Doing it Wrong

Guys, I have something crazy to say: I have been knitting wrong for the last three years. More specifically, I have been purling wrong. Remember I was working on a greyhound snood and my two sections of stockinette looked so different? IMG_4971The top part was done in the round on DPNs, the bottom flat on straights. Well, another knitter mentioned that the alternate rows, the purl rows, on the flat section looked twisted. She was very kind and said it didn’t look bad, it wasn’t wrong, just maybe that’s why it was different. Well, I went to Youtube and looked at purling videos and behold! I have been wrapping my yarn the wrong way from the beginning! This is the video I watched, just because it was the first one, and they even show the “incorrect” way later. So yes, my purl rows were twisted. I’m sure it happened because I taught myself to purl from a book and never had anyone watching to say, oh hey, that’s different!

This was a huge Aha! moment for me. Why? Because from the beginning, I’ve found it harder to knit into purl stitches, and it made me dislike stockinette knit flat and garter stitch in the round. This is why! So if I can train myself to do it correctly, it will make my knitting easier. It also explained why so many people dislike purling. I never understood it, because for me it was as quick and easy as knitting. But this new way isn’t as easy, and partly that’s because it’s new to me, and I have to retrain my fingers, teach them new muscle memory.

The other cool thing is that my Knitting SIL pointed out that if I really want to keep purling the way I do (which is a bit faster and easier than the ‘correct’ way, I think) I can remedy it on the next row by knitting into the back loops. I probably won’t use that as my regular method, because I do want to get into the habit of using the right techniques, but it’s nice to know I have options.

Now, I know, there’s not a “right” or “wrong” way to knit, and I agree that my twisted stockinette section looks pretty cool. I like it, and it can be a technique in my tool kit. But there are traditional, accepted forms of the knit and purl stitches, and I was bucking tradition. I want to be a proper knitter, and for me, that means learning to do it the traditional way. Then while I’m knitting, I can make the choice to do it however I want! And I might just want to keep knitting in the round so it’s not much of an issue. 🙂 IMG_4983This is another Yoda hat. I made three this weekend (base hats only, no ears yet) while I was watching the finals of the Australian Open. We’re testing Sling TV for a week, and the sports part is great because I can just use the ESPN app on the Apple TV. But the Sling TV app itself is kind of terrible. It crashes A LOT and I have a lot of problems trying to use AirPlay to show the video from the iPad on the TV. It’s pretty disappointing. We probably won’t sign up; for $20 a month, I want consistency and reliability. So I guess we’ll go back to just having Hulu and Netflix. It sure was nice having tennis to watch again though!

31 thoughts on “Doing it Wrong

  1. I did the same thing with the knit stitch. I was knitting into the back loop for three years before I realized it wasn’t correct. Explains why ‘knit into the back loop’ was a specific instruction.
    I had taught myself to knit from a book as well and never knew the difference.

  2. I found that last year when doing yarn overs. I wondered why the holes weren’t very big and realised I wrap the yarn the opposite way to every one else. I had literally never noticed before and I’ve been knitting for years!

      • You can still purl the old way. You just have to compensate on the next row, you’re stitches will be mounted backwards, so instead of knitting across through the front loops, you knit across through the back loops.

        Really, referring to stitches as having a front loop and a back loop is misleading. Think of it as the leading leg and the lagging leg. You always want to work the leading leg, regardless of if it’s the front or back loop.

        It can be confusing because you need to remember that when a pattern says knit through the back loop, they’re really saying knit through the lagging leg, which could be the front loop for you. It can be done though.

    • Hi, Talya! Sorry to barge in, but I read your comment and just have to ask: have you tried purling using Portuguese knitting? It goes so fast, you wouldn’t believe it 🙂 It’s great when you have a full row of purls, so you might want to have a look at that. Have a great week!

      • I probably won’t try it. I have no desire to knit faster. And to be honest- I only hate purling in things like ribbing. All the switching back and forth and back and forth- that’s what kills me. A whole row of purling doesn’t bother me.

  3. Glad someone figured it out and solved the pattern mystery. When I learned it was wrap the yarn between the the needles and then around…I think that’s right and an easy way to remember it. But I still like the pattern you made!

  4. Very insightful…just a reminder of how awesome knitting is and the many ways you can solve a “problem” 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing those Yoda hats with ears! So darling!

    • And how helpful and supportive the knitting community is! Not only did someone figure it out and tell me in a non-judgmental way, but so many others are chiming in to say “Oh, I did this wrong too”. I love knitting people. 🙂

  5. My Mother-in-law does that! She’s been knitting for over 40 years and it was only when I was looking at a baby dress she was working on that I noticed it was ‘wrong’, and it turned out that her purls were twisted.

    Being honest, I actually thought that it looked really nice, it added a nice texture to the dress and it’s something that I would happily do intentionally incorrect on a simple project to give it a bit of a difference.

    • Oh, I love that! Makes me feel better that even seasoned knitters like her do the same thing! And yes, I do like how it looks too. It’ll be fun to add in every once in a while. But I’m curious: did you say anything to her about it?

      • I did, I was confused as to why it looked different and asked her what stitch she was using. Then I asked her to show me how she was knitting as I couldn’t work out why her stockinette looked different. I think that the only reason I noticed it was because the yarn wasn’t fuzzy so the stitches were very easily defined, I have a jumper from her and I can’t tell on that.

  6. Hah, I did that with the knit stitches for a while! I started my knitting journey with the Portuguese knitting style, but made a tiny mistake as to where the needle should go 🙂
    On another note, before switching to (mostly) throwing/English knitting, I couldn’t understand why people said purling was such a horrible thing – in Portuguese knitting it’s a breeze! It really pays off to learn new techniques and adapt them to your projects…

  7. Pingback: Frogged Sweater | bonnyknits

  8. I totally agree that the wrong-purls in the fabric make it look cool! I ‘discovered’ the wrong way while trying to come up with a pattern early in my knitting days, and promptly used it in a tote bag. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Bored. So Bored. | bonnyknits

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