Search Term

Enter a search term (optional)


Select One (optional)



Show only printer-friendly patterns

Difficulty Level

Select One (optional)

Yarn Weight

Select One (optional)

Knitting Needle Size

Select as many as you like (optional)

  • 1 or 2.25 mm
  • 2 or 2.75 mm
  • 3 or 3.25 mm
  • 4 or 3.5 mm
  • 5 or 3.75 mm
  • 6 or 4 mm
  • 7 or 4.5 mm
  • 8 or 5 mm
  • 9 or 5.5 mm
  • 10 or 6 mm
  • 10.5 or 6.5 mm
  • 11 or 8 mm
  • 13 or 9 mm
  • 15 or 10 mm
  • 17 or 12.75 mm
  • 19 or 15 mm
  • 35 or 19 mm
  • 50 or 25 mm
  • Circular Knitting Needles
  • Double-Pointed Knitting Needles (DPNs)


Free Offer
8 Designs for Knitting: Free Patterns for Beginners and Easy Knitting Stashbusters

Learn how to make easy knitting patterns with this FREE eBook! These fun patterns will have your stash under control in no time.

Bonus: Get our newsletter & special offers for free. We will not share or sell your email address. View our Privacy Policy

Knitting Backwards

Roses are red, purling is outdated. I tried knitting backwards and I didn't hate it.

Updated January 22, 2019
Knitting Backwards
Knitting Backwards

Imagine hating purling so much that you feel the need to learn how to knit backwards just to avoid it. Now, nobody likes purling, and if you do, you're like a knitting unicorn, but very few will go out of their way to learn how to actively avoid it. Sure, you could work mainly in garter stitch or just knit in the round and steek anything that's supposed to be flat (eek!), but there's another way that people tell the purling demon "not today:" knitting backwards. That's right: people entirely upend the knitting style they've perfected over years, knitting from left to right like absolute heathens, because purling is moderately annoying.

I decided to learn how to knit backwards to see what all the fuss is about, and I fear that I may actually like it. Does that mean I'm never going to purl again? No, it doesn't seem worth all the flipping to knit, say, ribbing in the round, but it's changed my stockinette stitch game and I'm not mad about it. If you're interested in learning how to knit backwards, too, well, take a seat, grab some needles and spare yarn, take a good, long look at your life choices, and let's begin.

How to Knit Backwards

  1. Let's try a stockinette stitch swatch. Cast on and knit one row as normal. I cast on only 10 stitches so I could flip between knitting forwards and backwards relatively frequently and get used to it.

  2. Don't flip your work over. Your working yarn will be on the left of your swatch, and your empty needle is now your working needle. Surprise! Being ambidextrous really helps in the knitting backwards department. Stick that sucker in through the back loop of your most recently finished stitch.

  3. Wrap your yarn counterclockwise around your working needle. That's right, just like you always knit. Now, I'm using the continental method in this example, but the same rules go for English knitting, where you hold your yarn in your right hand. In the gif below, I'm holding the yarn the English way. It doesn't matter, as long as you wrap your yarn counterclockwise.

  4. Pull the yarn through from the back to the front, and slip the old stitch off of your needle. Just like regular knitting... but with the needle in your non-dominant hand doing all the work.

  5. Finish up your row, and yes, it is honest-to-goodness stockinette stitch and you didn't have to purl once, you crafty fox. Knit the next row as usual, and every alternate row, knit backwards for practice.

  6. Check out this gif to see knitting backwards in real-time.

How to Purl Backwards

I'm going to go ahead and give you the benefit of the doubt that you're just working a mostly purl row with a couple of random knit stitches, because if you genuinely hate the knit stitch enough to learn purling backwards, I'm not sure you're human.

Well, you little maniac, here's how you purl backwards to create a knit stitch without knitting.

  1. Let's use the stockinette swatch we've been working on in the previous section. Finish up your row of knitting forwards so, once again, the needle in your non-dominant hand is empty and is your working needle, and don't turn your work. This time, before you begin, bring your yarn to the front of your work.

  2. Insert your working needle through the front loop of the first stitch of your other needle.

  3. Once again, wrap your yarn counterclockwise around your working needle.

  4. Pull the loop through, and your new stitch is on your working needle.

  5. Slip the remaining stitch off of your other needle. For some reason, you just learned how to purl backwards. Practice that for a while, if you're a glutton for punishment.

  6. See purling backwards in real-time with the gif below.

Free projects, giveaways, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!

Your Recently Viewed Projects

I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Project of the Day

How to Knit Scrubbiesvideocam

Learn how to knit scrubbies with this super easy knitting video tutorial! If you've never tried knitting a scrubby before, it's so… See more

Something worth saving?

Register now for FREE to:

  • SAVE all your favorite patterns
  • ADD personal notes
  • QUICKLY reference your patterns


Connect With Us

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Twitter
Blog Email RSS

About Us Advertise Contact Us FAQ Keyword Index Privacy Policy Share Your Project Subscribe Terms of Service Unsubscribe

---- 1 ----


Images from other crafters

There are currently no images from other crafters.