Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Two handy knitted increases, one slanting right, one slanting left

These increases are nearly identical, but the right leaning increase is a forwards loop while the left-slanting increase is a backwards loop. (These increases are really just subsets of the forward and backward looping-on casting-on described in a previous post. However, instead of casting-on an entire row of foundation stitches, only one stitch at a time is being cast on, to serve as an increase.)  These kinds of loop increases are often called an m1 (make-1) although, in truth, there are LOTS of different increases called an m1.
click picture
(Above) The fabric in this picture is growing to the right because the increases are being made very near the fabric's right edge (one stitch in from the edge, actually). The increases are right-slanting ones, which means that they lay smoothly and do not leave a bump on the fabric surface when used to make an increase by the right edge of a knitted fabric. This right-leaning looped increase is made by twisting the standing yarn UNDER the tail yarn (in this illustration, the tail yarn=yarn coming out of the immediately preceding stitch).

The loop which results from twisting the standing yarn under the tail yarn is called a "forwards" loop because the loop lays on the right needle right arm forward, just like a regular untwisted stitch does. In other words, if you compare the right-leaning increase to the ordinary stitch sitting beside it you will see that both lay right arms forward.
click picture

(Above) The fabric in this picture is growing to the left because the increases are being made very near the fabric's left edge (one stitch in from the edge). The increases are left-leaning ones, which means that they lay smoothly and do not leave a bump on the fabric surface when used to make an increase by the left edge of a knitted fabric. This left leaning looped increase is made by twisting the standing yarn OVER the tail yarn (in this illustration, the tail yarn=yarn coming out of the immediately preceding stitch).

The loop which results from twisting the standing yarn over the tail yarn is called a "backwards" loop because the loop lays on the left needle "backwards," like a twisted stitch would. Compare the left-leaning increase to the regular stitch sitting beside it--the regular stitch is right arm forward, but the increase loop is left arm forward.

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The easiest way to make both of these increases is to pinch the standing yarn between your left thumb and forefinger, twist it into the kind of loop you want (per illustrations above) and then place it onto the right needle.

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Initially, you may find knitting (or purling) into looped increases awkward. Like all looped-on stitches, looped increases--whether left- or right-leaning--want to shrink and stretch and share yarn with the surrounding stitches. If you're really having a hard time skewering those loops with your right needle when you come to them in the next row, cheat a little, and knit (or in flat knitting, purl) into the back loop instead. I made two long samples--one flat knit and one circular knit, and could see only the most subtle difference between working into the front loops or working into the back loops, so do whatever you'd find easiest. With practice, knitting into these awkward little thingies will become one more of your "mad knitting skillz" (as the 8th graders like to say).

(You have been reading TECHknitting on: Left slanting and Right slanting increases in knitting)


Cyndi said...

Wow - that's pretty cool! I wouldn't have thought to use a looped cast on stitch to increase at the edge of a piece.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on edge increases versus increases 1-2 stitches into the fabric. I prefer the latter for seaming purposes.

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Cyndi--you are 100% correct. Putting increases at the very edge is a poor idea, and would make seaming difficult. After I read your comment, I realized that my post was not as clear as it could have been, so I have gone back and re-done the labels on the illustrations to make clear that the increases actually are one stitch in from the edge. THANK YOU.


Faith! said...

Thanks for this thorough-but-concise post. Sometimes I feel like a knit nerd for getting so much pleasure from reading your blog, but I appreciate it immensely!

marseille said...

How about right and left leaning increases while picking up the stitch from the row below? I've played around with it, but think I'm still doing something a little wrong. I'll have to try this way next time--I'd thought it would have left a space, so I hadn't tried this way....

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Faith--thanks for you kind words! I think the TECH part of knitting is the grooviest, so I guess I'm a nerd too!

Hi Marseille--Thanks for your comment. When you make an increase by taking the tail (running yarn) between two stitches below onto your left needle, twisting it, and knitting into it, you are doing pretty much the same thing as the "add-a-loop" increase illustrated in this post. The difference is that when you work into the tail below, you're retrofitting an increase onto that tail, whereas with this method, you're making the increase in the tail at the same time as you create the stitches. On the kinds of fairly firm fabrics illustrated in this post, I find that the "add-a-loop method" of this post distorts the fabric less than the "work into the tail below" method. However, if you have a loose fabric, and/or are working with big needles, you might want to stick with the "into the tail below" method--as that will tighten up the fabric by "pulling up" (twisting a loop into) the already existing tail.


Smuddpie said...

