Nondaily Tip No. 5: p2togtbl the EASY way, aka…

… the Barbara Walker way

purl 2 stitches together through the back loop


In general, the p2togtbl is to be avoided. That’s my basic attitude. However… in the interest of knitting symmetry sometimes a p2togtbl is the right thing to do.

(This chimes perfectly with the general wisdom (mine) that intended asymmetry is good, unintended asymmetry, bad.)

A p2togtbl on the Wrong Side produces an ssk (a left-leaning decrease) on the Right Side. And sometimes that’s just what a knitter wants.
Oh, and for a completely arbitrary example: for all my Ziggurat designs, there are two p2togtbl (and two normal p2tog) on the final wrong-side row before sleeve increases begin. For symmetry.

There are fiddly and difficult ways of doing p2togtbl, ways that involve twisting of stitches, wrists, yarn and needles.

And then there’s the EASY Barbara Walker way:

purl 1

1. Purl 1.


2. With yarn in front, slip the purled stitch back to Left Needle.


3. Pass the next stitch over your stitch…


…. and off the needle.


4. Slip the resulting stitch back to Right Needle. Done!


Seen from Right Side


Similarly, for the even peskier p3togtbl (why would you evah? — well… there could be an emergency):


1. Purl 2 stitches together.

Then work steps 2 – 4 above.

(A. Completed p3togtbl on Wrong Side. B. Completed p3togtbl on Right Side C. sk2p symbol)

A p3togtbl on Wrong Side corresponds to an sk2p on the Right Side, that is, a left-leaning double decrease — slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over.

Barbara Walker describes this through the back loop technique in A Treasury of Knitting Patterns on pages 233 & 236.

Yarn in photos: Posh Yarn Francesca, a wondrously soft, single ply mix of merino, alpaca and silk.
Project glimpsed: A 6-row stripe Ziggurat pullover in DK weight.