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 decrease 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.
P2tog creates a left-slanting decrease and you knit almost like the standard purl stitch. It will appear like a right-slanting decrease on the right side (so, pay attention!). In fact, knitting this decrease will have the exact same results as a k2tog. The corresponding left-slanting decrease is p2tog tbl or SSP.
ⓘ P2tog stands for “purl 2 together”, sometimes it is also capitalized “P2TOG”. If your pattern 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.
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- Bring the working yarn to the front.
- Enter the first two stitches on the left needle from right to left.
- Wrap the working yarn around the needle counter-clockwise.
- Pull the working yarn through towards the back.
- Drop both stitches off the left needle and tighten up.
If that is a bit too difficult, try to loosen up the second stitch before you try to enter them at the same time.
As an alternative, you can also:
- slip the next stitch over to the right needle purlwise/point-to-point
- Purl the next stitch
- Pass the second stitch on the right needle (the one that you've slipped) over the first one
This will result in the exact same left-leaning decrease.
Reading tip: Here’s how to decrease for beginners
P3tog – 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 at the same time instead of only two (see picture 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.
A variation coming variation of this decrease is “purl two together through back loop” or P2tog tbl. A lot of lace patterns use it. 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.
Reading tip: The ultimate list of knitting decreases – centered, right-, and left-leaning alternatives for every project.