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Topic: Please help my newbie knitting self learn how to purl stitch!  (Read 893 times)
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noturavggeek
"This is my art, and it is dangerous! Do you think I want to die like this?" Delia Deetz
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« on: July 29, 2010 08:00:04 AM »

Okay, so backstory: I've crocheted for about 18 years now (YIKES!). I taught myself tunisian stitch, yada yada, decided it was time to learn how to knit.

I figured out how to mostly follow basic/newbie patterns, only made a few scarves so far...the problem is, I can't seem to pull off a purl stitch! Knit stitch, no problem what so ever, but purl.... I can't get my hands to cooperate, it doesn't feel comfortable/natural. Idk if it's because I've crocheted and held my hands a certain way for so many years that they fear change? I knit stitch very similar to how I would crochet, so I'm comfortable with it. I've continually tried a few techniques for purl, and sat there diligently keeping at it thinking it would become more comfortable as I go along, and it isn't.

So my cry for help is to all longtime crocheters to new knitters, new knitters, knitting jedi masters... Is there a certain way, method that was more comfortable for you to learn?
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striker923
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010 08:36:56 AM »

When I was first learning to knit, I too mastered the knit stitch quickly but couldn't really "get" the purl stitch.  I discovered knittinghelp.com who has a video on the purl stitch and figured out what I was doing wrong! After that, things just clicked!  Check it out: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/purl-stitch

If you're holding the yarn in the left hand (as I suspect since you were a crocheter first) then you want the Continental video.  If you decided to learn to knit holding the yarn in your right hand, you want the English method.  There are two other purling methods here and those might be useful for you too, but I would start with either the Continental or English method one.  Good luck!
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noturavggeek
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2010 09:11:40 AM »

Thanks! Yep, I hold the yarn in my left hand....so does that make me a left handed knitter? I tried the english method, with holding it in the right hand and "throwing" it, and I realized it "wasn't for me", lol.
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soozeq
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2010 10:41:10 AM »

You're left handed only insofar as you hold your yarn in the L hand, that's called continental knitting. True left handed knitting is when your sts are on the R needle and you knit them onto the empty L needle.

What you may be doing is wrapping the yarn the same way you're used to in crocheting, and that's 'backwards' for the usual way it's wrapped in knitting. The yarn should wrap the needle in the same direction for both the knit and purl stitch, regardless which hand you hold it in. The only difference is how the R needle enters the stitch - from the front side to the back for a knit, from the back to the front for a purl. Your sts may be coming out twisted if this is the way you wrap.

Look at the Combined Purling method at knitting help; that may be how you're purling. Then look at the Combined knitting method on the Knit st page which will show you how to do the knit stitch so you can knit into the purl without getting twisted stitches.
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sue
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2010 06:23:06 AM »

Okay, I've discovered that I'm definitely comfortable with combined knitting. Apparently I was originally attempting to combined knit and continental purl.  So now for a stupid question....My stitches seem kinda loose, and I know I'm using the right sized needles for the yarn, so would I go down a needle size to counteract this? I've been working on the tension, making sure I don't stretch out what I'm working on etc. I tend to be a tight crocheter, so I usually go up a hook size to maintain gauge, but this is throwing me.
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striker923
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2010 07:48:52 AM »

Okay, I've discovered that I'm definitely comfortable with combined knitting. Apparently I was originally attempting to combined knit and continental purl.  So now for a stupid question....My stitches seem kinda loose, and I know I'm using the right sized needles for the yarn, so would I go down a needle size to counteract this? I've been working on the tension, making sure I don't stretch out what I'm working on etc. I tend to be a tight crocheter, so I usually go up a hook size to maintain gauge, but this is throwing me.

Wow, a new knitter and your stitches are loose?? Usually new knitters knit and purl too tightly, so good for you! Check the gauge in your pattern, if you have less stitches on your needles than what the gauge states then you should try going down a needle size. For example if your gauge is supposed to be 16 sts per 4 inches (4 sts per inch) and the swatch you've knitted is 15 or 14 stitches per 4 inches than you should go down to a smaller needle.  If it is the opposite and you have MORE stitches on your needle (18-20) than you need to go to a larger sized needle.
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noturavggeek
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2010 09:06:41 AM »

Thanks! I started wrapping the yarn differently around my fingers then how I do for crocheting, so I think that's what's keeping me from having too tight stitches.
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soozeq
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2010 08:35:38 PM »

Yeah, loose sts are better than tight ones and you may find as you get more experience your tension will change again. But for now, just go down in needle size if you want to match a gauge.
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sue
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2010 11:58:22 AM »

I'm a crocheter turned knitter who knits continentally and just recently got comfortable with purling the correct way.

How I finally got it was by figuring out a way to hold the working yarn: I wrap it once around my pinkie and twice around the top section of my pointer finger.



This keeps it tight and easy to grab. I have to hold my purling yarn tighter than my knitting yarn, which may be the case with you, too, to help tight up your stitches a bit.

I had been purling the wrong way (by grabbing the working yarn so it was behind my needle), but that only meant that I had to knit through the back loop. I will probably continue to do it that way when I just do straight stockinette on something because it is soooo much easier to purl that way.

However, I started the Clapotis (which is the project in the picture), which meant I had to learn how to purl the right way because the Clapotis pattern makes you knit through both the front loop and the back loop, so the way I was used to knitting would have been too confusing for me.

Good luck and I hope this helps a bit.
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noturavggeek
"This is my art, and it is dangerous! Do you think I want to die like this?" Delia Deetz
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2010 06:57:42 AM »

Thanks for the advice everyone! I think I'm pretty well getting the hang of it. Now I just need to decid what kind of circular needles to get and whether or not I want to bite the bullet, as they say, and just buy a set of knitpicks interchangeables Undecided. I don't need any regular knitting needles, I got a ton passed down to me from my great-grandmother.
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