How to Knit the Purl Stitch

Knitting is a very relaxing hobby. The Knit stitch and the Purl stitch are the only stitches used when knitting any garment. Looking at the underside of the Purl Stitch, or turning it around, you see the Knit stitch. You cannot knit one, without also knitting the other. The Knit stitch is the lower or flat one, and the Purl is the higher bumpy looking stitch. A combination of both, knitted by following a pattern, is what makes sweaters look different.


  1. Hold the needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand and the other needle in your right hand.

  2. Push the tip of the right needle up into the first stitch on the left needle, so that it crosses in front of the left needle.

  3. Keep the yarn in front of the needles.

  4. Hold the yarn nice and tight in your hand and wrap it counter clockwise around the tip of the right needle.

  5. Gently pull the tip of the right needle back towards you through the first loop, taking the yarn with it. Slowly pull the right needle all the way through.

  6. Make sure that you do not pull too hard or you will pull the needle right out.

  7. Carefully pull this new loop to the tip of the left needle and let the loop slide off.

  8. Look at the first purl stitch on the right needle.

  9. Purl all the cast on stitches in the same way to produce a row of purled stitches.

  10. Purl your second row in exactly the same way as the first and watch as your purled fabric begins to grow.
  11. Instead of purling your second row, you can knit it instead. This will create what is called the stockinette stitch.

  12. One side of your fabric will be smooth and the other will be bumpy giving a very professional finish. Stockinette stitch is a popular choice for knitters everywhere and will allow you to knit almost anything you want.

  13. Knit the ribbed stitch for cuffs of a sweater, and the finished bottom of the sweater. The stitches can be K2,P2,continued in that pattern. Note that the bumpy or pearl stitch can be seen on the rib, in between the knits stitches. A more tight rib, might use K1,P1.


  • Many sweaters are made with knit one row, purl the next row, so that the outside of the sweater is not bumpy but smooth, just like a bought sweater. The inside, the side next to your body, has the bumps.
  • Look at a store bought sweater for an example.
  • There are versions of the knit one, purl one. You can make two and two, or any combination that the instructions ask for.
  • Knit a cuff or the bottom of a sweater, with knit one, purl one, then knit one purl one. Continue this for the length you want to get a ribbed pattern for the cuff.
  • Practice with large needles. It is easier to learn. As soon as you get the hang of making the stitches, use the smaller sized needles, as suggested on the pattern you want to knit.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting needles
  • A smooth, large weight pure wool yarn
Knitting Terms & Abbreviations
How to knit
How to Purl
How to Read a Knitting Pattern
How to Join Yarn
How To Knit The Cable Stitch

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