This tutorial is another step in learning the Eastern (previously known as Russian) knitting style. We’ve already discussed the most common way to cast on stitches, the way to hold yarn and the way to knit stitches when we use Eastern knitting.
Now, it is time to see why Eastern purling is so much easier than purling in any of the Classic knitting styles.
If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, click here. Or, simply scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the embedded version of the video.
To make a test swatch, cast on any number of stitches. I cast on ten stitches using the variation of the long-tail cast on that is popular among knitters who use the Eastern knitting style.
Take the needle with the stitches and the working yarn in your left hand as explained in this tutorial.
Take the other needle in your right hand.
Bring the yarn to the front of the work. You can do it by moving your left index finger slightly towards you, or you can simply pick the strand with the tip of the right needle and drag it to the front of the work.
Now we are ready to purl.
Insert the tip of the right needle from right to left into the first stitch from the tip of the left needle.
With the right needle, pull the stitch slightly to the right so that the working yarn moves to the back of the stitch.
Use the tip of the right needle to pick the yarn from left to right and pull the yarn through the stitch. Here’s how to do it.
Slip the original stitch off the left needle.
Repeat steps 1 – 4 to purl all stitches in this row.
As you see, the process of purling is incredibly efficient. There are no unnecessary movements. Your needles stay almost parallel to each other and your hands are almost still protecting your wrists from any additional tension.
You can make your purling even more efficient if you move the yarn further away from the tip of your left index finger.
This way, the yarn will be at the back of the first few stitches and there will be no need in pulling the stitch to the right as we do in step 2.
This little trick is only helpful when you purl several stitches one after another.
When you use a stitch pattern that requires to change the position of the working yarn frequently – bringing it to the front of the work for purling and then to the back of the work for knitting – keep the yarn closer to the tip of your left index finger and use the second step described above to move the yarn to the back of a stitch.
It is interesting, that one of the easiest ways to knit (the one explained in this tutorial) pairs perfectly with one of the easiest ways to purl that we’ve just discussed.
When we use these two techniques in tandem, the stitches do not twist and the fabric made in stockinette stitch, ribbing, seed stitch or any other “knit & purl” stitch pattern, looks exactly the same as the similar fabric created using the Classic knitting style.
Here are two swatches – the one on the left is made using the Classic Continental knitting style, and the one on the right is made using the Eastern knitting style. As you see, these swatches look identical and you will never guess which of them is knitted using the Eastern way.
Now, that you know how to knit and purl stitches in Eastern knitting, work several rows in stockinette stitch and see for yourself – the stitches will look exactly like the stitches formed by any Classic knitting style.
With a bit of practice, you will notice that you work much faster than you do when you use the Classic way. You will also notice that your wrists do not get tired as easily. That’s why you can knit longer and finish your projects sooner.
To master all ins and outs of Eastern knitting, consider taking a detailed online course – Eastern (Russian) Knitting Simplified.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.