Purls of Wisdom

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Loom knitting takes an interesting turn.

Purls of Wisdom

One of the things Real Knitters know how to do is purl. (Yeah, it's spelled like that, so now you know something.) The dictionary defines 'purl' as 'denoting or relating to a knitting stitch made by putting the needle through the front of the stitch from right to left.' But how do you do this on a knitting loom, you know, that Round Thing?

Sigh, it's complicated. But I will show you how, because I have learned. Follow the Knitting Editor.

1. Ewrap a row. You remember the ewrap.How to ewrap.
2. Pass the working yarn across the front of the loom. Position the yarn below the ewrapped loop. Now here's the tricky part: With your hook, reach under the top loop and hook the working yarn. Pull it up through the ewrap loop so that the loop is sticking up on the front of the peg. It should look like this.How to purl.
3. Now it gets even worse. Pick the whole shebang up and pull it off the peg without losing it. All those clever ladies on the videos do it with their little fingers. Your Editor uses the hook, because Your Editor is a knit-wuss. Once it's off the peg, don't stop – this is the crucial bit. Push the top loop back over the peg from the back. It looks comme ça.How to purl.
4. Pull the working yarn a bit to tighten it. (Not too much! Save your muscles for the next company picnic tug-of-war.) Go on to the next peg, etc.How to purl.

This is purling. Yeah, I know. One video is worth a hundred words of snark. Here you are: a demonstration by an expert. You will notice three things about this demo video which you will not notice about the Editor's clumsy work.

  1. The lady uses her nimble fingers to pry the purl assemblage off the peg.
  2. Her yarn doesn't split or tangle. She has knit mojo.
  3. Like a good knitting witch, she knits clockwise on the loom. Your Editor knits widdershins. The excuse for this is either ambidexterity (aka 'clumsy with both hands') or bad brain wiring. But Sis said it was okay to knit in either direction on that loom. (Sis has left- and right-handed kids at her house.) So pooh to the experts, we gets the job done.

What can you do with a purl? Well, you can make interesting stitches. Try making a knit row and a purl row and a knit row. You'll see. What? The 'knit' is what we've been doing all along, silly. Now try two knit rows and two purl rows and so on. See? Isn't that cool? You can use this technique to follow this simple set of directions for making a hat:

Making Another Kind of Hat

Knitted (and purled) hat.

  1. Ewrap a 36-peg loom. (Yeah, it's big. You'll survive.)
  2. Flat stitch the first row. How do you flat stitch? Easy as pie. Pull the working yarn across the front of the loom, above the ewrap. Knit. Move to next peg, knit. Keep on till you're all the way around.
  3. Pick out a good long movie to watch. This may take awhile. Or put on your favourite headbanger music.
  4. Purl 1 row, knit 1 row.
  5. Do this 13 more times. Then purl one more row.
  6. Now make three rows like this: Knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches. All the way around, three times. Don't lose count. (This requires concentration, so stop watching Jason Statham.)
  7. Loop the working yarn around the loom twice and a bit more, and cut the yarn.
  8. Thread the yarn through a yarn needle. It won't go? Threaten it. Shout at it. Then do what I do, and use a nail file to force the fat stuff through that skinny hole1. (Accomplished knitters, look away at this point.)
  9. Loop the needle and yarn through all the purl loops on the loom. Pass the yarn behind the knitted pegs.
  10. Pull the purled loops off the loom. Use your fingers (elegant method) or the hook, with or without cursing, for the Editor method.
  11. Pull the 'drawstring' tight, but don't pull the knitted stitches off the loom.
  12. Now do the same thing for the knitted stitches, passing the threaded yarn behind the empty pegs. When you get back to Peg 1, pull the yarn through there a second time for belt-and-braces security.
  13. Take the knitted loops off the peg the same way as before.
  14. Turn the knitting inside out and gently pull the drawstrings until a hat emerges. DO NOT do what the Editor did the other night, and pull the yarn back out of the loops. Employ common sense. Once the crown is pulled together, pass the needle to the inside and tie the yarn off.
  15. Feel smug. You made a hat.
  16. Find a victim. . . er, deserving person, and get them to try on the hat. Give presents.

Knitted (and purled) hat.

PS The hat you just made is recommended for people undergoing chemotherapy who have experienced sudden hair loss. In that case, for best results, use all-acrylic or all-nylon (i.e., supersoft) yarn, No 6 Bulky. The Editor just made a gift of such a hat to a friend who's waiting for his hair to grow back. His comment? 'It will get good use.'

You can also wear this hat as a fashion statement. Add your favourite sport emblem, jaunty doodah, or pin that says '42'.

Dmitri Gheorgheni Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

08.08.16 Front Page

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1This form of Zweckentfremdung runs in my family. My sainted grandmother used to tenderise steak with a claw hammer.

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