The purl stitch is essentially the opposite of the knit stitch. (As in, if you look at the back side of a knit stitch, it’s a purl stitch, and vice versa.) It is the second primary stitch in knitting. Once you know how to both knit and purl, you can knit anything.
Begin with your stitch-bearing needle in your left hand. (Lefties, see alternate directions below.)
Hold the working yarn to the front of your work unless directed otherwise.
Dive the tip of your right needle down through the front of the first stitch on the left needle.
Wrap the working yarn up and over the right needle counterclockwise, bringing it down between the two needles.
Hook the right needle back through the loop still held by the left needle, catching the working yarn and bringing it along.
With the right needle, slide the loop off the left needle. The new stitch will remain on your right needle.
You will be doing the reverse of the directions above. Dive your left needle through the front of the first stitch on the right needle. Wrap the active yarn up and over the left needle clockwise, bringing it down between the two needles. Hook the left needle back up through the loop held by the right needle, pulling the active yarn along with it. Slide the loop of the right needle so your stitch is now on your left needle.
And for everyone who prefers a video:
Looking for an easy project with what you’ve just learned? Watch for my upcoming instructions for a simple stockinette stitch scarf!