Removing Purl Dash Lines

How to take control over purl dash lines

Purl dash lines can drive a knitter crazy! This post is dedicated to removing them. Or rather make sure they are kept on the wrong side of your work where you won’t have to see them 🙂

These little buggers can make or break a project when mixing colorwork with textured patterns. Let’s see what we can do about them.

How to remove purl dash lines from knitting?

The trick is to change color on a row with only one type of stitch. Either a right side row with only knits or a wrong side row with only purls.

Look for knitting stitch patterns that include a row of only knits on a right side row or only purls on a wrong side row. Use these rows for changing the color.

For example, when knitting basket weave there’s often a row of only knit stitches between the two sets of “weaves”. This knit row is your chance to change color without adding a purl dash line.

Many textured patterns have these rows, but not all.

Add a knit or purl row to a knitting stitch pattern

If the stitch pattern you want to use don’t have a row of only knits or purls included, you can always add one.

(In the video below you can see how it looks when I add a row of knit stitches seed stitch.)

The color change draws attention and it may or may not be obvious that you have manipulated the pattern. Or, as I like to put it, created a new stitch pattern!

The only way to know if it will look good is to give it a try. Swatches are great for this.

I often try things directly on my project, which also often leads to a lot of ripping out. Adding a lifeline before such adventures can save you time and trouble… If you didn’t, you can do it afterward too!

Knitting video: removing purl dashes

In the video, I show how to add a row of knit stitches to seed stitch. The difference is huge!

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Why do purl dash lines appear?

Purl dash lines appear when changing colors. If you purl with a new color on a right side row or knit with a new color on a wrong side row.

When we knit stockinette stitch all stitches on the right side are knit stitches and all the stitches on the wrong side are purled. Therefore all purl dashes end up at the back of the work without you having to think about it.

But when we create textured patterns we mix knit and purl stitches on both the right and the wrong side of the work. Which leads to purl dashes appearing on the front/right side of the work.

Your next read:
––> Knitting neat stripes in garter stitch
––> Using lifelines and afterthought lines
––> Knitting one row stripes flat