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flipoid 01-29-2008 10:51 PM

How to Purl through back loop?
I am knitting an afghan that has an "ssp" decrease. The instructions say to "slip 2 stitches knitwise 1 at a time to RH needle, place sts back on LH needle in this reversed position, p2tog-tbl."
How on earth do you purl through the back loop of a stitch? I can't get my fingers and needles to work it that way--the resulting stitch looks like a knit stitch instead of a purl stitch because I can't figure out how to wrap the yarn around the needle when it's in the back of the stitch like I'm purling. Especially since I'm trying to purl 2 together. It's very awkward.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

suzeeq 01-29-2008 10:58 PM

You have to kind of twist the left needle a bit to angle it, and it's awkward at first. You might knit up a practice piece and do a single ptbl for a bit until you get the motions down, then try practicings p2togtbl.

cam90066 01-29-2008 11:05 PM

Make sure your sts are loose enough otherwise it'll be just that much more difficult. If you think of it as a scooping motion coming up from underneath it's actually easy.


flipoid 01-29-2008 11:08 PM

I guess I didn't explain effectively enough. The problem is that when putting the right hand needle through the back of the stitch, I'm not sure how to hold the working yarn so that it is effectively still in front of the needles so it makes a purl stitch instead of a knit stitch and how to wrap it properly around the right hand needle (that's in the back of the stitch on the left hand needle) so that it makes a purl stitch.
Sorry to make this so complicated--that's why I wish I had a knitting store close by so that I could have an experienced knitter show me. Right now, I've sort of managed by using a crochet hook to help me get the stitches off the left hand needle after I've wrapped the working yarn around the RH needle to make the new stitch, but I just want to make sure I'm doing it correctly and inserting the RH needle properly to begin with.

Lisa R. 01-29-2008 11:11 PM

Check out the video.

Ingrid 01-29-2008 11:13 PM

As was said, bring the right needle around and insert it from left to right through the back of the loop. Then bring your needle into position in front of the left tip, as you would for a regular purl, having the yarn in front. At that point you can sort of forget that it's through the back loop. Wrap the stitch and bring it through the loop the same way as if you were purling in the regular way.

cam90066 01-29-2008 11:28 PM

Another vid here.

I have slow DU so not able to view vids to see how helpful this might be.


suzeeq 01-29-2008 11:29 PM

<nods> You could think of it as twisting the stitch around and purl like usual.

flipoid 01-29-2008 11:55 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I didn't even think of looking in the glossary of terms on this site--it wasn't that I was unfamiliar with the term, it was that I'd never done it and also wasn't aware that there was an accompanying video.

I am so grateful for everyone's response. I was doing it the wrong way--slipping the RH needle through the back of the stitch properly, but the needle tip was ending up on the back side of the LH needle, not the front.

I am so happy now! Now I don't have to dread those 30-some-odd rows of my afghan block pattern that have the ssp decrease. :woot:

Dobek1011 01-30-2008 01:56 AM

OK now I have a question. The two videos show 2 opposite things. Which one is better or are they both OK?


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