Just as you can knit 2 together to make a basic decrease in knitting, you can also purl 2 together to get the same effect on the purl side. It's a very easy stitch and one of the first you will learn as you start your knitting journey.
What Is the P2Tog Stitch?
Purl two together (P2Tog) is the exact opposite of knit two together (K2Tog). You will simply purl two stitches to create one stitch on your needle. Your knitting pattern will say p2tog or p 2tog (any part of the abbreviation may also be capitalized).
To make a P2Tog:
- Simply insert the right-hand needle through the next two loops on the left-hand needle as if to purl. It's the same method you use when purling just one stitch.
- Complete the stitch as normal—looping the yarn and pulling it through the stitch and onto the right-hand needle, sliding the two stitches off the left needle. Where you once had two stitches, you now have one.
P2Tog is most often used on the purl side of Stockinette Stitch or the wrong side of any stitch pattern.
You can add it to your projects when you want to decrease at the beginning of each row rather than K2Tog/SSK on opposite ends. For instance, on Row 1 you would K2Tog at the beginning, work the entire row, turn the work, then work a P2Tog at the beginning of Row 2. Your decreases will be even and have the correct slant.
P2Tog vs P2Tog TBL
When we begin to knit, we are taught to knit and purl through the front of the loop (the side of the stitch that's closest to us). This habit can make it seem counterintuitive to work through the backside of the loop. Yet, some knitting patterns will have you do just that.
The purl decrease for 'purl two together through back loop' is abbreviated P2Tog TBL. That "TBL" always tells you to work "through the back loop."
What's the difference? When you work in the back of the loop, the stitch has a slight twist to it. This is more apparent in the K2Tog/K2Tog TBL stitches, but there is less twist in a P2Tog than a P2Tog TBL.
The moral of the story is that even if you don't think it makes a difference, it does and P2Tog TBL is used for very specific reasons (often in complex patterns and shaping). Be sure to use the P2Tog that your pattern calls for.
Knitting Patterns That Use P2Tog
A variety of knitting patterns use P2Tog as a decrease and you will come across it very often as you explore more patterns. Here are a few examples where the stitch is vital to the finished fabric or piece.
- Entrelac knitting: This special style of knitting is formed by creating a series of triangles on a single set of needles and P2Tog is one of the most used stitches.
- Entrelac pouch pattern: If you would like to explore entrelac, this pouch pattern is a perfect beginner's project. It requires some fancy needlework, but if you pay attention it's quite easy.
- Basic stockinette sock: Knitting socks requires a lot of shaping and you will work many P2Tog in this pattern.