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Keeping it real . . . my loose purls

I spent some time with Montse last night and she confirmed what I already knew and have mentioned before -- my purls are loose. She says that I can prevent them in one of a few ways:

1. Practice tightening the purl and loosening the knit stitches
2. Purl with a finer needle than you knit. This only works with stockinette stitch
3. When purling wrap yarn under needle as in plaited purl stitch. On the next row, knit-back the resulting stitches to straighten them up. Again, only for stockinette stitch and a limited number of stitch patterns.
4. Adapt to circular knitting and avoid stitch patterns with groups of purl stitches on the right side -- the odd one is not likely to be a problem.


Thanks, Montse. I typically use methods 1, 2 and/or 4 to compensate for my issues. And while I know from experience that all these methods work, it doesn't help right now when it means I might have to rip back to the joining round on the sundress I'm knitting (and go up a needle size from the joining point) if I want it to look right. Since it's a shop model, I'm toying with the idea of leaving it as is . . . as an example of what happens when a loose purler knits stockinette flat with a cotton or cotton-blend yarn. In the round, my stitches are tight and even. And I find that my stockinette knitting is fine when I knit with wool. I don't have issues with garter stitch, ribbing, cables or lace (most of the time), but there's nothing less appealing than my "rowing out" issue on cotton yarns. For what it's worth, it's method 2 that works beautifully for me -- I just didn't do it with this pattern.


While Montse and I both agree that it's difficult to teach ourselves a new method of knitting, I have to say that this is beginning to look VERY appealing:


I had a similar problem years ago when I started knitting. I just kept on practicing until I figured out how to automatically adjust my tension when purling.

oooooooooo thanks for that video! :)

Will it block out? Scarily, I have to go UP a needle size or two when I switch from knitting in the round to back and forth....

yes, thanks for the video, Janet. My knitting technique is my own variety. I do knit the continental method, but throw with my left. This is because I'm a violinist and i can't create ANY tension with my left hand or it'll affect my violin playing. :) I've had several friends ask me to teach them to knit and I always refuse because i don't "knit the right way." I always wonder if other musician-knitters have had to adapt.
I love your sweet PINK jumper - can't wait to see it finished!
hugs and love!

I knit like wynne - I throw with my left too!

I have the same problem and it can be a real pain. Had to recently rip out the entire back of a sweater for my dad. I've totally lost the love for that project--having a tough time going back to it. I use methods 3 and 4 to remedy the loose purls. I think it stems, in my case, from being a continental knitter.

Nice blog, I'll be back.

Hi, you left a comment on my blog about my little silk garden jumper, I used 2 balls of yarn. I love the pattern and can't wait to make more! I couldn't watch the video for some reason. :(
Cute blog!!!

Hi Janet!

I just read this post on Nona's blog and I thought you might find it helpful? Turns out she used to have "loose purls" too...



Wow! Thanks so much for this! I have been having too loose purling when I cable, but also I'm developing carpel from knitting so much! I was searching for a way to purl tighter and after seeing this, I am going to start trying to learn continental- something I thought I couldn't ever get the hang of, I started knitting along with the video and it's just great- It's totally weird feeling, but because of the way she was showing this, also going slow enough - I can' thank you enough for sharing this!