Discover the Norwegian Knitting Technique

One of the recurring themes we’ve covered on our blog is knitting techniques from around the world. Today, we’re going to look at the Norwegian knitting technique.

Have you ever been knitting a rib and thought to yourself, “There has got to be a better way to do this!” I know I get frustrated with the constant moving of the yarn from front to back, then front again. Well, those clever Norwegians have a technique that eliminates that constant yarn movement. Instead, they use the right-hand needle to get the yarn where it needs to be. But it’s a tricky little technique that will take some time to master.

The real trick to the Norwegian knitting technique comes in the purl stitch, but you need to understand the knit stitch first. The Norwegian knitting technique is a pick-style technique where the yarn is held in the left hand and the right-hand needle picks the yarn up. The hold is actually very similar to the Russian knitting technique on the knit side.

on ring finger

It’s on the purl side where things get different and the technique earns its usefulness. So you’ve got the yarn looped over your left hand forefinger and ring finger. That hold leaves the yarn right behind the right-hand needle. So to purl, you move your right-hand needle behind the yarn.


Then enter your stitch as you normally do for a purl stitch.

enter your stitch

Now is where it gets a bit tricky. Wrap your needle around the working yarn.

tricky knitting technique

Then come back through the stitch on your left-hand needle entering as if to knit, making sure that you come out with the working yarn in front.

So when you pull your right-hand needle out of your stitch, the order should be: stitch you’re ready to drop on your left-hand needle, working yarn, then right-hand needle.

For this technique to work, you must keep your work on the very tips of your needles. As I was learning the technique, the biggest problem I faced was accidentally slipping the stitches without knitting them because they were so close to the needle tips. And on the purl side, it took some time to really understand where the needle goes. That last step of the purl stitch isn’t the most intuitive movement. After you wrap the yarn, you’ll want to bring your right-hand needle right back down through the stitch on your left-hand needle, but that isn’t the movement. Instead, you have to bring your right-hand needle down over the stitch and insert the right-hand needle through the stitch as if to knit. Which seems really weird to do when you’re purling, but it works. Once you get the hang of it, it does make sense.

The Norwegian knitting technique isn’t something you’re going to use for a stockinette project, where you have to do an entire row of purling, as it is more labor intensive for that particular stitch. It’s usefulness is in eliminating the need to move the yarn back and forth when you’re working a rib or seed stitch, something where you’re regularly switching from knit to purl. For those projects, if you can master the Norwegian knitting technique, you can really fly through those knit, purl rows!

Will you give this technique a try?

In case you missed it, explore fast knitting patterns here. Then come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for a helpful tutorial on blocking your knits.

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