This past week I noticed I was having problems with a really loose purl row when I worked in stockinette stitch. Have you ever had this problem? I don't know why all of a sudden I started having really loose purl rows. I even finished the project I was working on and tried to block it. IT DIDN'T BLOCK OUT. I was horrified. Usually it does. I guess it was that bad. So, I ripped it out and decided I need a solution to my purl problem.
Finally, after some thinking and reading I figured out what to do. As you can see in the picture above it is much better.
None of the conventional fixes would work for me. I couldn't work this piece in the round, eliminating the purl row. I didn't want to use a smaller needle for the purl row -- I thought that would only slow me down and I have a lot to get done.
In stead I started working in "Combination Knitting" and it tightened up my purl row right away.
What is Combination Knitting? Check out Annie Modesitt's site for great details.
Basically, you start by wrapping the yarn on the purl side from the bottom of the needle to the top and "tucking" it through the old loop. This allows you to purl tighter than when you wrap the yarn over the top of the needle.
Then when you flip to a knit row you will notice your knit stitches are orientated so that you should place your needle in the back of the stitch rather than going from the front to the back.
It's a bit crazy, but it worked for me and I am so happy with the results I am achieving. I don't think I will use combination knitting for everything, but I was happy to find a little trick to help me out of my really ugly loose purl rows.
Hope it helps you! Happy Knitting!