How to p2tog – Purl 2 together

A step by step tutorial on how to purl two together for beginners. The easiest knitting decrease for purl stitches.

Most knitters will agree it’s easier to decreases stitches on the right side with k2tog. But sometimes you are knitting in the round through a purl section or you have to decrease on the wrong side and then you need to p2tog. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how.

Purl two together increase on the wrong and on the right side
A swatch where I decreased with p2tog and how it appears on the wrong and the right side of stockinette stitch

P2tog creates a left-slanting decrease and is knit almost like the standard purl stitch. If you are decreasing on the wrong side, then it will appear like a right-slanting decrease on the right side (so, pay attention!). In fact, it will appear exactly like a k2tog. The corresponding left-slanting decrease is p2tog tbl.

ⓘ P2tog stands for “knit 2 together”, sometimes it is also capitalized “P2TOG”. If your patterns says “P2tog (3 times)” then you have to repeat this stitch three times in a row. If your pattern tells you to decrease stitches in a purl row, then this decrease is a safe bet.

How to P2tog step by step

Step 1: Insert your right needle into the first two stitches on the left needle from right to left. So, just as you would for a normal purl stitch, but through two stitches).

Insert the right needle into two stitches to purl two together

Step 2: Wrap the yarn around the needle counter-clockwise. Use your middle (or index finger) to push the working yarn to the front to create extra tension if you are a continental knitter like I am.

Wrap the yarn around the needle counter clockwise to purl two together

Step 3: Pull the working yarn through both stitches.

Pull the yarn through the two stitches to p2tog

Step 4: Slip off both stitches. And there is your p2tog.

A p2tog purl two together stitch on the left needle

The p2tog stitch should have two little loops around the base. So, make sure you didn’t accidentally just purl through one stitch and dropped the other stitch.

I feel the purl two together is very easy to knit, as you don’t have to twist your needles in an awkward way (like for the k2tog). On the purl side, it’s somewhat visible though and doesn’t look all that great.

P3tog – Purl three together

Insert the right needle into two stitches to purl three together

If your pattern requires you to p3tog (like the beautiful Star Stitch), then you can knit it in exactly the same way. The only difference: You have to insert the needle into the first three stitches instead of only two (see above).

This is a very fast decrease and will create a very visible little bump in your fabric. There are a lot of stitches that use this to create fantastic shapes, but for stockinette stitch and other flat patterns, you usually avoid it.

Here’s a detailed step by step guide on how to P3tog.

P2tog tbl

A variation of is the “purl two together through back loop” or P2tog tbl. A lot of lace patterns use this decrease. Here, you decrease by purling two stitches together as well. But instead of inserting the right needle from left to right through the front loop, you insert it from right to left through the back loop (like the regular ptbl) and then you purl them together. This can often be somewhat tricky and it helps to loosen the loops a bit before with your right needle.

So, that’s it. That’s how you p2tog. I hope I was able to help you with knitting this decrease. Feel free to comment with your questions!

How to purl two together for beginners

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