The Right Way(s) to Yarn Over

My knitting classes have been asking about the correct way to make a yarn over. I’ve shown them the right way to do one between knit stitches but my answer falls somewhat short because there are several ways to yarn over and it all depends on which stitches the yarn over falls between.

I went searching for a good video tutorial and found this one from Purl Soho (see a picture of me at Purl Soho here!) that explains all of the ways to do a yarn over … between two knit stitches, between a knit and a purl stitch, etc.

This is the best video tutorial I’ve seen! But Purl Soho is one of the best yarn shops I’ve seen, too! (If you get a chance to visit, please do!)

It’s excellent, right?

Gone knitting.

K1FB Increasing Without Tears …or those pesky little “purl bumps”

This morning I happened across a video for adding a stitch in your knitting without that funny little purl bumpy thing that happens when you knit one into the front and back of the stitch (K1FB). I have gone back to try to find the video but I can’t find it. So, in my own inimitable fashion, I’m going to attempt to show you, dear patient readers, with words and photographs what the video said.

There are many increases to use when you’re knitting. The “quickest and easiest” is K1FB or knit one into the front and back of a stitch. You can use this increase when you see “M1” in a pattern but I’d recommend that you use this as a generic increase rather than a M1 (make one).

When you get to the place where you need to increase, you are going to knit into the front of the stitch (which I’ve already done in the photo below) and then, without dropping the stitch off the left-hand needle, you’re going to knit into the back of the stitch. The photo below shows the stitch that I am adding by knitting into the back … I’m ready to wrap and then slip the stitch off the left-hand needle.

I've knitted two stitches and am knitting into the front and back of the third stitch. I've already knitted into the front and now I'm knitting into the back.

I’ve knitted two stitches and am knitting into the front and back of the third stitch. I’ve already knitted into the front and now I’m knitting into the back.

OK, so, I’ve wrapped the yarn around the working needle and slipped the stitch off the left-hand needle and this is what it looks like. There are my three “old” stitches and my “new” or “added’ or “increased” stitch. (Remember the first stitch is the the one to the right in the photo. The added stitch is the left-most stitch, the stitch just worked.)

Three stitches is now FOUR! But can you see the "purl bump" on the fourth stitch (the left-most)?

Three stitches is now FOUR! But can you see the “purl bump” on the fourth stitch (the left-most)?

So, we’ve accomplished our goal which was to increase one stitch. That stitch, however, isn’t invisible because of the little purl-like bump that is sitting in front of it. There’s nothing you can really do about it. And most times when you increase using the K1FB method, you’ll be increasing close to the side of a garment and those stitches will be swallowed up in a seam and will be virtually invisible after seaming.

BUT there is a way to make the stitches less visible and this is how you do it!

The first step is to knit into the front of the stitch but (again) don’t slip the stitch off the left-hand needle. (This is the exact same as the K1FB that I illustrated above.)


When you get to the stitch where you want to increase, knit into the front of the stitch.

The second half of the stitch needs to be reoriented so that the stitches don’t wrap around the front of the work. So, you’ll slip the next stitch knitwise by inserting the tip of the right needle from left to right (just like you were knitting the stitch) and slip the stitch from the left-hand to the right-hand needle.


Next, insert your working (right-hand) needle into the front leg of the next stitch to be worked on the left-hand needle knitwise.

I know it sounds confusing, but I am at a disadvantage not being able to film myself in a video here! It forces me to find the right words to explain the process clearly and that’s good for both of us!

Next you’re going to slip the stitch back onto the left-hand needle to finish the process. Insert the tip of your left-hand needle purlwise into the stitch you just slipped to the right needle. Slip the stitch back to the left-hand needle.


Slip the stitch purlwise back to the left-hand needle … you’re almost there!

All you’ve done is slipped the second part of the stitch increase from the left to the right knitwise (as if to knit) and then back from the right to the left purlwise (as if to purl). This has reoriented the legs of the stitch so that when you (next!) knit it, the stitch isn’t wrapped with yarn (and it doesn’t look as much like a purl bump.)


This is how your reoriented stitch looks … and now you are going to knit it.

Go ahead, knit the stitch and slip it off the left-hand needle. There! You have increased one stitch.

If you look at the next photo now, you’ll see that there is a “normal” K1FB increase and a K1FB increase where I’ve changed the orientation of the increased stitch.


Reading from right to left: K2, K1FB (the old way where it looks as if the fourth stitch has a purl bump), K1, K1FB (the new way with changing the orientation of the increased stitch.)

