I have a vaguely embarrassing confession to make.

To put it into context: I started knitting two years ago, or close enough. To be fair for the first six months or so I mostly crocheted as I didn’t dig the whole two-needles thing (oh how times change!) but my first (unfinished) project was a scarf knitted out of a terrible acrylic blue yarn.

So I really should know the basics by now.

Imagine my surprise (and amusement) when I discover that after all this time I’ve been doing the purl stitch wrong!

Yay finished Coachella!

Have a look at this finished top. I’m very pleased with it as it fits and it is entirely wearable. HOWEVER. I noticed the straight section – where I knit flat down to the bottom of the armholes (mid-boob) – is completely different from the part where I knitted in the round. The only difference in these two sections is the purl stitch so I started to have the sneaking suspicion I’d made a fundamental error.

Maybe I’m just not very good at the purl stitch, thought I.

I looked closer. The stitches don’t lie flat and there’s an odd pull between them. Hmm, maybe not. Maybe I twist the stitches.

Then a very kind soul on Ravelry tactfully informed me that it does indeed look like I’m twisting my purl stitches and I facepalmed heavily. As a side-note, if you ever notice something I could do to improve my knitting like this, please tell me. I won’t get upset unless you’re a dick about it. I’ll be grateful!

My first attempts at the purl stitch came from this video.

…And I now realise that I must have been watching it whilst wearing a black sack over my head because there’s no other explanation as to how I managed to miss that you cross the yarn over anti-clockwise.

Of course, I’m halfway through a project right now in which I’ve been accidentally twisting the purl stitch all the way through so I have to keep going. Once it’s done I’ll have to relearn the stitch.

Maybe I’ll go continental while I’m at it.

I’m not the only one to make stupid long-running mistakes, right? …Right? …*crickets chirp*…

Time to buy some sea silk to make myself feel better…!


14 thoughts on “Whoops…

  1. You are definitely not the only one to do something like this. The first project I did with yarn overs came out looking really weird and huge and mutated. In hindsight, yarn overs are so very simple, but I was reading the instructions completely wrong and was essentially doing three yarn overs to each one I was supposed to do. In my stubbornness, I just kept going, figuring the pattern was either wrong or worded different than I was used to.

    It happens to the best of us, and luckily, twisted purl stitches still look cute and unique! Love it!


    1. I had problems with yarn overs at first too. I don’t know why. It’s so funny how simple things seem after you’ve realised the mistake.

      Thanks! 🙂


  2. I discovered a very similar issue with purling (I knit Continental) and realized I was twisting the stitches. Everything (basic stuff) was okay looking, until I got to a cardigan. Figuring out the mistake was relatively easy, and I haven’t really looked back. Fixing the mistake does make lace a lot easier, just saying. You are definitely not alone in the purl mix-ups. Cute top and brilliant color.


    1. I’ve had a lot of trouble whenever I’ve knitted lace, so maybe this is why. 🙂

      Thank you! 🙂 Glad the twisted stitches look okay in the end.


  3. I’d say that you didn’t ‘purl’ wrong, you just made up a new stitch of your own!! Sounds like a happy mistake to me! 😉


  4. Nope. Now I’ve watched the video, turns out you’re really not the only one. And now I know why the cardi I’m knitting looks all kinds of weird. DAMMIT!


  5. Thank you for posting this! I’ve been knitting for 6 years and twisting my purl stitches the whole time. It was hard to find info on exactly what i was doing wrong. Your blog pinpoints it perfectly.


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