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How to Knit Backwards

How to Knit Backwards

This video knitting tutorial will help you learn how to knit backwards. If you prefer not to use the purl stitch or if you are working a pattern that requires a lot of turning your work this technique will help you to remedy those problems. Knitting backwards is knitting from the left to right (right to left for left handers) and can be substituted for a purl row in stockinette, allowing you to never turn your work.

Materials Used in this Tutorial


Imperial Yarn Native Twise Desert Primrose

Imperial Yarn Native Twist

Native Twist (Imperial’s most popular product) is a single-ply, lofty yarn. The bulky weight creates a soft, smooth knit fabric, making it an excellent option for heavy-weight outerwear such as coats and sweaters.


A pair of knitting needles



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Pattern Instructions

Skill: Intermediate

  1. Step 1

    At the end of your right side row, take main needle in your non-dominate hand (now it will become the working needle), insert working needle into first stitch on main needle into back of loop.

  2. Step 2

    Wrap yarn over the top and back around the working needle.

  3. Step 3

    Pull stitch toward you and through the stitch.

  4. Step 4

    Let stitch drop off the needle.

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Comments

  1. Alla Malikoff

    January 14, 2013

    In my humble opinion, it seems to me that knitting a row of pearl stitches would be quicker than knitting a row backward! Just can’t see the point of the exercise.

    • Johnny Vasquez

      January 14, 2013

      It’s just another way to do things. Some people don’t like to purl. It’s also used in entrelac where there’s a lot of turning on very short rows, so this eliminates that.

    • Marny CA

      January 14, 2013

      When doing entrelac I’m ok about turning but it sure would be easier and fun to learn to knit backwards. Purling isn’t a fav of mine but for people who really don’t like purling, knitting backwards is a good thing.

      Johnny knows best.

      • Marny CA

        January 14, 2013

        Forgot to mention – I am also ambidextrous but never tried to knit left handed so it would be fun to learn.

      • Johnny Vasquez

        January 14, 2013

        LOL! Honestly we’ve had a few people request this. But thank you for the support.

  2. Holly

    January 14, 2013

    THANK YOU!!!! I’ve tried this a couple times based on written directions but now I ‘get’ it!

  3. Barbara Lowell

    January 14, 2013

    Bravo, you are the most interesting teacher yet … I can’t imagine using this but now that I know of it, it may come in handy. Does it have any special merit, like does st st curl less or are the selvages different or what?

    • Johnny Vasquez

      January 14, 2013

      It does not affect the fabric in any special way that I could see. It’s often used when knitting entrelac.

  4. Kathleen Mitchell

    January 14, 2013

    Am totally intrigued…is this technique adaptable to continental knitting as well? Thanks!

    • Johnny Vasquez

      January 14, 2013

      Yes! The position of the working yarn is irrelevant.

  5. Terri -TN

    January 14, 2013

    Hi Johnny! I’ve heard about knitting backwards but have never seen it demonstrated, so thank you very much for giving us a lesson on how to do it. One thing I wanted to ask though, it looked like you were using dpns for the demo. Does backwards knitting have to be done on dpns or can it be done with straights or circs? Thanks!

    • Johnny Vasquez

      January 14, 2013

      I knit with DPN’s or circulars because they don’t hit the table when I’m filming. You can use any type of needles for this technique. Thanks for asking!

  6. Mary Lee Fischer

    January 14, 2013

    I have knit backwards when doing Entrelac. It is very handy for this application.

  7. Peggy

    January 15, 2013

    I have used this technique before and always had to “reteach” myself. It does come in handy. Your video is excellent.

  8. Jeanie

    January 15, 2013

    Thanks for this video Johnny, i am kind of new to knitting and i really don’t like purling so this stitch will really come in handy for knitting dishcloths/washcloths.

    • Marny CA

      January 31, 2013

      Jeanie, being a new knitter is a good thing! You’re a clean slate – which usually makes learning new things much easier. Backward knitting will be a powerful tool.

  9. Daisy

    January 15, 2013

    Very well done; you make it look so simple….

    • Marny CA

      January 31, 2013

      Johnny *does* make it look simple! I know, too, that everything is difficult to impossible UNTIL I learn how to do the task – then it is so easy that I can’t believe I thought it difficult.

      Entrelac was that way for me.

      Now that Johnny has made the backward knitting easier, even entrelac will mean no turning! Yea!

      Thank you, Johnny! A good teacher is everything!!

  10. glacy1@gmail.com

    March 24, 2013

    Johnny is a good teacher. I’m enjoying taking his ‘free’ classes several times a month. If you have not checked it out, you should, because the lives classes also feature him answering questions as he goes in real time. Check out New Stitch A Day’s website to learn more about the free classes.

  11. Alicia Sutherly

    March 29, 2013

    Hi! Johnny,
    Thank-You for this video.Your gooooooodddddd
    I am finely using the backwards stitch.
    for I was showed how to do it at Parrysburg,Ohio
    in a class I went to.Thank-You for the
    refresher course on this stitch.
    Thank-You!Thank-You!Thank-You!

  12. TamalaT

    April 23, 2013

    Great video!

    I have a question. What’s the difference between this and left handed continental knitting? Could you come through the front of the stitch and pick the yarn?

    Thanks!

    • Johnny Vasquez

      April 23, 2013

      I guess there isn’t really a difference other than if you were a left handed continental knitter then it wouldn’t be knitting backwards.

  13. Cheryl

    June 12, 2013

    I have recently started a “potato chip scarf” which has many short rows and constant turning. I am going to try this backwards knitting and hopefully will eliminate the turning. I really enjoy your short lessons as well as the longer ones you have from time to time. Thanks for all the hard work that you and your team do.
    Abuela

    • Johnny Vasquez

      June 23, 2013

      Sounds great! Let us know how it turns out.