Monday, January 22, 2007

Elegant Uses for Norwegian Purl

Norwegian Purl is a cute little maneuver that produces a purl stitch with the yarn in back of the work at all times. It's in common use in Denmark and Switzerland, and presumably Norway (although they don't eat French Fries in France, so maybe not).

Some people who have difficulty maintaining an even tension with normal purling find improvement using the Norwegian method.

I taught myself this technique a couple of years ago, but didn't find it particularly faster or more convenient except in the following circumstances:

1, If you are knitting with multiple needles (2 circs, 4 or 3 needles in the round) AND your new needle starts with a purl stitch, using the Norwegian Purl method on the first two purl stitches makes it very easy to tighten the stitch so you do not get a ladder there. This is because the yarn remains in back of the knitting in Norwegian Purl, making it much easier to tension with your forefinger.

2. Similarly, If you are plagued by loose purl stitches after cabling, a Norwegian Purl here will tighten things up.

3. And, in the same vein, when you purl after a yarnover and it just seems too loose, try a Norwegian Purl instead.

The video is here:

I had to watch it a bazillion times before I got it, but it is a very useful technique to stuff in your bag of tricks.
Give it a try.


Big Alice said...

Thank you!
I always have problems with loose purls after cables so I'll try this.

Caroline said...

Oh my gosh! I am so grateful for your site. I was having the most difficult time figuring out how to do the provincial cast-on. I just couldn't get a handle on it. Then I came across your method. Why would anyone do it any other way?? You're great. Thanks!

Päivi, Lankakomero said...

I'm Finnish and I have always used Norwegian purl. To me it's the fastest and the neatest way. I have learned this way from my grandmother and mother. All finnish knitters don't use Norwegian purl, some younger knitters have learned at school continental or combined method. Interesting how many different ways it is possible to purl!

Anonymous said...

Freaky, but cool.
I tend to be a clutzy knitter and love the 'knit back' method. Anything beats purling!

Lacefreak said...

Dear fleegle,

Great tip! I also had to watch that video so many times my eyes began to water. Guess my left/right deficit is showing :-)

Anonymous said...

Never thought about using Norwegian purl for the situations you talk about. I'm currently knitting the embossed leaves socks from IK Winter 2005 which has 2 purl stitches at the beginning of the needles. Tried using Norwegian purl and it works great for those two stitches. However, my tension is looser than when I throw yarn so I have to fiddle with it a bit. Thanks for the tip, love learning arcane/obscure methods for doing things.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I hope you are going to read this! I come from Austria and I first learned knitting in elementary school. I took it up again about a year ago and since then have used the internet to search for patterns. Quickly I discovered Knitty and reading many of their thechnique-articles I realized that there are obviously differnte ways of knitting in Europe and the US and Canada. My knitting technique seems to be a mixture of what I remeber from school and what I tought myself via the internet. I have long sought an explanation as to what "continental" knitting is and how other people knit. Today I found your brilliant post and realized that I am doing the "Norwegian" purl all the time. Do you have anymore interesting links maybe with videos on knitting thechniques? I find it hard to follow knitting instructions when I don't know what the things are called that I am doing!

Thank you for your help!!!


fleegle said...

Dear Birgit--

If you Google for Knitting Videos, you won't leave your computer for weeks! Have fun with all the techniques that are demonstrated with videos.

Anonymous said...

dear fleegle,

thanxs for the hint. as you can see from the date of my reply I've been stuck behind the pc since over a week :)

Huldr said...

Hello! Old, old post I know, but I was just introduced to the term Norwegian Purl through a forum and so I had to google it! I'm Norwegian and I didn't know about this method. Apparently the method I've always used is called Finnish Purl! I thought that was a little bit funny :)

Lee Grindhem said...

Just to clarify, yes Norwegiand do purl like this. And we use it for all our purling. Once you learn how to do it, it goes quickly and makes a lovely line of purling.