Norwegian purl, in brioche

I learned a new thing! I learned a new thing!

I’m not a continental knitter, but I can make a decent continental knit stitch. My purls, however, have been abysmal. I needed to make a little video about the end of the round in 2 color brioche rib on dpns. I always make a video for English/throwing, and one for continental/picking. And I finally decided it was time to figure out how to purl less awkwardly.

Some continental knitters hold their left index finger up in the air, and wave it back and forth to move their yarn. I can’t get my index finger to stay up in the air; I hold both hands close to the needles. With Norwegian knitting and purling, the index finger stays down, and the yarn is scooped off the left index finger by the right needle. Works for me! Here’s a little video of my new Norwegian purl in my brioche.

I keep the yarn to the back the whole time, even on the brioche knit rounds where I need to make the sl1yo. Instead of bringing the yarn to the front, I duck the right needle behind it. Whatever works! I always tell my students, as long as you get the results you want, you’re doing it right.

Do you throw, or pick? If you’re a picker/continental/hold yarn in your left hand knitter, how do you purl? Have you tried the Norwegian purl? Inquirin’ minds wanna know!

9 responses to “Norwegian purl, in brioche

  1. While I appreciate this post about you learning a new technique, kind of seems a bit tone deaf considering what happened yesterday. I would rather have read a statement from you about this issue that directly affects most, if not all of the recipients of your newsletter.

  2. I had forgotten what a delightful deep sexy voice you have !! [grin]

  3. Valentina Arriaga

    I am a longtime novice knitter, I learned in Mexico, from my mom and the local style is continental (didn’t even know it had a name or that there were other styles, go figure) she keeps her left index up but I never could so the way that I adapted my purl was, while keeping my index down I put the yarn in front and get the needle through the back of the loop (left to right or back to front?), pick the yarn and pull it back through the loop, over time I developed speed. My level of skill is still very basic but it has consistency

    • Yes, that’s it! Picking instead of making your finger wrap it works when your finger won’t stay up in the air. Whatever method you use, practice makes perfect, and as long as you get the result you want, you’re doing it right! That’s what I tell my students, all the time.


  4. Totally agree. Norwegian purl was a game changer for me learning to knit Continental. Sadly, I still can only do knits and purls Continental. Haven’t mastered increases and decreases.

  5. My primary knitting method is English or throwing. I can knit Continental, but cannot do purls that way very well at all. Norwegian purls sound like a great thing to learn!!

  6. Rachel Cohen

    I used to have the exact same problem — knitting continental was easy but purling was incredibly contorted. Then i took a wonderful continental knitting class from Lorilee Beltman, and she shows a different way to hold your yarn and it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world. She teaches on Craftsy, but she also has some free videos out there. Take a look at this one: Enjoy!!!

    • Thanks for the link! I can’t get my left index finger to stay up in the air, so that method doesn’t work for me. But I love that there are so many ways to get it done. And as I tell my students, as long as you get the result you want, you’re doing it right!


  7. Ooh, gonna have to look into this. I truly never understood why people complain so much about purling until I learned continental, and then it made perfect sense. Purling continental is THE WORST. I still don’t knit continental very often (mostly just for colourwork), but next time I find myself needing to purl continental, I will definitely keep this in mind!