Knitting Help – Norwegian Purling

In this video I’m going to demonstrate Norwegian
purling. It is a technique that is kind of new to me. I understand why it’s popular, why people
are kind of excited about it. If you are a continental knitter who holds
the working yarn in your right hand, I know a lot of continental knitters…newer continental
knitters at least, have a difficult time with purling and getting the tension right when
you’re purling and holding the working yard in front. This is a way of keeping the working yarn
in back while you’re purling, so let’s go and take a look. I have this little two by two rib here so
I can do both knitting and purling and show you how this is done. I’m going to knit the first two stitches not
continental. How’s that? You know what, I have a couple of twisted
stitches, here let me get them straightened out, because I ripped out some work. I didn’t realize I had ’em twisted. Okay, I better switch to continental…where
it doesn’t make a difference. So people who hold the working yarn in their
left hand, when they have the working yarn in front and they’re purling, it can be difficult
to keep tension on that and not let go of the needle. A lot of people will hold the yarn, like,
pinch your finger like this to keep tension, or I’ve seen a lot of different things. This is just one more, one more thing you
can try to see if you like it. It’s not, you know, it’s not superior or anything,
it’s just something else to try, and it’s one of those things that looks like a lot
until you practice it and it’s actually just kind of some dance moves, it’s pretty easy
to work. So the first thing I wanna do is to yarn over
on my right needle, and that is actually getting my working yarn kind of in front, without
really having it in front. And then I’m going to go into the stitch just
like a purl stitch, and I want to get my needle around the tip of the other needle and behind,
because that’s where my working yarn is. And I can yarn over there, and because I’m
a continental knitter, yarning over from the back here with the working yarn is pretty
easy. Then I wanna pull the stitch, the right needle
forward again. You can kind of think about it like lining
your needles up like this, and now, watch the tip of my right needle. I wanna pull it down, down, down, down, down
through that loop and back, and then pull the old stitch off. That was really, really broken down slowly,
so let me see. I’m gonna break it down slowly again. Yarn over, go into purl, right needle around
to the back, and wrap the needle, then kind of back to a parallel position, and now the
tip of the right needle down, down, down, down, down, and through that loop to the back,
and off. Okay, I’m gonna work a couple of knit stitches,
and I’m knitting them through the back loop because these are twisted. How did I not notice that I was starting a
video with twisted stitches? Okay, they’re right now. It’s easy enough to fix with bulky yarn. Okay, back to purling. Yarn over, in like to purl, get your right
needle behind and wrap the needle back to an “H” shape, right needle down, down, down
through that loop and back and off. I like the way that this works, because I
like stitches that are kind of a dance move. This is not my primary way of knitting, if
you’re laughing at my continental knitting. Okay, we get a couple more times here. Yarn over, into that stitch, right needle
around to the back, wrap that needle back to parallel, right needle down, down, down
and through that loop to the back and up, hold stitch off. Yarn over, into purl, right needle behind,
yarn over, back to parallel, down, down, down through the back and up. I hope you give this a try. I think it’s pretty fun to work. You know, once it clicks in your head exactly
what’s going on, the dance moves of it kind of come together and your hands start to take
over and it’s fun. It’s pretty fun to work. I’m not a continental knitter, so it’s probably
not something I’m gonna be using a lot in my knitting, but I hope that this is something
that continental knitters will want to try maybe to shake things up if you’re having
a difficult time keeping tension on your purl stitches. Good luck.

100 thoughts on “Knitting Help – Norwegian Purling

  • I've been using this stitch for quite a while. I mostly use it in these kind of situations when I have to rib. It seems daunting at first and looks complicated but it becomes pretty fluid. It's so nice to be able to switch between ways of purling in monotonous work and helps with hand fatigue. Thanks for teaching this for others! So many I have talked to have never heard of it!

  • staci, thanks for showing this stitch. I am a Continental knitter and do not have an issue with purling, but I do know many who have and am sure they will appreciate this. For me, I have shorter fingers so when I move between knit and purl in a row I move the yarn with my needle so it is really a fluid motion. I really don't notice a difference between the tension, etc, but I worked hard to watch my hands while I knit to make sure things were going well.

  • I've tried continental knitting. I think my fingers are too short. It was the first way I learned to knit so I will give it another try.

