How to Purl Stitch Knitting Technique

Easily learn how to Purl Stitch Knitting Technique in 4 basic steps.

We can think of Purling as creating an inverted Knit stitch. When you insert your needle from the top of a loop and pull a new loop up and through the first stitch, you are purling.

Hands purl stitch with knitting needle and white color yarn.

4 Steps to Purl Stitch in Knitting

After you understand how to Knit Stitch, you are ready to learn this other basic stitch in knitting. You are able to create amazing knit stitch patterns with just these two stitches. Once you see the abbreviation “P” in future knitting patterns, you’ll be purling stitches like a pro!

In your knitting, for each stitch, there is a Knit and Purl side. It’s like the head and tail of a coin. Each Stitch (coin) has a Knit side (head) and a Purl side (tail).

STEP 1: Prepare needles and yarn

  • Hold the knitting needle with the stitches on it in your left hand.
  • Hold the knitting needle without any stitches in your right hand.
  • With the yarn in the front of your work, insert the right needle from back to the front of the first stitch, or you can think of it as straight into it. Your right knitting needle will be resting over your left needle.

How to Purl Stitch: Step 1


STEP 2: Wrap yarn in a downward counter-clockwise motion

  • Starting with your yarn in the front, wrap your yarn around the right side of your right needle counter-clockwise direction, finishing with your yarn in the front of your needles again.

How to Purl Stitch: Step 2


STEP 3: Slide right needle with yarn on it

  • Slide the right needle down and bring the point from front to back of the stitch, bringing the yarn with it.

Learn How to PURL STITCH in the Absolute Beginner Knitting Series by Studio KnitHow to Purl Stitch: Step 3


STEP 4: Pull new loop off the left needle

  • Slip the old stitch off the left needle. Now the new stitch is on your right needle.

How to Purl Stitch: Step 4



  • Repeat these four steps for each stitch on your left needle.
  • At the end of the row, all the new purled stitches are on your right needle now and your left knitting needle is empty.

Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions About the Purl Stitch

What is the origin and spelling of Purl in Knitting?

Many beginners mistake this often heard term as the “pearl stitch” or “pearling.” However, the proper spelling is “purl stitch” and “purling.” The origin of this word purl is derived from the Middle English word Pirl, which means twist.

What does the abbreviation P mean in knitting?

The abbreviation P in knitting means to Purl Stitch.

What is the difference between the knit and purl stitches?

When making a knit stitch, the wrong (back) side of your work will have a little horizontal bump texture. Conversely, the purl stitch will create that horizontal bump on the right (front) side of your work.

How do you switch between knitting and purling?

When knitting, your working yarn will be in the back of the work. To switch to the purl stitch, bring the yarn from the back to the front of your work before creating your purl stitch.

What Knit Stitch pattern do you get when you Purl on every row?

If you purl stitch on every row of your knitted work, you will create the Garter Stitch. However, this is a very unusual way to create this texture and most knitters prefer the Knit Stitch on every row to create this texture.

Thank You for Visiting Studio Knit

I hope you are inspired to begin purling!

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Happy knitting to you!

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