How to Read a Knitting Pattern with P2tog tbl
This article explains how to read a knitting pattern with the instruction “P2tog tbl”. It also explains how to purl 2 stitches together through the back loops.
Sometimes, knitting patterns will tell you specifically to purl 2 together through the back loops (P2tog tbl).
But often, the pattern writers will simply tell you to do a decrease. So here are some guidelines to tell you when a P2togTBL decrease would be appropriate.
The P2TogTBL decrease will result in a right-leaning decrease on the other side of the fabric.
If you are working in Stocking Stitch (alternating Knit 1 row and Purl 1 row), then the “P2tog tbl” decrease would typically be used only on a Purl row.
Alternatively, it could be used to provide some texture in the knitted fabric. It depends on the knitting pattern.
How to work a P2tog tbl
A “P2tog tbl” is similar in concept to the P2tog, but it has an interesting twist to it.
A “purl 2 together through back loops” is, in my opinion, the most difficult of the decreases described in this website. It is only difficult, though, because you have to twist your fabric and needles a bit to make it happen. Fortunately, very few patterns call for this kind of decrease.
A slightly easier version of this decrease is the SSP (Slip Slip Purl).
How to do the P2TogTBL
Your target, as usual, is the next two stitches on the left-hand needle (for most knitters).
But first, fold the left-hand needle so it is behind the right-hand needle as you look at it.
Now, insert the right-hand needle into the two target stitches, from right to left (because this is a purl-type stitch). The needle will be going into the back loops of those stitches, because the back of the fabric is now facing you, because you folded the left-hand needle behind the right-hand needle.
Complete the purl stitch as usual, and at the end drop the two stitches from the left-hand needle, and position the left-hand needle in the normal manner (unfold it).
The photo shows the right-hand needle inserted into the back loops of the two stitches on the left-hand needle. The yarn is ready to be wrapped over the right-hand needle to complete the purl stitch – make sure that you don’t wrap the yarn around the left-hand needle too!
As indicated, this decrease is used rarely. But it is a good technique to have in your repertoire.
In this website, Bronze (or paid) members can see detailed patterns featuring P2togTBL, such as: