I am a novice knitter. Making little knit kittens for my children, and just about every neighbor child we've ever had over the years, I've grown fairly familiar with the basic knit stitch.
Purling, however, is another matter altogether. I have to look up instructions for purling almost every time its called for in a pattern (this is my favorite "how to purl" video of the moment).
Being a homeschool mom, I think its important for the children to see me struggling through, and learning things on my own, in the same way I hope they will pursue their interests. With that in mind, one of my goals for this fall is to become better at purling, and more skilled at knitting in general.
A quick search of free fall knitting patterns turned up a pumpkin pattern using the stockinette stitch (alternating rows of knitting and purling). My free time tends to be short, so I modified and downsized the original pattern, so I could practice my knits and purls in short, five and ten minute increments, without having to keep track of where I was in a larger pattern.
In case you'd like to practice your puling too, or would just happen to like to make a tiny pumpkin or two (or twenty), I've fumbled out the modified pattern below.
Using size 8 needles and worsted weight yarn, cast on 13 stitches.
Knit Row 1.
Purl Row 2.
Knit Row 3.
Purl Row 4.
Knit Row 5.
Purl Row 6.
Knit Row 7.
Purl Row 8.
In Row 9 - knit 2 together, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 1, knit 2 tog, knit 2 tog.
Purl Row 10.
Cast off Row 11.
Tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.
The knit side of the work should look something like the picture above, and the purl side should look like the picture below.
Fold the piece in half by bring the top edges together, knit side on the inside, and sew together the side and bottom edges (leave the top edge open for turning and stuffing).
Pull the stitching tight to gather in the bottom.
Turn it knitting side out...
Stuff with a bit of fluff...
...and sew up the top (which will ultimately become the bottom of the pumpkin).
Stitch the tail of yarn down, from the opposite side, through the middle of the pumpkin...
...draping the yarn into one of the valleys of the ribbing...
...and pull it tight to create a sectioned effect to the pumpkin.
Repeat four to six (or more) times around the pumpkin, until it has a nice bumpy sort of look.
Trim off the extra yarn.
Create a stem by casting on two stitches of tan or brown yarn, knitting one row, and casting off and tying. Thread the tail back through the stitches...
...and use the loose ends to sew the stem onto the top of the pumpkin...
...crossing them on the bottom...
...and then sewing back up through the stem...
...and trimming off.
By the time you make half a dozen or so, you'll be knitting and purling like a pro (or better than a beginner, anyway).