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 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 or SSP.
ⓘ P2tog stands for “knit 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.
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).
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.
Step 3: Pull the working yarn through both stitches.
Step 4: Slip off both stitches. And there is your p2tog.
The p2tog stitch should have two little loops around the base. So, make sure you didn’t accidentally just purl through one stitch and drop 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.
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 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.
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.
Reading tip: The ultimate list of knitting decreases – centered, right-, and left-leaning alternatives for every project.