Knitting Nuances

A 2015 & 2016 Top 100 Knitting Blog!

A Pattern for Trappers

I’m a Trapper!

You know the stereotypical knitter? The one that non-knitters think of because they know nothing about knitters today. The little old lady sitting quietly at every family gathering, clicking away on her DPNs while she knits an endless number of wool socks? Well, I had one of those and she taught me to knit. My Aunt Lee was indeed tiny, she knit a lot of socks, and she was a thrower, which meant I was a thrower too … until I switched.

After twenty years of knitting the way she taught me, I switched to Continental. I hadn’t planned on switching, but I had always wanted to knit two-color Fair Isle with one color in each hand. I loved the grace and efficiency of having each color flow smoothly from opposite hands as needed. However, once I learned how to pick my stitches there was no going back. The subtlety of the movements were much more enjoyable to me.


Everybody Lean to the Left!

While the knit stitch in Continental is a breeze, the purl stitch is a tad trickier. The needle needs to dip below the yarn to prevent twisting the stitch. If you’ve ever watched a proficient Continental knitter you’ll see they’ve developed an instinctive finger drop for each purl stitch. This puts the yarn in just the right place.

There is, however, an easier way to purl by trapping the yarn against the left needle. It makes the purl stitch just as easy as the knit stitch – no small feat since almost all knitters find the purl stitch harder to work. There’s just one little catch – trapping your purls twists the stitch so when you turn to work to the right side, all your stitches are oriented in the ‘wrong’ direction.

This is truly a silver lining moment. You see, knitting stitches oriented in this way through the back loop (to untwist them) is also a faster and easier way to work the knit stitch! The needle enters the stitch from right to left at an easier angle and improves your knitting rhythm. It’s really a win win. The only time you really need to purl without trapping is when working certain stitch patterns that require the stitch to be oriented in the standard fashion.


This also reverses how you work k2tog and ssk decreases. No need to slip slip to work a left leaning decrease, the stitches are already reoriented. This does mean that your k2togs are now backwards but once you get the hang of it, you can anticipate these stitches and purl them in the standard way.

The Parallelity Scarf pattern includes charts and instructions for Trappers. It only seemed fair since that’s how they were knit.

Here are some relevant links for your convenience:



One comment on “A Pattern for Trappers

  1. Pingback: K2tog and SSK (Part 2: adding efficiency) |

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This entry was posted on December 13, 2013 by in Scarves, Showy Decrease and tagged , .
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