An increase adds stitches and creates shaping as a general rule.
Lace patterns will use increases to balance decreases and you
usually end the row with the same number of stitches you started
Many times, the pattern will tell you which specific increase to
use; this is especially true with lace patterns. If the pattern
tells you to simply increase, use the default increase: knit in
the front and back of the same stitch (usually abbreviated kfb).
When working an increase in shaping, such as making sleeves
wider, work them at least one stitch in from the edge. This makes
seaming much easier.
Let's take a look at some various ways to increase (click on any
highlighted text to see diagrams:
in the Front and Back (kfb)
As mentioned earlier, this is the default increase. Itís sometimes
called a bar increase as it leaves a noticeable "bar" of yarn from
the original stitch as it's manipulated twice. It does not distort
and itís a perfectly fine increase except for the bar. If you
donít look closely, it will not be noticed.
The yo leaves a decorative hole. It has many uses and you will
often see it incorporated in lace knitting and borders for
blankets and scarves. The trick to knitting the yo is to make sure
that after you wrap the yarn, you donít lose the wrap as you knit
or purl the next stitch. Itís very easy for it to fall off the
needle by accident. So use caution!
This is sometimes called the invisible increase. Itís a bit more
difficult than the others but nothing that canít be mastered with
a bit of practice. There are several ways to do it.
If your pattern does not specify a particular M1, the following
is the default version. It creates a small hole. Insert the tip of
the right needle into the horizontal strand between two stitches
in the row below from front to back. Transfer the strand to the
left needle and knit into the back of it. Remove from the left
needle as usual.
The second version does not create a hole: It's worked in the
same way but knit into the front loop instead (as you would a
regular knit stitch). This increase slants to the right.
The third way to M1 starts out differently. When you insert your
needle into the strand, do so from back to front (the needle will
be moving toward you) instead of front to back. This results in
the strand being twisted when it is placed on the left needle. Now
knit into the front loop of this strand (the usual knit method).
This version does not create a hole and it will slant to the left.
Knit in the Stitch Below
Sometimes a pattern will ask you to knit in the stitch below
instead of the next stitch; it produces a stitch that pulls up and
elongates and provides a rich texture. However, sometimes you will
be told to knit in the stitch below to increase. Be sure if you
are asked to knit in the stitch below, you carefully follow if you
are increasing or not.
This increase is almost invisible. Usually you will knit in the
stitch below and then knit the next stitch. Because this increase
elongates the piece, do not use it more than once every four rows
or so. You should not substitute it for other increases called for
in a pattern.
Literally work into the stitch in the row below. Look carefully
and insert the right needle into the center of this stitch and
knit as you normally would.
Used in a variety of situations, most commonly you will be asked
to (k1, p1, k1) in the same stitch or (k, k through the back loop,
k) in the same stitch. These are just variations of the standard
bar increase (kfb). For the latter, itís just an extra knit in the
usual manner before the stitch is removed from the left needle. To
(k1, p1, k1) in the same stitch, knit in the usual way but donít
remove the original stitch from the left needle. Now purl in the
same stitch and again, donít remove it. Finally, knit once more
and remove the stitch in usual way.
Authored by Barbara Breiter
Barbara Breiter is the author of THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO KNITTING & CROCHETING. Find her online at http://www.knittingonthenet.com/