Purl Knitting

Purl Knitting Manufacture

Purl stitch is the reverse of Stockinette. It has interlocked crescent shapes on the front and ‘v’ shapes on the back. Purl stitch is usually used purely when working from the back of the fabric to create a stockinette stitch from the front, for example in hand knitting.

Although the Stockinette stitch is very similar and had been used since as early as the 11th Century, it was a long time after this that the purl stitch was invented. The first example of Purl stitch being used was found in a tomb in Spain and dates back to around 1562. Before this to create a uniforn from made up of only stockinette stitch, people had to knit things in the round (known as circular knitting) and cut it open to form a flat piece of fabric.

The invention of the Purl stitch meant that sewing flat pieces of fabric was much easier and they could look like they were made entirely of Stockinette stitch from the front. Purl knitting is usually done by hand, as it is necessary when knitting on the reverse side, it is not often needed on a knitting machine as it is constantly being worked from the same side at all times Purl stitch can also be used to create interesting patterns and can be used with its right side facing out to give the appearance of the wrong side of Stockinette stitch. Purl stitch is another form of Weft knitting, meaning the stitches run horizontally.

Properties of Purl Knitting

  • Stretchy
  • Definite right side and wrong side
  • Can unravel easily
  • Does not fray
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Warm to wear
  • Different variations can be created depending on the weight and type of yarn used
  • Available in Various colours
  • Not often used on its own

End Uses of Purl Knitting

  • Knitwear
  • Underwear
  • Hosiery
  • T-Shirts
  • Clothing

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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