  • I saw this technique in an Icelandic sweater class. The instructor said Icelandic kids learn to knit in elementary school. They learn to purl this way.

  • Thanks for breaking this down, I'm currently doing miles and miles of seed stitch on a blanket, I'm definitely going to try this since I knit continental, you may have just saved my life!

  • This was the first way I was taught to purl (I'm a Continental knitter), but, since my knit stitches are really tight, I found that my tension was much looser purling this way than with the yarn in front. It is a more comfortable way to purl, and I'll often use it when knitting a garter stitch pot holder.

  • I went through a phase of working this purl into my work and found that, even with practiced speed, for me this technique is even slower than throwing a purl! Any helpful info anyone has to purl easily and quickly for continental knitters?? Great breakdown of the technique!

  • I like the Norwegian purl but I getting rowing out not sure that the right term in my knitting….I agree with the dance move it fun

  • I jumped ship from throwing to Norwegian last year. such a dream to work. love there's no more yfwd etc. so ergonomic too as i have stiff shoulders. tension a dream too. knitting Staci's socks so quick too!

  • The best part of Norwegian purling for me is that the tension is quite similar to my knit stitch–my stocking stitch is MUCH smoother now. I"m just say you should keep your left index finger MUCH closer to the needles for both knitting and purling–and work more on the ends of the needles. One other advantage is that purling this way doesn't make my arthritis go crazy like regular purling.

  • My comfort style very similar to yours, Staci. Knitting for over 60 years, have never been able to get a comfort level with Continental purl. It was suggested I try Norwegian purl, but this is the first tutorial I've been able to follow. There are times, when using a strand of yarn in each hand, that I'm forced to purl Continental. THIS may work! Thanks so much

  • Great job!!! Staci, I'm a continental knitter and have arthritis. So, because I try to limit my wrist movements (less dancing, the better for me) for purling, I Russian purl. It's super quick and half the movements. I have it on my Instagram page @procastonknitter. That might be another video tutorial you could teach? PS. Love your videos and patterns!!!

  • I learned to crochet first later when my Husband asked me to learn to knit to remember his mother who had just passed I was willing but overwhelmed. I now continental knit but I am always looking for a better way to purl because the way I learned would twist the stitch, my other knitting friends could not figure out how to help me so I turned to YouTube. I found a way to do it but it adds so much stress on my wrists, thank you carpal tunnel syndrome, so I'm always trying to find a better way. I hope this works for me. Thanks for your videos!

  • As a continental knitter I get around the tension issue by just not holding my finger so far from my knitting. If you've ever watched a speed knitter their finger is resting on the tip of the needle. I haven't yet been able to achieve the fluidity of a speed knitter but I hold my yarn the same way and I never have trouble purling because I don't have an excess of yarn to control. It's almost easier than knitting honestly, and I don't have so much strain on my hand.

  • I'm not a continental knitter but now I am so tempted to try!! The old norwegian cast on is my favourite to work (because I love stitches that are like a dance too!) and I get a lot of baffled people thinking it's super complicäted … Which it kind of is, but also fantastically useful when you get it down!!!

  • Continental knitter here. I have tension issues if I'm knitting with a slippery yarn. Some yarns just grab better than others. If my yarn is slippery, I double wrap my pinky for a better hold. I am excited to try this out. Ribbing is my least favorite thing to do so maybe this will make it more enjoyable. It does look like a dance. Thanks!!

  • I never liked purl stitching so I really never liked knitting. I have been a crocheter forever. I decided to give knitting another try 4 years ago. I started with continental since someone said being a crocheter this would be a good way to learn to knit. I was going fine but still having issues with my purls and did more searches. I found Arne & Carlos and learned to relearn to purl. I like doing this way of purling.

  • As always; perfectly taught with clear, concise instructions that lead me to want to suddenly dance with my needles in a whole new way!

  • Thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed learning Norwegian purling. I tried it out and had success in executing the method. I believe I will invest more time into increasing my speed so that I can use it when I'm doing patterns that switch often between knits and purls.

  • Thank you so much for doing this tutorial! I've seen several videos on this technique, but yours brought it all together. I grew up crocheting, with the working yarn in my left hand, so continental seemed to come naturally, but purling has always been awkward for me, but this just might be a game changer.

