Combination Knit-Purl

I have recently tried doing "combination" knit purl. I love the purl stitch and I am getting used to knitting the knit stitch trhough the back. However, my stockinette does not look the same. The pattern is less defined. Any insights?


Crafty Andy's picture

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Whenyou knit from the back your stitch will have a twist in it. Some patterns are like that. There is no right or wrong way of knitting, but knitting the stitch from the back will cause your stitch to be slanted! If that is not what you want it to do the you can change the way you knit. This is what the fun of knitting is, you make your own rules yo know!

potterdc's picture

Hi Gary,

I'm confused when you say "I'm getting used to knitting the knit stitch through the back." That DOES twist the knit stitch, and as Andy pointed out, it is not necessarily wrong. It is commonly used in Aran knitting, by the way, because it does create a slightly tighter fabric. However, it will change the appearance of the fabric and is not the usual way to knit a stitch (ie, when it is called for in a pattern, it is called a twisted knit stitch, otherwise a pattern assumes that you are knitting through the front). I'm curious why you say you're getting used to it?

Wondering in DC,

Think less, enjoy it more.

Think less, enjoy it more.

fuzzed's picture

He might not be getting twisted knit stitches if the way he's purling ends up untwisting it. My understanding is that that's what makes it combination knitting.

HuskerChub's picture

Hi Gary,
I guess I'm as confused as most. Please define "combination knitting", I've been knitting for more than 20 years and have not heard this term used. OK, so Google is my friend too...Annie Modesitt and others are using this term to define what is usually called "eastern uncrossed continental", some people also call this a lazy purl as it is soooooooo much easier than purling in regular continental knitting. The reason that it is not looking the same or as smooth is most likely a tension issue and will have to work itself out with time and experimentation. Look on the back side of the work and you will most likely see 2 purl rows close to each other and then one row between that has a larger space (hope this makes sense). In regular continental knitting the purl rows are usually slightly looser than the knit rows so I'm thinking in your case you may need to loosen your knit rows? You will need to do some test knitting to figure out if I'm wright or not.

One word of caution with this method. You will need to understand and translate all patterns (or at least 98%) that you come across that has decreases in them. If you are knitting from charts it is MUCH easier to make this translation. What I'm saying is if a pattern calls for you to ssk or s1, k1, psso, the pattern writer is asking you to make a left slanting decrease. If you are knitting using combination knitting, your stitches are not sitting on the needles correctly for this action to create a left leaning decrease. You will have to, instead, do a K2Tog TBL. K2Tog would normally be a right leaning decrease. To understand this further, read Annie's site about decreasing.

Hope this helps and good luck!