Friday, September 19, 2014

Lesson 4: The Purl Stitch

Now that you've been practicing your knit stitch, you should have a square of knitting, something like this:

Now you're ready to learn the purl stitch. The purl stitch is essentially the reverse of the knit stitch. Instead of holding the yarn at the back and pulling the loop through the left stitch toward you, you'll hold the yarn in front of your work and pull the working yarn through the loop away from you. Here's a video, so you can see it in action:

(I think I'm starting to get better at videos. You can hear me breathing in this one, and for that I apologize. I rigged up a harness to hold my real camera on my chest, instead of sitting my laptop backward and using the built in web cam. Better video, worse sound. But I'm getting valuable practice!)

Now you have your first two rows of your second stitch pattern. This is called stockinette stitch, and is going to be one of your most used stitch patterns. Knit a row when the smooth side is facing you, and purl a row when the bumpy side is facing you. It's that simple. As you work, you will find your stockinette knitting curls up on you. That's okay. It's normal for it to do that, because all the "weight" of the stitches is on the back side of the fabric. You can even use that tendency to add design elements like rolled hems and cuffs. For now, just let it do its thing.

Keep going with your stockinette pattern until you have a square of stockinette on top of your square of garter stitch. It will take you fewer rows than you knitted in garter to get a square. Make your last row a purl row, and we will be ready to move on to the next lesson, where we will be learning how to take our knitting off of the needles without unraveling it all, which is a pretty handy thing to know, don't you think? Then we'll look at some fun things you can do with combining knit and purl stitches to make interesting textures. Remember to stay relaxed and enjoy your knitting. And if you're following along, feel free to ask questions, or just show off your first square!

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