  • Fascinating, thank you! I'm a right-handed knitter and haven't tested it out yet, and I am curious about one thing: it looks like the left-hand stitch gets all stretched out from having the needle move back and forth. Are overall tension issues somewhat different with this method than with a more straightforward purl? I do love those dancing stitches, though, and am quite drawn to this, but may need to pick and choose where I use it depending on the project. Thank you!

  • You're the best!!! I just learned about Norwegian purling a few days ago but had yet to look it up. so this is very timely for me!! Thank you so much, I can't wait to try it. I much prefer continental knitting

  • I recently switched to Continental after injuring my right wrist. Now it is my preferred method. When I purl, I end up with a twisted stitch. So, to combat that on the other side, I knit into the back loop. Saves me a headache and the "dance steps"

  • thanks for breaking this down- i saw this on Arne and Carlos and have been struggling to figure it out. It looks great!

  • I am happy to see a new technique for continental knitters. I will try this for sure – it looks fun. Thanks Staci

  • I'm a continental knitter because I'm left handed, so I'll be interested to try this to see if I like it better. I've always had tension issues with purling so I'll take all the help I can get! lol Thanks! 🙂

  • I just recently learned this from 'Arne & Carlos' website, I knit continental, it gets very easy once you get the hang of it!

  • It goes pretty much likes this: Yarn over, go into purl, twist to get the working yarn, untwist and old stitch off. I know it looks complicated , but once you get it, it'll go very smoothly and easy to handle. Ofcourse, it depends on what you find most comfortable. I can knit in both ways, but i like the continental style the best, so this way if purling is no problem for me. It is a matter of practice afterall.

  • Thank you! I am a continental knitter ( crochet was my first ) so this is even more helpful than the Portuguese way, especially if you have to go back and forth between k & p. Excellent tutorial as usual.

  • Bravo! I've always wanted to see u purling continental, I think you're pretty good at it, this might be a good option for you and some if the normal purling is hard.
    I used to knit English and decided to switch to continental, at first it was really awkward but after like a couple of weeks of perseverance it became second nature to me. In fact surpassed my English knitting.
    The normal purling for me is not a problem though I agree with u about the tension. I knit combination where the yarn is wrap the other way, but I do think the Norwegian purling looks nice, like u said, it's like a dance move.
    Sometimes I do flicking as well but as in all it takes practice but it'll get better.
    Keep it up! Perhaps u might want to consider making a series of continental knitting (with Norwegian purling) videos just like you did the Portuguese knitting. Once you do it often it'll get better.

  • Love it! I love the detailed way you are showing this stich. I don't think I have seen it this slow before.. :–) this is my way of perling since I was abort six years old, but I hold my left finger really close to the needle.

  • Norwegian purling! I took to it like a duck to water. I'm making the "Horse Hat" by Paula Sue, found on Knit Picks site. Using it for the 3 inch ribbing!

  • Best tutorial on Norwegian purling! Others I've seen go way too fast to follow the movements, but you break it down step by step. I finally get it. Thank you so much!

  • Thanks Stacy! I definitely need to try this, purling definitely messes with my rhythm while I am knitting continental.

  • Oh my, Staci, how long did it take you to do this stitch? I'm not good at continental! I crochet holding the yarn in the left hand, but the stitch that you're doing seems kinda confusing to me! I'm gonna have to try doing this again!

  • Very interesting ! Maybe it was said by others here, but if you change the way you hold the yarn the problem of the purling is at least partly solved (I don't have any problems) : the yarn should go over the index AND middle finger, so that it is anchored on the middle finger when you put the index down. I hope this is clear as my language isn't English ! But still, I'll keep the Norweggian purling in mind ! Thanks

  • This is cool! I like new ways to try. When I knit continental I go really fast, but when I do ribbing I have to become a "thrower" again lol. I will try this and once the muscle memory is down pat I think it'll be fun. Continentalize me, yo! Thanks!

  • I love your videos. Thank you. Do you know which is faster Continental or Flicking Knitting?
    I have been doing Continental for a long time but when I work Flicking, my stitches seem to be more even. I tend to need to do my knitting quickly and was wondering if it is worth my time to learn to flick. Thanks.

