A step-by-step tutorial on knitting the purl three together (p3tog) centered
A lot of knitters don’t like purl stitches very much. As a result, most modern patterns try to avoid decreases on the wrong side as much as possible. But what if you are knitting garter stitch in the round and need a neat double decrease? How do you knit a centered doubled decrease for the purl side?
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to knit this really uncommon decrease step by step. It is considerably harder to knit than a regular p3tog, and I guess it’s not exactly part of the standard knitting canon. Still, I always love tinkering around and finding new techniques and stitches for my readers.
This stitch will look exactly like a k3tog centered (ccd) from the right side (knit side) and form a really neat decrease line for the middle of shawls, etc. In knitting patterns, you may also find cddp – for centered double decrease purl. And just in case: check out this tutorial for a right-leaning purl double decrease (p3tog tbl)
So, let’s dive right into it, eh?
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- Slip two stitches knitwise to the right needle - one at a time.
- Slip the two stitches back to the left needle purlwise as a unit.
Insert your left needle from right to left into both stitches at the same time. This will feel somewhat strange/unusual.
- Insert your needle into all three stitches purlwise & wrap the yarn around counter-clockwise.
- Pull the yarn through carefully, and slip the three stitches off your left needle.
Make sure to use sharp & sturdy needles if your pattern features a lot of these stitches. I feel it's quite manageable with a bit of patience and good lighting.
Reading tip: If this is too difficult, here’s how to decrease knitting stitches for beginners.
An alternative way to p3tog centered
The alternative way to knit this is quite cumbersome. It works really well for a k3tog centered but if you mirror it to the purl side, it’s not very viable in my opinion.
- Step 1: Purl one stitch.
- Step 2: Slip the next two stitches knitwise as a unit (so go into both at the same time).
- Step 3: Slip all three stitches back to the left needle.
- Step 4: Pass the second and third stitch over the one you purled (a bit like a bind-off).
- Step 5: Slip the remaining stitch back to the right needle.
As you can see, it does involve even more slipping. On the plus side, you avoid working through three stitches at the same time. After all, this can be a problem when working with very fine needles and yarn.
And I guess that’s the reason why I felt like including this option anyway. The easier alternative would probably still be trying to skip the wrong side and keep all the complicated stitches on the right side.
Reading tip: The ultimate list of knitting decreases – centered, right-, and left-leaning alternatives for every project.