Thanks for a great post! I so wish I had seen this yesterday! I was helping a friend with just such an issue. When I have done loop cast-on before, I have always done it on the very edge, though I always work other increases one or two stitches in. I guess I just hadn't realized that it could be done without leaving a hole. Another technique for the repertoire! Yea!

Alice said...

This is so helpful because I am just knitting a sleeve and so could incorporate your tips immediately. Of course, if I had been telepathic I would have waited until you posted before finishing the first sleeve! Never mind, it gives me the chance to compare before and after the TECHknitter magic is worked. No more edge increases for me.

--TECHknitter said...

Hey Alice--let me know how it worked out, OK?


marjorie said...

Very interesting post. I've never really increased or decreased this way. Initially I knit in the front and back of a stitch, and now I usually use a make one fron the yarn between two stitches. The only time I use this kind of looping is to add stitches at the left end of flat knitting, and I need take the time to swatch so this sinks in. (To add stitches at the right, I use a cable cast on.)

In a lot of modular knitting, the instructions to add stitches on to the left end match the looping around the needle you show. Do you think it matters which way you loop the needle for that use?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi Marjorie--Thank you for your question. The only time I think it "matters" what kind of increase you're using is when you're making paired increases, and you want one to slant one way, and one to slant the other way. The fact is, however, that increases are generally far less obtrusive than decreases, so you have far greater latitide to use what works for you. If you're only making an increase at one edge, but not at another, it probably wouldn't matter very much increase you choose--again, it is when you have paired increases that I think it makes a difference.

Rennagayle said...

I have spent the last half hour (or more) reading your blog. I am in utter amazement. Every single frustration I've dealt with, or question I've had regarding knitting, you have addressed and explained in detail.

I set out googling to find a way to eliminate that messy join in the first knitted row of knitting in the round. You offered the answer, explained in a way this visual learner could understand, as well as answers to so many other questions I've had. I feel like I just got a new knitting book, only this one was free. I will be directing every new knitter I run across who needs help to your site. Thank you for sharing your expertise. This knitter is greatly appreciative! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this instruction and for your site!

I am dissatisfied with the holes I find when increasing on the toe-up socks I'm knitting on size 0s for my husband.

BTW... I'm a technical writer and am becoming better at what I do by noticing how you present information. Your approach and illustrations are clear.

Gratefully, Gail in Michigan

Kirsten said...

I have been a fan of this blog for a while - I've read most of it, and I use it for reference, but I don't think I've commented before.

I've been knitting for a loooong time, and normally I just use the kfb increase my grandmother taught me, although recently I did learn to do the m1 type. I can't believe that I've either never seen this method, or didn't retain the info, until now. I wanted matched increases to go up the back of the calf of toe-up knee-high socks, and these are working perfectly!

Judi P said...

Once again, TECHknitting has yielded up exactly the answer I needed. I'm modifying a sleeve to knit from the top down, and increasing at the edges without creating an eyesore was confounding me. Thanks, as always, for anticipating one of my (many) challenges!

fiberer said...

I'm a newish knitter, trying to acquire skills that make sense and be the kind I don't have to unlearn later. Thanks for this and for the one where you show how to increase by knitting into the stitch below. The color coded thread illustrations are most helpful.

CP said...

I haven't seen these terms before, only here. To me, any yo is a forwards loop, and any twisted yo (which is what both of these are) is a backward loop. I've seen these called Make 1 towards and Make 1 away. It was the favored increase of Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Structurally they are the same as m1r and m1l, but with a little more yarn and entirely worked on the current row rather than picking up yarn from the row below. Another way to get the same result is to do an untwisted yo and on the next row, twist it one direction or the other when you work into it.

TECHknitter said...

Hi CP--please call things with any name you like! I called these forward and backwards loops because, well, one is made forward, and one is made backwards, so that makes sense to me. However, if these names don't sit well with you, feel free to rename as you require! Best, TK

Natasha said...

Hi thank you so much I'm make a Persian dream blanket in worsted and it calls for both left and right with her written instructions I couldn't wrap my mind around which way was needed for each side ! I have used them both before but not knowing which was which ! In the blanket instructions it says to make sure to knit into the backs for these loops the next row to not have a hole is this true? Thanks I have printed both pics to use as reference :)

TECHknitter said...

I think the point which the pattern is trying to make is that you must be sure the increase is twisted shut or you will get a yarn over (a hole in your knitting). There are several methods of twisting (and one of them, for sure, is working into the back of the stitch) but which ever way you work the increase, have a look to be sure that the ultimate result is twisted shut (not a hole!) Knitting into the top of an untwisted stitch (a yarn over) is how lace-knitting ends up with all the pretty holes, but doing it by accident is not-so-pretty.