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Increases: The More the Merrier

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Increases: The More the Merrier

One of the many things I enjoy about both knitting and crocheting is that they both tend to be fairly straightforward. You start with X number of stitches, work them in stitch pattern Y, and when you’re done, you have project Z completed.

Except sometimes, it’s not all that straightforward. There are increases and decreases to be worked, colors to be changed in and out, stitch patterns to be changed between, finishing to be done…you get the idea. Once you start thinking about all that, your nice, easy hobby becomes a bit more daunting. There’s no reason to panic, though — all these things are really, when it comes down to it, still pretty straightforward.

Let’s take a look at increases, for instance. When you encounter an instruction for an increase, try not to over-think it. Most of the time, the instructions are pretty literal.

In crochet, the most common increase is to work two stitches into one (e.g., “2 sc in next st”). This can be a little confusing if you over-think it, but it’s really literally just what it says: you make a single crochet (sc) into the next stitch just as you normally would, then you go back into that same stitch and make another sc. That’s all there is to it. (Note: it doesn’t have to be a sc — this increase can be done with any type of stitch.)

Knitting increases are a little more complicated. Some involve making a completely new stitch between two other stitches, like the yarn-over (YO) or make 1 (m1). One of the most common, however, is the kfb, which stands for “knit in the front and back of the stitch.” There is one little trick to this stitch, and that is that after you make the first knit (into the front of the stitch), you don’t complete the ultimate step of removing the worked stitch from the left needle; instead, you immediately make the second stitch (into the back of the stitch). Only then do you remove the worked stitch from the left needle.

See? Increases are nothing to fret about!

One thing that will help you keep on track is to check your total stitch count whenever you’re given a reference in the pattern. It’ll look something like this at the end of a row: “– 15 (17, 19).” If your stitch count is correct, you should be in pretty good shape.

Need more help? Visit our YouTube channel for new video tutorials on increasing.

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  • You might include that when M1’ing you can twist the “bar” that is picked up between stitches to avoid the dreaded hole. That is a beautiful lavender hat.

  • Where can I find the pattern/instructions for the lavender hat?
    Love it!

    Zontee says: Hi Bonnie, it’s a hat pattern on — click here to see it.

  • I’m still as confused as before I even read this. I’ve been trying to relearn knitting. I never did learn how to decrease or increase among many other things. All I can do is knit. (Not even purl yet!) I went to your You-tube site and all they showed me was how to make socks. Do you think I’m going to tackle socks when I can’t even do most stitches yet? Are there any sites where they show videos of each stitch, increases, etc. step by step for dummies like me? I need help!! My mom (who is a beautiful knitter) lives too far away to teach me and I’d love to learn to knit like her. Some day….maybe….

    Zontee says: Hi Dianne, we have over 50 videos on our YouTube site — just click on the “show all” button to see videos including those on increasing, decreasing, purling, and more.

  • I’m looking for an EASY pattern for the ripple afghan. I can only do the granny square and would like a change. Everyone says it is so easy but I can’t seem to find a good pattern that looks easy. Can you help?

    Zontee says: Hi Geri, just type “ripple afghan” into’s search box to see our patterns — or go to the previous blog post to see a great crochet ripple afgan that’s very easy.

  • Try this site… glossary of terms with MANY video demos in both Continental and English knitting techniques. I knit in “english” technique, my co-worker knits “continental”. I showed her that increases were easy, but she couldn’t translate what I was doing to the “continental” technique, until I pointed her to this site.

  • Like so many others i love the lavender hat where o where can I get the pattern.

    Zontee says: Hi Margaret, again, it’s a hat pattern on — click here to see it.

  • I would also like to find the instructions for that beautiful lavender hat shown in the picture above. Could someone help me find it.
    Thanks, SQ

    Zontee says: Hi Suzie, again, it’s a hat pattern on — click here to see it.

  • If you are looking for the lavender hat pattern it is available on the lion brand website under patterns. One of my crochet class students made two and they are lovely.

  • I am looking for a crochet scarf pattern that incorporates beads. Have you seen any other than store bought scarves?

    Thank you,

  • I liked the big green ball…haha! I too liked the hat and found the pattern, guess I got a new project now, thanks for showing it here. It got me looking at the other hat patterns, so many to do, so little time…haha!

  • I have a question for you. I am also relearning to knit at the same time that I’m teaching a group of teenagers of inner city and we are having fun doing it. Well, here is my question, when the pattern calls for an increase, after we do, do we need to knit them in that row or in the next. I always knit them in the same row of the increase but I want to make sure I’m doing it right (instructions do not specify). We are enthusiatic about the lavender hat too. Thank you.

    Zontee says: Hi Isabel, when you increase, that counts as knitting them in the current row (each increase is different as described above — for a yarn-over, you don’t knit it at all to make the stitch, but for a make 1 or a kfb, you are knitting them to create new stitches). You won’t knit them again until you finish the row and work all the way back to them again. See our YouTube channel for increase videos — link is in the original article.

  • I am somewhat new to knitting,I am mostly a crochet. The instruction for my top I do not understand help line read, This is for the shape shoulder, cast off 16 sts beg next and following alt row? can you help me please. yo is easy kfb?????

    Zontee says: Hi Rose, the direction you’re describing above means that you cast off 16 stitches the way you would at the end of a project, but then you work all the way across the rest of the stitches as you normally would. Then when you turn the project around to work the other way, you will again cast off 16 stitches, so that now both sides have 16 stitches cast off. This is so that you continue to work the stitches in the middle (I’m guessing probably for the neck of your sweater), while the shoulders are already finished. Also, please keep in mind that if you need help with patterns, you can e-mail our Pattern Support Team at .

    Regarding your second question: YO is NOT the same as kfb. A yarn-over is an increase that creates a little eyelet or hole in the work; it’s often used decoratively for lace. Knitting in the front and back of the same stitch is increasing into the stitch and is often used because it’s less noticeable in a piece if you don’t want it to have a hole; it’s more like a crochet increase, in the sense that you’re working two stitches into the one original stitch to create your increase. As Laura’s article says, there are three different kinds of knitting increases.

  • […] lace patterns, even some cable patterns will require you to increase and decrease. I wrote about increasing awhile back, so let’s talk about decreasing now. There are so many different ways to decrease […]

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