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Knit and Purl

K – Knit – American

In this style (most common for beginners), the yarn is tensioned in the right hand.


The Knit Stitch - American Style
The Knit Stitch - American Style

To Do the K – Knit Stitch – American Style:

Start with your working yarn behind the right-hand needle.

With the yarn tensioned in the fingers of your right hand,

  1. Insert the right needle into the first stitch on your left-hand needle from the front to the back.
  2. Cross the needles and pinch them with your left thumb and pointer finger to stabilize them. Don’t drop the yarn from your right hand.
  3. With your right pointer finger, wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the back of the right-hand needle.
  4. Use the needle tip to pull the yarn back through the loop on the left needle.
  5. Let the stitch move off of the left-hand needle and on to the right.


K – Knit – Continental

In Continental-style knitting, hold the working yarn with your left hand.


The Knit Stitch - Continental
The Knit Stitch - Continental

To Do the K – Knit Stitch – Continental Style:

  1. With working yarn in the left hand, insert the right-hand needle from front to back into the first stitch on the left-hand needle.
  2. Wrap the right needle counterclockwise around the tensioned yarn.
  3. Pull the yarn through the stitch on the left-hand needle.
  4. Move the completed stitch to the right-hand needle.


P – Purl – American

In this style (most common for beginners), the yarn is tensioned in the right hand.


The Purl Stitch - American Style
The Purl Stitch - American Style

To Do the P – Purl Stitch – American Style:

  1. Turn your knitting so that the bumps face you.
  2. Put the working yarn in front of the right needle.
  3. Insert the right needle through the stitch from back to front.
  4. Pinch the needles to hold them steady.
  5. Wrap the yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle.
  6. PUSH the new loop through the stitch on your left-hand needle.
  7. Slide the stitch off the left-hand needle and push it down the barrel of the right-hand needle.


P – Purl – Continental

In Continental knitting, the yarn is tensioned in the left hand.


Purl - Continental
Purl - Continental


Recognizing a Knit and Purl Stitch

The hallmark of a knit stitch is that it looks like a “V” (I like to think of a V-neck sweater).

The hallmark of a purl stitch is that is it looks like a horizontal line “–” (I like to think of a turtleneck sweater). This is called the “purl bump.”

These two stitches are the fundamental stitches of knitting. Each stitch is the exact opposite of the other – it’s really just one stitch, seen from either side.


Recognizing a Knit or Purl Stitch
Recognizing a Knit or Purl Stitch


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