KTBL and PTBL: Working in the Back Loops

KTBL and PTBL: learn how to knit through the back loop and purl through the back loop to create decorative, twisted stitches.
If you have ever seen the abbreviations ktbl and ptbl (or k tbl and p tbl) in a knitting pattern and wondered what to do, it simply means to knit or purl through the back loop/leg of the stitch instead of the front loop/leg. Working in the back loop of a stitch essential twists the stitch.

Before You Begin

Think about this. Whenever you knit or purl a stitch through the front loop/leg, the stitch you are working into rotates counter-clockwise when it is slipped off the left needle. This is the way most knitters form their stitches most of the time.

When you knit or purl through the back loop/leg, the stitch you are working into rotates clockwise when it is slipped off the left needle.


Thanks to Skacel for providing the HiKoo Sueño Worsted Yarn used in this tutorial. The yarn is available locally at many yarn shops and online at Makers' Mercantile.

Other Tools and Notions

  • knitting needles


Recommended Pattern

Ready to try this technique in a pattern? Try the Slipstream Cardigan. Twisted stitches make the six strand cables in this sweater pop.

Slipstream Cardigan: Cabled, knit cardigan sweater pattern featuring decorative, twisted stitches

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KTBL and PTBL: learn how to knit through the back loop and purl through the back loop to create decorative, twisted stitches.

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The Chilly Dog: KTBL and PTBL: Working in the Back Loops
KTBL and PTBL: Working in the Back Loops
Learn how to KTBL and PTBL.This just means that you are working into the back loop of the stitch below.
The Chilly Dog
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