See! No purl bump thingy! Now I’ll purl back across the stitches and you can see the fabric again …


Again, reading from right to left you’ll see three knit stitches, one knit stitch with the “purl bump” below it and another two knit stitches and a new stitch from our reoriented K1FB.

There you have it! Two ways to increase in your knitting with K1FB (knit one front and back).

The first increase in stitch #3 (read from right to left) was the “old” knit one into the front and back of the third stitch which creates a fourth stitch with a “purl bump”. This is an excellent way to increase! Super quick and easy, just a bit visible in some circumstances.

The second increase in stitch #7 is done similarly but with a little twist of the second half of the increase where we reoriented or changed the orientation of the stitch before knitting it. This creates an added stitch without a wrap or “purl bump”. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Learning to read your stitches is essential to your success as a knitter. I’m getting more skilled at it every time I take on a new project and teaching has helped me tremendously. This photograph, however, is such a clear one … and I get all excited.

When looking at this last photo, I can see the stitches added! Take a good look. The stitches in a each row are all lined up like a v on top of a v. Nice and neat! You can follow the stitches up in the center of the v. Where the increased stitches are added, it’s a little bit squeezed and the pretty symetry




When we increase a stitch, it squishes an extra stitch into the nice neat lines.




It’s a good attempt to illustrate with my limited illustration skills. I think. 🙂

Now that you’ve seen my excellent illustration, go back and have a look at the last photograph (I’ve added it below for you). Start at a stitch on the needle and follow the “v” down the rows. See how they line up? And can you see where the increased stitch just kind of pops up out of nowhere? It doesn’t have a nicely stacked column of “v”s to sit on top of … it’s just out there. The first K1FB increase (with the “purl bump” below it) stands out a lot more than it’s “cousin” the second K1FB “with a twist” but similarly, it just kind of gets nestled in between two stitches … each of the stitches has its column of “v”s but the increased stitch is sitting out there without a column. Can you see it now? Isn’t it exciting? You’re reading your knitting!


Read your knitting!!! Stitches are sitting in a column of “v”s; row sits squarely on the row below it … until you have an increased stitch!

There you have it! How to make a K1FB increase without having that wrapped stitch that looks like a purl bump. I am such a knitting geek!

What else do you want to learn about increases?

Gone knitting!



Increases (Stitches and Residents)

I’ve been making a pair of Bella Mittens (and they’re quite lovely) from the free pattern on Ravelry but you can find them on Marielle Henault’s blog by clicking here. I really like the way they’re knitting up and the yarn that I bought for them at Halcyon Yarns in Bath is really soft and a pretty color. I’m quite pleased.

One of the things I like best about the pattern is the way that Marielle does her increases in the thumb gusset. I’ve made a bunch of gloves and mittens and never were the directions (at least it’s my perception) so clear. And she has designed using M1, one is a left-leaning increase and one a right-leaning increase which makes the added stitches look so pretty on the finished garment.

The left-leaning increase or M1L is made by using the left needle to pick up the stitch between the two needles from the front to the back and then knitting into the back of the stitch. Thus adding a stitch.

The right leaning increase is just a tiny bit different – you pick up the stitch from the back to the front and then knit into the front of the stitch. Notice how each different increase leans slightly to the left or right … cool, huh?

The end result is a really nice looking gusset (once you’ve increased a few times, you’ll see the pretty pattern developing. This can really be used in any mitten or glove pattern where there are increases for the thumb gusset and they make the piece look so professionally done. Imagine caring about the garment that you are making?! 🙂

So, now that you’ll be practicing your increases, the residents in our home will also be increasing. My brothers all arrive with their wives, families and dogs on Thursday evening. We can hardly wait – although our dogs will be a bit less comfortable with all the cousins around. My eldest daughter is also coming with her boyfriend and dog. We’ll be ten adults, three children and eight dogs. One brother and two sisters (I’ve told you before how I don’t like the in-law tag, right? I believe that my brother’s wife is my sister and that’s just that. Having been an in-law for almost 30 years, I never was made to feel an equal in their family and I don’t want that in my family) … as I was saying, my oldest brother and two of my sisters, happens to be the two newest ones, have never been to Maine. So, we’ll be eating a lot of lobster and touring our old stomping grounds from when we were kids. The house will be full of fishermen and women, knitters, dogs, dirt, laundry, cooks, dish washers and lots and lots of love.

I feel so blessed to have my family growing exponentially after the age of 50 … and it’s just not my kids who are adding those family members! Maybe that’s the coolest part of all. One new sister by marriage and a new big brother and sister by miracle.

Life is good!

Gone knitting!