Purl Stitch - Continental or American

Note: This is a compiled version of the Purl Stitch tutorials in my How to Knit series.

Purling is the technique use to create a stitch that reverses the parts of a knit stitch, so the bump faces you and the "V" is on the back. That may not make sense now, but it will after you have worked a few rows of alternating knit and purl stitch and see how each side of the fabric looks.

Rules Of Purl Stitch

Whether you are working in Continental or American style, the purl stitch has the same rules of formation:

  • Working yarn goes in front of the needles

  • Right needle is inserted into the first stitch on the left needle from right to left through front leg of stitch

  • Working yarn goes from right to left, top to bottom between the needles

  • Finished stitch should have the right β€œleg” of the stitch in front of the needle

How To Do It

Purl Stitch: Continental Style

In Continental Style, the working yarn is held in your left hand. Holding it in such a way as to achieve correct tension is key. Please see Holding the Yarn.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:


Purl Stitch: American/English Style

In American (also known as English) style, the working yarn is held in the right hand. Creating proper tension by pulling on the yarn after wrapping is key. Please see Holding the Yarn.

Download a 1-page PDF of this photo tutorial here:


Download a 1-page PDF Photo Tutorial here:

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