  • This was extremely easy for me to pick up, but I'm finding that my knit stiches on the other side seem twisted. Am I supposed to knit in the back loop after this technique, or did I do something wrong?

  • I'm a crocheter x 18 years that learned to knit in the last year and continental knitting was a smooth transition because I tension with my left hand in crochet. I hold tension by wrapping around my pinky. When purling I use by middle finger to push the yarn down so that the right needle captures the working yarn. Using this method I knit as easily and quickly as I purl.

  • This is my new technique for purling! Thank you for this video. I am a continental knitter, and always had an awkward way of purling. I did sort of the pinchy thing that you demonstrated and sort of "threw" my purls. It worked, but was always awkward, and moving the working yarn front to back from knits to purls was even more awkward. Now I don't have to (yay!), and I can see myself knitting much faster using this technique. Thank you Stacey!

  • YES YES YES!! This changed my life! It's fun to do and now I knit like a ninja. It isn't hard but it is a little bit of a workout. Definitely the highlight of my skill set. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  • Thank you. I feel as a crocheter it's more natural to be a continental knitter. I could never purl fast because I found it easier to bring the yarn to the front and use my right hand and drop it during every stitch. I do recommend anyone trying this to use larger than necessary needles and light yarn so you can see where where exactly you're going during the last motion. It makes so much more sense because with smaller needles it's hard to figure out where exactly you're going "down down down down down"

  • Thank you so much for this! I am an accidental continental knitter and always struggled purling. It takes a bit getting used but it feels easier than switching the yarn to the front. Love it!

  • I've found that laying the working yarn across the top of my index finger and using my thumb to keep tension works very well.

    Also thank you for doing such a great break down! I've tried several times to figure this style of purling out.

  • I've found that laying the working yarn across the top of my index finger and using my thumb to keep tension works very well.

    Also thank you for doing such a great break down! I've tried several times to figure this style of purling out.

  • I just tried this out on a piece of st st… After I figured out what I was doing, I kind of liked it 😉. However, I did find that I had to "reset" after every stitch to get the yarn back behind the needles, etc based on the way everything goes after you pull your stitch off the left needle. So, then I got to thinking… I bet this would be more useful for me (not saying this should be the case for everyone, of course) using it in the kind of scenarios Staci is showing – 2×2 ribbing or something like that, as opposed to st st. I find that my "pinching" technique (As Staci called it; and thank you for that as I wasn't sure if I was the only person on earth who works their yarn and fingers that way when purling… lol!) works best for me with respect to movement and tension. But good stuff because I can see myself using this in certain situations.

    Thanks, as always, Staci! Great video, great job!


  • I have a lot to learn. I've started and stopped crocheting and knitting several times in my life and am picking it up again. I like this style of stitching but am just not doing something right. Thanks for showing what you do and thanks to all the posters. I learn from all of you and ever so grateful that you are all here. Lynn

  • This looks like so much work to me! I just keep the yarn in the back all the time. For purl and knit. I think my style of knitting is eastern European. It's very fast

  • This is a really good video! I have never tried continental knitting before and have learnt this technique in five minutes! Awesome!

  • This Jenny agrees with the other Jenny, and with Robin's arthritis comment. I love how you went through step by step, needles in H position and so forth. Watching other videos I couldn't see what they were doing but your "H position, down, down, down and through" was crystal clear. Thanks!

  • Have you tried Eastern knitting, wrapping the stitches the opposite way and knitting and purling through the back loop? I'd love to see your take on it. Videos demonstrating it seem to be few and far between. I've seen videos demonstrating Eastern purling with the yarn in the front and with the yarn in the back. With the yarn in the back, it's similar to the Norwegian purl, except since one is purling through the back loop and the yarn is already in the back, the dance moves involved are less pronounced. With a little practice Eastern knitting could become my favorite style. I wish there were more videos on it. I got sidetracked with other hobbies and haven't knitted for a while. I'm starting to get back into it. Before I stopped, continental and/or continental combination knitting were my favorite styles. I have trouble picking a favorite style. There are pros and cons to most of them.

  • Thank you so much! I am a continental knitter, and have been for a long time, but I have always felt that my purl method was clunky and I knew there had to be a faster way. This is it! Great tutorial!

