How to knit tutorial: Western style untwisted knitting

The ‘standard’ style of knitting

When I wrote about twisted and untwisted stitches, I said that I would be writing posts about the different styles of knitting (there are about eight different styles). This is the first of the series. In each post, I’ll show how knit and purl stitches are formed for knitters who work right-handed and those who work left-handed. I’m not covering how yarn is held – that will come later.

Western style untwisted knitting is considered the ‘standard’ style of knitting in Western Europe or North America. In other words, when books show ‘how to knit’ then this is the style shown. Also, publishers of patterns assume that the knitter will be knitting in this way.  Of course, not everyone who lives in these areas will knit Western style, but it’s the commonest style, so it’s a good starting point.

Western style untwisted knitting

Western style for right-handed knitters

Let’s just recap, for right-handed knitting the stitches start on the left needle. The right needle is the working needle, since the right hand does most of the work.

In Western Style untwisted knitting the leading (right) leg of each stitch sits in front of the needle.

Stocking stitch on needle, leading leg at front, for knitting right-handed

Knit stitches – right-handed

1  Insert the right needle knitwise (left to right) through the front of first stitch on the left needle.

Western untwisted knit 1 (right-handed) - insert needle through front of stitch

2  Wrap the yarn round the right needle in a clockwise direction (looking along the needle towards the pointed end).

Western untwisted knit 2 (right-handed) - yarn clockwise round needle

3  Use the right needle to pull the new stitch through the old one (from back to front) and slip the old stitch off the left needle.

Western untwisted knit 3 (right-handed) - pull new stitch through

Purl stitches – right-handed

1  Insert the right needle purlwise (right to left) through the front of the first stitch on the left needle.

Western untwisted purl 1 (right-handed) - insert needle through front of stitch

2  Wrap the yarn round the right needle in a clockwise direction (looking along the needle towards the pointed end).

Western untwisted purl 2 (right-handed) - yarn clockwise round needle

3  Use the right needle to pull the new stitch through the old one and slip the old stitch off the left needle.

Western untwisted purl 3 (right-handed) - pull new stitch through

Western style for left-handed knitters

Starting with the basics again, for left-handed knitting the stitches start on the right needle. The left needle is the working needle, since the left hand does most of the work.

Again, the leading leg of each stitch sits in front of the needle, however for left-handed knitting the leading leg is the left leg.

Stocking stitch on needle, leading leg at front, for knitting left-handed

Knit stitches – left-handed

1  Insert the left needle knitwise (right to left) through the front of the first stitch on the right needle.

Western untwisted knit 1 (left-handed) - insert needle through front of stitch

2  Wrap the yarn round the left needle in an anticlockwise direction (looking along the needle towards the pointed end).

Western untwisted knit 2 (left-handed) - yarn anticlockwise round needle

3  Use the left needle to pull the new stitch through the old one and slip the old stitch off the right needle.

Western untwisted knit 3 (left-handed) - pull new stitch through

Purl stitches – left-handed

1  Insert the left needle purlwise (left to right) through the front of the first stitch on the right needle.

Western untwisted purl 1 (left-handed) - insert needle through front of stitch

2  Wrap the yarn round the left needle in an anticlockwise direction (looking along the needle towards the pointed end).

Western untwisted purl 2 (left-handed) - yarn anticlockwise round needle

3  Use the left needle to pull the new stitch through the old one and slip the old stitch off the right needle.

Western untwisted purl 3 (left-handed) - pull new stitch through

Summary

So for knitting right-handed …

Knitting right-handed

Knit stitch

Purl stitch

Where do the stitches start? Left Left
Where is the working needle? Right Right
Where is the leading leg at the start? In front of the needle In front of the needle
Where is the working needle inserted? Front Front
How is yarn wrapped around the needle? Clockwise Clockwise
What stitches are formed? Untwisted

Untwisted

… and for knitting left-handed.

Knitting left-handed

Knit stitch

Purl stitch

Which needle holds the stitches? Right Right
Where is the working needle? Left Left
Where is the leading leg at the start? In front of the needle In front of the needle
Where is the working needle inserted? Front Front
How is yarn wrapped around the needle? Anticlockwise Anticlockwise
What stitches are formed? Untwisted Untwisted

So whether you knit left-handed or right-handed or whether you form knit stitches or purl stitches:

  • the leading leg of the stitch sits in front of the needle;
  • the working needle is inserted into the front of the stitch;
  • the stitches formed are untwisted.

The main difference between knitting left-handed and knitting right-handed is the direction in which yarn is wrapped around the needle. As I discussed previously, the direction of wrapping determines how the stitches sit on the needle. And since knitting left-handed is a mirror image of knitting right-handed, the direction is opposite as well.

Want to learn more?

Take a look at my other tutorials. Choose from:

Tutorials for knitting right-handed

You knit right-handed if your right hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you move your stitches your left to right needle as you knit.

Tutorials for knitting left-handed

You knit left-handed if your left hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and you move your stitches move from your right to left needle as you knit.

Tutorials for crocheting right-handed

You crochet right-handed if your right hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and your new stitches are on the left of your old ones.

Tutorials for crocheting left-handed

You crochet left-handed if your left hand is your working hand (regardless of which hand you use to hold the yarn) and your new stitches are on the right of your old ones.

Or maybe you’d like to come to one of my short courses or workshops or book a special personalised one-to-one tutorial.

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One Response to How to knit tutorial: Western style untwisted knitting

  1. Lakshmi Moorty 24 March 2014 at 16:44 #

    I really like this demonstration. Very useful. It is my kind of Knitting! Thanks for helping the Left Hand Knitters.

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