Difference between Knitting and Purling

Key difference: A knit stitch is particular stitch in knitting that goes into the stitch from front to back. A purl stitch is a knitting stitch created by working a knit stitch backwards, going into the stitch from back to front.

Knitting is a method that is used to produce fabric, by turning yarn into cloth. The term ‘knitted’ is derived from the Old English ‘cnyttan’, meaning ‘to knot’. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. Each stitch is produced by pulling a new loop through and existing loop. Stitches are held by a needle till a new loop passes through them. Knitting can be done by hand or a knitting machine. Different colored yarns and needles can be used to produce different colors, textures, weight and pattern of fabrics. The yarn in knitting follows a specific course of forming symmetric loops above and below the mean path of the yarn. These loops can easily be stretched into different directions, giving the knitted cloth its elastic properties. Hence knitting is used for fabrics that need to be stretched such as socks and hosiery. Clothes that are knitted are also more form-fitting due to the elasticity. The yarn used is knitting is thicker, compared to normal thread, making the garment bulkier and heavier.

The two most common types of stitches in knitting are the knit stitch and the purl stitch. The knit stitch is made by pulling the tread from front to the back, whereas the purl stitch is the exact opposite. The purl stitch pulls the thread from back to front. The purl stitch is also called a backwards knit stitch.

A knitting pattern done by the knit stitch looks like a row of Vs on top of another. A knitting pattern done by purling looks like wavy horizontal lines across the fabric. Various different patterns and pictures can be knitted by using knit and purl stitches in different combinations. For example, alternating rows of knit stitches and purl stitches produce a stockinette pattern, whereas as if all of the stitches are of one kind, either knit or purl, it is called a garter pattern.

Vertical stripes called ribbing and horizontal striping called welting can be made by alternating wales of knit and purl stitches. Checkerboard patterns, known as basketweave, can be made by alternating between knit and purl in every wale and along every row. The smallest basketweave is known as the seed stitch. These are just some common patterns; one can also make a number of unique patterns using knitting and purling stitches.

Image Courtesy: knitty.com, videojug.com

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