Knit Stitch vs Purl Stitch

Knit Stitch vs Purl Stitch: What’s the Difference?

Knitting is such a beautiful and artistic craft. When you can make warm, comforting sweaters, socks, and afghans from strings of fiber, you are almost a magician.

It is also something very pleasant to watch someone do. Take a moment to go watch someone knit on YouTube and you will be mesmerized by how calming it is.

It is also a very calming and cathartic craft to work. It is simple to learn the two basic stitches that all knitting is based on and then go on to create all sorts of wonderful things with them.

Main Differences Between Knit Stitch vs Purl Stitch

The main differences between Knit Stitch vs Purl Stitch are:

  • A Knit Stitch is made by moving the yarn from the right needle to the left needle, whereas a Purl Stitch is made by inserting the right knitting needle into the front of a loop on the left needle and pulling it over to the right needle.
  • A Knit Stitch ends up looking like “v”, whereas a Purl Stitch ends up looking like a bump.

Surprise, Surprise!

Do you want to hear a surprising secret about those two basic stitches, the purl stitch, and the knit stitch? They are actually the same stitch!

A purl stitch and a knit stitch are the two stitches that are used to create a wide array of knitting patterns, looks, and projects. But, inside-knitters know, these two stitches are the same stitch, only mirrored.

Knit Stitch

A knit stitch is when you move the yarn from the right needle to the left needle. This stitch places the “bump” or the top of the stitch on the backside of your project.

Using the knit stitch is considered easier to learn and perfect because it requires that we point the knitting needles away from us, rather than towards us, as in the purl stitch. It is probably just that the hands are in a more comfortable position when working a knit stitch than when working a purl stitch.

Purl Stitch

Since this stitch is the mirror image of the knit stitch, it requires that you move the yarn from the left needle to the right needs. In effect, this stitch places the “bump” or the top of the stitch on the front side of your project.

Better Learning by Comparisons

We learn best when we can compare and contrast information. So, with that in mind, let’s take some time to learn about these two stitches by comparing them to one another. It’s going a be an exhilarating and visual ride, so hold on.

Side-by-Side Comparisons

First off, you are going to need to understand how different these two stitches actually look next to each other. They may be twin stitches, but they are certainly not identical. If you know how to spot each type of stitch you will be better off as you work through your knitting projects. This is because it will help you count the rows and stitches better and know if you placed a stitch in the correct spot.

Let’s look at the knit stitch and the purl stitch side-by-side to get a better idea of how each one looks.

Creativity Unleashed

You may be wondering what you can do with only two stitches, especially when you realize that they are actually the same stitch, only mirrored. Well, you might be surprised at what can be made with these twin stitches. Let’s take a look at what can be done when these combine forces for creativity.

Bamboo Stitch Pattern

Image result for bamboo stitch image

The Bamboo Stitch pattern is perfect when you need a sturdy stitch. Ideally, it is suited for men’s sweaters and even washcloths.

If you look at the stitch, it becomes apparent why it is called a Bamboo Stitch: it looks like shoots of bamboo growing. Learn this stitch quickly by working through some of these fantastic patterns featuring it.

Garter Stitch Pattern

garter stitch knitting

This is the most basic of all the knitting stitch patterns and probably the first one any new knitter learns.

A garter stitch is a stitch pattern created from only working the knit stitch. It couldn’t be simpler to do, but the creative projects available for a garter stitch pattern are enormous.

Stockinette Stitch Pattern

Stockinette Knit Stitch Pattern and Free Video Tutorial by Studio Knit #StudioKnit #knitstitchpattern

This stitch pattern creates the most familiar looking knitted items. It is created by alternating rows of purl stitches and knit stitches.

Experiment with one of these fantastic patterns to learn the stockinette stitch pattern better.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Pattern

This stitch is the Stockinette Stitch with a focus on the reverse. That means the purl side (the side with bumps) is considered the front while the knit side (the side with the V’s) is considered the back.

Linen Stitch Patterns

Because this type of stitch is reversible, it is excellent to use with multiple colors. It is also a very firm stitch which makes it suitable to use with thin yarns.

Try this fun and unique stitch on your next knitting project. Here are a few project options.

Rib Stitch Patterns

Rib Stitch patterns are a combination of purl stitches and knit stitches that make clean vertical rows of each stitch. Think of those big and bulky sweaters worn by fishermen or intrepid explorers from the early twentieth century.

This type of stitch is extremely versatile and comes in many different varieties. Take a look at just some of the unique rib stitch patterns available for knitters.

These five styles of the Rib Stitch are just a sampling of what can be done with the rib stitch. For information on more varieties of this stitch, read this article. If you feel like you are ready to try your hand at a project featuring the Rib Stitch, consider one of the following:

Seed Stitch Pattern

Image result for seed stitch images

This type of stitch pattern is full of texture but not elasticity. It is created in a similar manner as the Rib Stitch Pattern, but with a key alteration of course.

