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I’m a combination knitter, and I love knitting this way! In this video I explain what combination knitting is and how to combination knit. I also talk about things you need to look out for if you are a combination knitter. A transcript of this video is available at the end of this post.
So what exactly does combination knitting mean? When we use the term combination, we’re referring to the orientation of your loops or your stitches that are on your needle. If you’re learned it in the United States, chances are all your stitches are oriented so that the right leg of the stitch is in front of the needle and the left leg of the stitch is behind the needle. If you’re a combination knitter, some of your stitches are going to be oriented the opposite way and the way that ends up happening is usually with how you purl.
So typically, if you do continental or Portuguese style knitting, when you purl, you wrap the yarn over your needle and pull it through. And that results in a stitch that’s oriented the exact same way. Right side on the front. Left side on the back. If you’re a combination knitter, you purl by bringing the yarn under your needle to pull through. And when you do that, you’ll see your stitches aren’t oriented the opposite way. It’s the left strand of the stitch that’s on the front and the right strand that’s on the back.
So I really like purling this way because it goes much more quickly for me than a standard continental style purl. It evens out my stitches. So I used to have a problem with being able to tell which stitches I did on the wrong side row or right side row in stockinette. This kind of took care of that problem for me. But I had to adjust to the fact that my stitches on my next row are now oriented differently. It’s the left side that’s on the front and the right side that’s on the back.
If you start to knit, and you’re used to the front being on the right, you can actually end up twisting your stitch and it will be kind of obvious here that after I knit the stitch, if you look at it, you can see the base is twisted. So what you have to do is you have to remember to work through the inside middle of the stitch when you knit and then you won’t twist your stitches.
So that’s the main thing that you have to look out for but then you also have to be careful when you start to do decreases. If you’re used to doing a knit 2 together a certain way, you can very easily do a knit 2 together through the interior of two stitches like this. But then you’ll find out that your stitches lean to the left instead of to the right. Typically, a knit 2 together is supposed to lean to the right. Suddenly, you’ve got the opposite.
So actually what’s happening there is instead of doing a classic knit 2 together, you’re doing more of a knit 2 through the back loop. So you have to kind of be aware of that and compensate for that by doing your knit 2 together this way so that it will lean the proper direction. I find that the decreases are where you’re more likely to get in trouble with combination knitting and you just have to kind of get used to it and get in the groove of what needle position makes it lean right and what needle position makes it lean left.
Keep trying that and getting used to that and eventually you’ll be able to do it without even having to put a lot of thought into it. But that’s basically combination knitting that doing the purl stitch that way where instead of bringing the yarn over, you bring the yarn under, orients the stitch differently and then you have to compensate for that on the next row.