  • Learning how to perfect this stitch in this style has really loosened the tension of my stockinette. I always knew I had a death grip on my needles but didn't like having to consciously relax … now perfecting this technique I can see the difference and feel how much more relaxed the fabric feels afterwards

  • thank you for the tutorial. I am going to try it. continental knitter and always open to new techniques, especially for the dreaded purl stitch.

  • Staci, you ROCK ! I am knitting my first pair of socks and have tried Magic Loop but the cord was driving me crazy. I switched to double points and, so far, I prefer the dpn's. I am now looking to try Norwegian style knitting and purling. The knitting is getting easier (with much practice) but the purling has seemed a bit crazy. I searched for a tutorial and there YOU were. Your tutorials have taught me all I know in knitting and I thank you for the many videos you have so graciously shared with all of us. To also find Norwegian purling on your site is incredible.

  • I love your teaching style. You always do a great job of explaining things. I am a continental knitter, and I thought you did just fine. As always, I look forward to your next demonstration.

  • This is the best video I have seen on Norwegian purling. Clear on both execution and explanation. I feel like I can totally nail it. The way I’ve been purling so far, I found ALL my stitches twisted😕. Thank you for sharing

  • will you please make a video about russian method? how its done and what it means that the stitches are opposite in comparison to normal continetal knitting, its really hard to follow a pattern 🙁

  • Thank you so much! I’m a continental knitter and mastered knitting but was having a hard time with the purl stitch and switching between the two in a pattern. After watching your video I’ve got it! It just clicked. ❤️Love all your videos.

  • Thanks for posting this! I've been doing this a week now and just love it. It was the answer for me as a long-time crocheter, and I don't dread purling anymore.Thanks for the great tutorial.

  • Phenomenal video! But, sorry, you allways tell us to minimize the moves while knitting (and purling, too!) and now you do so many moves to do one single stitch! Can one be fast purling that style, or is it only a kinda purling for those who can't get familiar with our "normal" purling – methods? Thanks for your answer, it's worth a lot to me!

  • Thanks for this video. It’s simplified it greatly for me. I’m trying to get used to continental knitting to speed up as I’m used to throwing.

  • Staci, Thank you SO much for this clarifying video! I learned about the existence of Norwegian purling from Arne, but your video enabled me to actually do it! I've been looking for a more efficient way to knit beyond my childhood throwing – somehow, this works for me!
    I love ALL your videos! Thanks to you, I've got a wonderful new hobby! You are wonderful!

  • Thanks for the demo, Staci! I am a continental knitter, and it would be great to be able to keep the working yarn behind the needle the whole time, as it might increase speed. I have no problem keeping tension when I purl, as I just flick my left forefinger forward and down to position the yarn so that I can pick it with the right needle and pull it through the stitch on the left needle. The only thing I would worry about with Norwegian purling is that it appears to really stretch out the stitch on the left needle through which the purl stitch is being formed, due to all the needle manipulatio. That stitch seems to be manipulated into a figure 8 when the needles are being moved around! Do you find that this kind of purling makes for loosened stiches on the row below the row that is being worked? Thanks for your reply!

  • Question: I currently knit with my right hand with the yarn coming from the right needle. Can I safely switch to knit with my left hand and have the yarn come from the left needle. Doing this switch in the middle of my sock worries me.

  • the first movement shouldn't really be a yarn over. if you think of it as an actual yarn over you get the wrong habit and lose time. you should try to think of it as inserting the needle through both the working yarn and the stitch at the same time, that way your brain gets used to a single movement instead of two (yarn over and insert). when done correctly it becomes a very fast way of purling

  • I'm a continental knitter, I just recently got a really good groove for purling in ribbing, having to switch from knits to purls. For all purl rows I hold the working yarn with my thumb, which I find sooo much easier. But I'm definitely excited to try this technique!

  • I started continental knitting when I developed hand pain after a project. Continental really helped relieve that, but I COULD NOT GET THE PURL stitch for continental. It just made it equally hard, so I learned the Norwegian Purl and voila. I am also not as tight a knitter in continental. Staci, what a great job describing it. When I first watched it, I thought, "is that the way I do the Norwegian Purl" and then when you did it a bit quicker I realized that yes, it is exactly the way I do it. I use both English and continental for my knitting projects.

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