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What “Work Even” Means And How To Do It

Blog » Basic Knitting Techniques » What “Work Even” Means And How To Do It

What “Work Even” Means And How To Do It

Liat Gat - Founder

December 28, 2010

"Work even" or "work all stitches as they appear" means to knit all knit stitches and purl all purl stitches. To do so, you much be able to recognize a knit or purl stitch when you see it. Here's how to remember which is which.

“I want to make a hat from the book Boutique Knits. The pattern says to work stitches as they appear. What does that mean?”

Designers instruct you to “work even” or “work stitches as they appear” when they want you to knit all the knit stitches and purl all the purl stitches along a certain row.

In order to do this, you have to know which are the knit stitches and which are the purl stitches.

Here’s a video showing exactly how to recognize knit and purl stitches. I also show you how to see when you guessed wrong, and how to fix it.

KNITFreedom - How to "Work Even" in Knitting - Knit the Knits and Purl the Purls
KNITFreedom - How to "Work Even" in Knitting - Knit the Knits and Purl the Purls

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If you liked this tutorial about how to “work even”, post in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “What “Work Even” Means And How To Do It”

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  1. Thank you Liat. I wish I had this kind of instruction at the beginning of my knitting journey. So so helpful, even today. I find there are times I have to pull out a few rows because I don’t know how to fix a complicated stitch pattern such as KFB, K2tog, in order to create a beautiful pattern. So I can learn all there is to knitting.

  2. I definitely have trouble “working even” on the back of a cable pattern. It’s very hard to tell what is knit and what is purl when they are all twisted about and it makes such a huge difference once you get back to the front.

  3. madeleine dickerson

    Thanks for the video. My additional question is… what if you have several
    yarn overs? On the “work as same ” rows, what do you do about the yarn overs?
    Are they knit, purl, or ???? thanks.

    1. Hi Madeleine, good question! On the wrong side of lace rows, you would usually purl across, including purling the yarnovers. Working even is a little different – knitting the knits and purling the purls. I would assume if you’re on the right side of a lace project and it says to work even, you would knit the yarnovers. That would be my guess :)

  4. I came across a pattern where there are increases on row 1. Row 2 is a p2 k1 across to last 2 sts. Instructions for rows 3 and 4 read “work even in pat.” What the heck does that mean? Would it have been clearer to instruct the knitter to (row 3: repeat row 1; row 4: repeat row 2)? Can you offer some insight?

    1. Hi there, thanks for your comment! Working in pattern is exactly what I show here in this video.

      Once you know how to recognize the knit and purl stitches and work in pattern, it is actually simpler and clearer for the knitter following the pattern to read “Work even in pattern” than it is to repeat the rows themselves. I promise.

  5. please answer this question; Working in pattern is when examplek
    3 p1 is pattern. when the inst.say work in pattern for 3 rows ; is that the pattern? its a mittern and im learning to read instrutions. Thanks and as usual your answers and videos always, help.. you know you taught me Magic Loop and i knitted hats and scarfs for my grands this last christmas.
    oh yes the Work Even Video is very clear!! Thank You so much you are the

    1. Hi Gloria, I’m so happy you like my videos and that they are super-clear. I didn’t know that you used my Magic Loop tutorial to make Christmas gifts for your family- that is so great! Did the Work Even video clear up your question, or are you still confused? Let me know – I am here to help. :)

        1. Hi Tonda,
          It’s great to hear from you! Thank you so much for your comment. I love that you are here asking about me. I am here/back! I’ve been working so hard on KnitFreedom, although I’ve been slow to make any grand announcement.
          I did recently publish a new blog post (for the first time in a year and a half!), you can read it here: New Customer Accounts Are Ready!
          You can always get ahold of me by commenting on the blog, emailing me at [email protected], visiting our Facebook page at I’m here for you! I’ll also start sending out regular emails soon.
          Big hugs and thank you for being such a loyal reader!

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