Look at the differences in how each type of stitch is created.

1X1 Rib Stitch: Knit one knit stitch, knit one purl stitch, knit one knit stitch (Continue this pattern until you reach the end of the row)

Seed Stitch Pattern: Knit one knit stitch, knit one purl stitch, knit one purl stitch, knit one knit stitch, knit one knit stitch (Continue alternating stitches in this manner until you reach the end of the row)

The Seed Stitch pattern is a lovely looking stitch that can be used for many different knitted items. Try one of these patterns to better learn the seed stitch.

Easy Lace Stitch Pattern

While knitting lace stitches can be difficult, if you get the right stitch, they are actually simple, repetitive, and fun.

If you’re up for a delicate but beautiful project, try this Lace Stitch Lace Scarf pattern.

Cable Stitch Pattern

Although Cable Stitch patterns seem difficult, remember, they are just a combination of purl stitches and knit stitches.

What gives them a look of difficulty is that you have to twist a row of the stitches. But, give it a try and you may find that this stitch pattern is your favorite. Work through one of these patterns below to find out for sure.


Question: Can a Knit Stitch or a Purl Stitch Be Used in Crochet?

Answer: Very happily, yes, crochet does have a knit and purl stitch option. If you crochet but long for a more knitted-looking garment, then Tunisian Crochet is for you. This style of crochet weaves the yarn together to give it a very knitted look and you only need to know how to hold one hook.
Not only does Tunisian crochet add depth and beauty to the look of a crocheted item, but it is also actually easy to learn the basics. Take a few moments to practice this crochet style with these tutorials.
• Basic Tunisian Knit Stitch
• Basic Tunisian Purl Stitch
You can stick to just these two stitches or you can dive really deep into the world of Tunisian Crochet. This type of crochet is constantly growing and new techniques and stitches are still being created. If you want to learn more about Tunisian Crochet, take a look at these different stitches and how to work them, or learn all the basics with this tutorial.
With Tunisian Crochet you can create any of these fun projects:
• Gingham Baby Blanket
• Stretchy Beanie for Men or Women
• Cowl Scarf
• Ladies Sweater

Question: What Type of Yarn Should Be Used for Knitting?

Answer: When it comes to yarn selection, there really are no hard and fast rules. You can use the yarn recommended on the pattern you are following, you can get something similar to the recommended yarn, or you can go completely out-of-the-box.
Remember, this is your creative enterprise, so go with the yarn you like best. But, if you happen to be little more of a rule follower, or are just hesitant, here are a few articles to help you decide what yarn is best for your project and where to get it.
• The Best Yarn for Arm Knitting
• The Best Places to Buy Yarn Online
• The Best Yarn for Your Next Project

Question: How Easy Is It to Learn How to Knit?

Answer: Just like anything else, knitting is a skill that must be practiced to learn well. Some people are gifted with the ability to hold needles and keep count and even create knitting patterns, but it is likely that they have put some work and effort into acquiring and perfecting this skill. Other knitters have simply had a passion for knitting that made the hard and tedious work of learning a pattern or a technique less work-like and more of a pleasure.
Wherever you land in the natural abilities pool, you will have to spend some time learning how to hold the needles, how to count the rows and stitches, and even how to read knitting patterns and charts.
The best thing to do when you begin learning how to knit is to take your time and give yourself grace for mistakes. Actually, a lot of crocheters and knitters say they have learned more through trial and error than any other way. So, never look at a mistake as a failure; it is just another, possibly better, way of learning.

Question: How to Learn to Knit?

Answer: Finding a way to learn how to knit should be a very simple process in our modern world. There are so many options that you might want to try them all to see which way will help you learn the best.
Read Books: Check out a book at your local library or purchase one from a book store. Find something that has good reviews and is not going to cost you a lot of money.
Watch YouTube: A book is great but if you really want to see how to knit in action, a video is going to be a better option. Honestly, you can use both to learn.
Join a Class: Check your local hobby stores, community centers, or community colleges for classes on knitting. An interactive group environment is a great way to learn because you get hands-on instructions, you can ask and answer questions, and you get community encouragement when you’re struggling.

Concluding Thoughts

Having taken a closer look at the purl stitch and the knit stitch found in all knitting patterns, you should feel more confident in approaching knitting for the first time, or when trying out a new technique. It was fascinating to learn that knitting is really made up of one stitch that has been mirrored, and these twin stitches are what make all the wonderful knit things found all around the world.

Hopefully, all this information has inspired you to get out a skein of yarn and some knitting needles. Go out and create some beautiful things. Go do something that calms your soul and encourages others. Go be brave as you experiment with a new product, new patterns, and maybe even a new acquaintance. Go creative as you live life as a knitter.

For more knitting-related guides, check the links below:

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