NECESSARY to flat knit and not twist every other row - then you can just knit into the backs of every other row - thus untwisting the stitches.

MMario - who took 40 years to learn to purl *at all* let alone correctly or incorrectly.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Aaronknits's picture

I guess my drum beat has always been "different" so it's really no surprise! But I do like the beat!

I was watching the videos on and they explained how to do the knit stitch if you do the combined puring method. I figured it was just easier to practice the "correct" method of purling which, after several rounds, started to become more natural. Of course, now that I've been up since 2AM I'm REALLY ready for a nap!!! Unfortunately, I must now sit at my desk at work and try to get through the day!

Oh, don't feel alone. When I first started knitting I blazed away for a year knitting into the back loop with abandon. Scarves, shawls, you name it.

The discovery was paralyzing . . . =^D
आदि लक्ष्मी
Yahoo Id: stickywarp2001

Chris Vandenburg's picture

Hey Aaron,

Nothing knit-wise to contribute here but it reminded me of an old Burns and Allen bit where George is trying to guess what Gracie wants for Christmas.......

Gracie: Remember George when we first got married you bought me a pearl on a string and promised to add to it every year?

George: Is that what you want for Christmas Gracie, for me to add to it again?

Gracie: Oh no George, the string is so long now I keep stepping on the pearl!

Aaron happy purling no matter how you do it,


"If a man has cream at home in the refrigerator he won't go out looking for 2% butterfat"
............Erma Bombeck

grandcarriage's picture

It is a very good idea to be flexible. Purl or knit which ever way is fastest\easiest for you, and "read the stitches as they next appear on the needle, going through the front or back as necessary to keep stitches from being twisted if desired. If your gauge is correct and the finished fabric holds together, then you are knitting correctly. The method you took to get there makes no-never mind. Try all methods and do whatever makes you happiest (says Bob, who is working on learning to do continental going "backward" (he always "threw" going right to left needle).

Not tonight honey: I'm knitting...

kiwiknitter's picture

Bob, If and when you get the hang of doing Continental in "backwards" knitting, let me know. I was trying to do it with a scarf I just finished but it was absolutely beyond my abilities! Jesse

My knitting is totally tubular!

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

VillageKnittiot's picture

Firstly, at my house, we could call that a "Design Element." As with any 'mistake' that you have done consistenly through a project it is no longer a mistake since it matches everything else.

I think however if you wanted to continue purling in that fashion, I think the normal way of knitting in combined is to knit through the back loop and this will untwist the stitch. I think you'll notice that combined knitting seats the stitches backwards on the needles.



knit4brains's picture

This reminds me of the time that I taught a former male roommate of mine how to knit. I showed him how to knit and purl and how to do a 2 x 2 rib. However when I went back to look at his progress, he had about 20 different stitches. I asked him how he did it and he said, "well I started thinking about what would happen if I stuck the needle in a different hole than the one you told me to, or if I wrapped the yarn around twice instead of once. All of this is a long way of saying that we wouldn't have the great variety of stitches, or the "art" of knitting if we weren't willing to risk doing it differently.

With just a minor adjustment as to where you insert the needle, you can continue using the combined method and not twist your stiches. It's less motion than the "correct" method you are practicing, and so will be faster and give you a more even tension in the long run.