Knitting backwards can be a very handy skill to have. Personally, I don't use it for long rows of purling, because it can be a tad fiddly, as my left hand is nearly useless when it comes to skilled movements. But if you're naturally blessed with ambidexterity, well, it will be a lot easier, also - teach me your ways, please?
Knitting backwards, which is more correctly, purling backwards is the most useful for short rows, like when you're working the heel of a sock, or working entrelac. It can make an annoying process of constantly turning your work around way less of a pain in the keester.
Also, it's really easy. There's really no fancy footwork involved, you just have to get used to using your left needle, which is really fiddly at first, since we're all taught that our left needle stays stationary, a proverbial parking lots for our stitches.
If you do love knitting backwards, feel free to use it all the time! I just find that when working long groups, I have some stitches tight, some very loose.
Okay, here we go.
As you can see, I've already been playing with knitting backwards on this piece in a bunch of random short rows.
1. Your left needle goes into the back leg of the stitch.
2. Wrap your yarn counterclockwise around the front of the needle, so you'll be pulling the yarn from behind and around the needle to the right. (it's my natural instinct to go clockwise, this will work, but you will have a stitch that is seated the wrong way on your needle.)
3. Pull it through, removing the original stitch from your right needle.
It's really that easy.
Now, let's just say you make a mistake, you wrap the yarn clockwise for awhile before catching yourself, silly you. That's okay!
If you wrapped the yarn incorrectly, you will have a stitch that looks like this:
As you can see, the stitch is seated on our needle the wrong way, the left leg being in front, rather than behind. This can be corrected very easily on the next knit row by knitting into the "back loop" of this stitch, rather than into the front.
And there we have it, knitting backwards. It's a simple, and useful technique to utilize.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org