To twist stitches in the Classic knitting style, we knit them through the back loop. If we do the same when we work using the Russian knitting style, we get the ordinary – non-twisted – stitches.
So what do we do when we want to twist stitches in Russian knitting? That’s what this tutorial is all about. Let’s see how we can make twisted knit and twisted purl stitches in just a few simple steps.
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch these steps in a video tutorial, or simply scroll to the bottom of this page to watch an embedded version of the video.
TWISTED KNIT STITCH
The logical solution to twisting a knit stitch is to work it through the front loop. That means that we knit a stitch the same way as we knit it when we use the classic Continental knitting style and get a twisted Russian stitch as a result.
With the yarn at the back of the work, insert the tip of the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle.
Pick the working yarn from right to left.
Pull the yarn through to make a new stitch and slip the original stitch off the left needle.
As you see, making a twisted knit stitch in Russian knitting is very simple and straightforward. Things get a little bit more unusual when we want to make a twisted purl stitch.
TWISTED PURL STITCH
To make the same twist on the purl side of the work, we purl a stitch through the back loop, but, unlike the way we do it in classic knitting, we should purl it from the left side of the front loop in Russian knitting. That involves a quite complicated manoeuvre with the tip of the right needle.
An easier solution would be to twist the stitch first and then purl it the usual Russian way.
Here’s how it happens:
With the yarn at the front of the work, insert the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle.
Take the left needle out leaving the stitch on the right needle.
Return the stitch to the left needle. Do it purlwise, without twisting the stitch.
Purl the stitch the same way as we purl stitches in Russian knitting.
To make this process more efficient, don’t take the right needle out when you return the stitch to the left needle. Use the tip of the right needle to pick the yarn and purl the stitch as soon as it is slipped to the left needle. Watch how to do it in this part of the video.
When you look at the fabric formed by twisted stitches made using the Russian and the classic knitting styles, you will see that the Russian twisted stitches (swatch at the left side of the photo below) have a right-slanting twist, while stitches worked using the classic way of knitting (swatch at the right side of the photo) twist to the left.
This is the only way we can tell whether the fabric is knitted using the Russian or the classic style once the project is finished.
Look closely at the photos of twisted stitches that you find online and try to determine which way the stitches are twisted. Chances are you’ll find quite a few photos of projects made using the Russian knitting technique.
An even easier way to make twisted stitches in Russian knitting is to start working in the round. This and many other features of the Russian knitting style are explained in a detailed online course “Russian Knitting Simplified”.