P or Purl
P or purl specifies purl stitches. It is used in different contexts in patterns:
p# (ex. p3) – purl the specified number of stitches, regardless of which side of the fabric you are working on.
purl – purl all stitches in row/round
To Make a Purl Stitch
Put the right needle into the stitch on the left needle going from right to left. Wrap the yarn* and pull the yarn wrapped around the right needle out of the stitch on the left needle, moving the right needle toward the right and creating a new purl stitch on the right needle.
A purl is the reverse of a knit stitch. When the knitter makes a knit stitch, the reverse side is a purl stitch. To get a purl stitch on the side of the fabric facing the knitter, a purl stitch is executed.
Knitters generally prefer working the knit stitch, which is easier to execute. If you are a new knitter, you can expect to need practice for the purl stitch, even after you have mastered the knit stitch.
*There are several methods of executing purl stitches, and as long as the end result is correct, the knitter should choose the method they prefer.
P Purl in Charts
In Jill Wolcott Knits’ Action Charts the purl is represented as a dot in the center of the chart box whenever a purl stitch occurs, on the right side and the wrong side. If there are more than two consecutive purl stitches, they are represented by a green box, in which the number of purl stitches to be executed consecutively is specified.
In Standard Charting the purl stitch is represented as a dot or dash in the center of the chart box when it is executed on the right side. When it is on the wrong side, it will be shown as a box (knit stitch) because it is taken to be the reverse of the knit stitch on the right side. The instruction will say: k on RS; p on WS or when purled on the right side: purl on RS, knit on WS.