What is "Purl Stitch" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 06-Apr-2023 (1 year, 10 days ago)
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Purl Stitch

The purl stitch is a fundamental technique in knitting that creates a raised, textured pattern on the fabric. It is commonly used to add depth, contrast, and variety to knitted garments, accessories, and textiles. This comprehensive guide will provide a detailed explanation of the purl stitch, its history, types, tips for handling, and information about its top international users and manufacturers.

History and Origin

The art of knitting has been practiced for centuries, with origins dating back to ancient times. The purl stitch, along with the knit stitch, forms the foundation of knitting. While the exact origin of the purl stitch is unknown, it has been an integral part of knitting traditions in various cultures, including Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.

Knitting techniques, including the purl stitch, have evolved over time, influenced by cultural practices, technological advancements, and the artistic expression of knitters. Today, the purl stitch is a widely recognized and used technique in the textile industry.

Types of Purl Stitch

1. Basic Purl Stitch: The basic purl stitch is the most commonly used form of the stitch. It involves inserting the right-hand needle into the front of the stitch on the left-hand needle, from right to left, and wrapping the yarn counterclockwise around the right-hand needle. The loop is then pulled through, creating a new stitch on the right-hand needle.

2. Ribbing Purl Stitch: Ribbing is a popular pattern created by alternating knit and purl stitches. The purl stitches in ribbing are used to create vertical columns of raised stitches, adding elasticity and texture to the fabric.

3. Seed Stitch: The seed stitch is a pattern created by alternating knit and purl stitches in a specific sequence. This results in a textured fabric with small, raised bumps or "seeds" evenly distributed across the surface.

Tips for Handling Purl Stitch

1. Maintain Tension: Consistent tension is crucial for achieving even and uniform purl stitches. Practice keeping a steady tension on the yarn to ensure the stitches are neither too loose nor too tight.

2. Needle Placement: Pay attention to the correct placement of the right-hand needle when inserting it into the stitch on the left-hand needle. Proper needle placement ensures smooth and neat purl stitches.

3. Practice and Patience: Mastering the purl stitch may require practice and patience. Start with small projects and gradually progress to more complex patterns to improve your purl stitch technique.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

The purl stitch is utilized by numerous international users and manufacturers in the textile industry. Here are some of the top users and manufacturers:

  1. Rowan: Rowan is a renowned British brand known for its high-quality yarns and knitting patterns. Their collections often incorporate the purl stitch, showcasing its versatility and aesthetic appeal.
  2. Malabrigo: Malabrigo, a Uruguay-based yarn company, offers a wide range of hand-dyed yarns that are beloved by knitters worldwide. Their yarns lend themselves beautifully to showcasing the intricacies of the purl stitch.
  3. Brooklyn Tweed: Brooklyn Tweed, an American brand, is celebrated for its unique and innovative knitting designs. The brand frequently incorporates the purl stitch in their patterns, creating visually captivating textures.
  4. Debbie Bliss: Debbie Bliss, a British knitwear designer, uses the purl stitch to add depth and interest to her exquisite designs. Her patterns often feature intricate combinations of knit and purl stitches.
  5. Dale of Norway: Dale of Norway is a Norwegian brand renowned for its traditional Norwegian knitting patterns. Their designs showcase the purl stitch in intricate colorwork, creating stunning and distinctive garments.


The purl stitch is a fundamental technique in knitting, offering a wide range of design possibilities and textural effects. Its history dates back centuries, and it continues to be embraced by knitters and manufacturers worldwide. Whether used in basic stitch patterns or intricate designs, the purl stitch adds depth, texture, and visual interest to knitted fabrics. The diverse range of international users and manufacturers mentioned above exemplify the enduring popularity and creative potential of the purl stitch in the textile industry.

Purl Stitch
A basic stitch used in weft knitting, which produces knit fabrics that have the same appearance on both sides. The purl stitch is frequently used in combination with the jersey and rib stitches to produce a knitted fabric design. Sweaters, knitted fabrics for infants and children's wear, knitted fabrics for specialized sportswear, and bulky knit fabrics are commonly made using the purl stitch.
Purl Stitch
  • purl: a basic knitting stitch

  • make with purl stitches
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