Knitting back backwards is also know as mirror knitting. If you are a standard western knitter who normally works stitches from the left needle to the right needle, knitting back backwards means working stitches from the right needle to the left. It's a way of working stitches without having to turn and purl back.
Why would anyone want do this? Well there are a few situations where this technique cannot only save time, but your sanity. Think about techniques where you only have to knit a few stitches, turn purl a few stitches, turn, knit, etc. All that turning to just work a few stitches can peg the tedium meter.
Amy ticked off a number of situations where knitting back backwards is worth the effort to learn:
- "short" short rows
- intarsia in the round or festive knitting
dominant knitters who just feel more comfortable knitting "mirrored" from the rest of us.
If you have a chance to attend a class with Amy, I highly recommend it. She is a very knowledgeable, interesting, wickedly funny, and clever instructor.