Correcting twisted purl stitches

OK.  I'm getting much better at this knitting thing and I'm getting pickier about leaving mistakes behind.  This being the case, I've gotten pretty good at knitting backwards (or TINKing, as I've heard it called).  Unfortunately, the stitches occasionally get twisted in doing so.

I've learned that I can fix a twisted knit stitch by knitting into the back of the stitch, but when a purl stitch is twisted, the only thing I know to do to fix it is to slip the stitch and slip it back untwisted.  This is fine when there's only a few stitches, but is a real pain when there's a whole row of twisted stitches to fix.  Is there a similar technique to fix a twisted purl stitch in one fell swoop? 

Thanks for your help!

ronhuber's picture

I think you would fix a twisted purl stitch in the same manner.  You would purl into the back of it.  Not one of my favourite things to do, by the way.  Please correct me if I am wrong. 


Warren's picture

Jeff, when you are doing the tinking, you need to ensure that for a knit stitch, insert the left needle into the FRONT of the loop on the right needle and for a purl stitch into the BACK of the loop and you should be fine.  Also, when you look at the "legs" of a stitch on the left needle, the front legs should be closer to the tip of your needle than the back leg.  If it's not, then take the stitch off and turn it around.

Debbie Stoller's book "Stitch 'N Bitch" has an excellent illustration of how the legs should look on your needle. You may be able to find something online as well.


JPaul's picture

I don't think so, Warren.  I think if your tinking, it doesn't matter whether it is a knit or a purl, you still insert the needle into the front of the stitch IF you want your leading leg in front.  That's the important point...that big ol' IF.  It doesn't really matter if the leading leg is in front or back.  I think you already figured that out, Jeff, at least for the knit stitches.  It's the same for purling.

When we make a knit stitch, the right needle enters the stitch from front to back, you wrap it with a loop and pull that loop through to the front of the fabric, the side facing you.  It's not always easy to visualize the front and back of a stitch because it doesn't sit flat on the needle, but if you make a knit stitch and pull the new loop through but don't slide the old stitch off the left needle, instead keep a little tension on the yarn and look at the old stitch.  It should be opened up and trying to lie flat so you can clearly see the left leg and the right leg and the new stitch will be pulling on the right leg because that is the leading's the first leg that will leave the left needle.  For a knit stitch, it doesn't matter if that leg is in front or back as long as your right needle enters the stitch from front to back (it should alway pass IN FRONT OF the leading leg).  It's just the opposite for purl, naturally, because a purl is the back side of a knit stitch.  So the needle enters the fabric, or the stitch, from back to front (the working needle will pass BEHIND the leading leg).  Do a slow knit or purl stitch and look at which leg is in front and back, right or left, is your needle in front of back, etc.  Then turn a stitch on your left needle and see what you need to do to copy those conditions.  It's kind of enlightening if you've always been told that your leading leg must be in front and if it's not, you need to turn it around.

I'm not being at all critical of Warren.  I'm just rereading Knitting for Anarchist after discussing the book with Jesse, and this is one of the most important point she makes in the book.  The funny thing is, I STILL find myself turning stitches so they are sitting "correctly" on the needle, even though I know exactly what to do to make the stitch.

I've been working on a project with SSK's, and for some reason I just cannot tink them correctly, though I haven't spent a lot of time trying to figure it out.  It's easier to just grab the crochet hook.

JPaul's picture

For a SSK, try inserting the left needle into the back of the two, you'll follow the yarn coming from the ball into the stitch...then slip out the right needle and the stitch you are tinking.  NOW, you'll end up with the two stitches on your left needle, but they are sitting with their leading legs behind the needle.  That's fine.  If you just need to knit each stitch when you redo that row, just knit through the back loop.  If you need to reknit the SSK, all you need to do now is basically a K2tog through the back loops.  (When you do a SSK, the slipping is just a way of turning the stitches so the leading legs are in the back, then you knit the two stitches just skip the piece where you put them back on the left needle so they look more familiar and instead you insert the right needle into the slipped stitches to set yourself up for the stitch).

MMario's picture

a twisted or mismounted purl stich can indeed be fixed by purling into the back of the stitch; but I think it's faster to just slip the stitch and remount it and purl normally. In fact - that is what I do when I am suppossed to purl into the back of a stitch. Remount the stitch twisted and then purl into the front.

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