Knitting Backwards (& Avoiding Purling!)

There are so many different techniques to learn in knitting. I, for one, am excited to try them all! When I first started knitting, purling was the one thing I loathed. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because of the way I held the needles, or the way I throw the yarn, but purling was definitely the one technique that took the longest for me to get used to. But now, I’ve found out there is a way to avoid purling all together! Enter: knitting backwards.

Knitting backwards is a technique that has been around for ages. It is just as it seems. Instead of turning the work to purl the next row, you can simply knit that row backwards and it produces the same results. Still not convinced? Here are a few ways that knitting backwards can come in handy.

Charts are used in a variety of ways in knitting. From simple patterns to intricate Fair Isle, charts are used to help you “see” the stitches a bit clearer than in the written form. Knitting backwards can help you see your pattern develop along the way as you knit instead of having to reverse the fabric or guess as you purl. This makes reading and following charts a lot easier!

Entrelac knitting is another way knitting backwards can come in handy. In entrelac you are constantly turning your work, knitting one way and then another. If you could knit backwards, this would speed up your entrelac pattern and keep you from getting confused about which side you were supposed to be on.

Thin strips or sections too big for icord, but cumbersome to turn back and forth, like an 8 stitch strip, would prove beneficial for the backwards knitter as well. Another time you are constantly turning your work is with these thinner projects and backwards knitting just might save the day, and your sanity.

So now, how do you knit backwards? After you knit a row, instead of turning, leave your work facing you. Insert the left needle into the loop leaving it behind the right needle.

Knitting Backwards

Wrap your yarn around, back to front and pull through the stitch, taking the remain loop off the right needle.

Backwards Knitting

That’s it! Pretty simple, right? It may seem a bit awkward at first but by mastering the knitting backwards technique, you can look forward to even stitch rows and a new way to spice up a dull stockinette.

Entrelac Scarf Pattern

Now that you have learned this great new technique, how will you use it in your next project? Do you already know and love backwards knitting? Share your comments and projects with us below!

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