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Two Ways to Increase Knitting Stitches

There are several ways to increase the number of stitches on  your knitting needles, but I'm going to skip some of the more obscure and less practical ones (in my opinion) and just focus on the two most common methods of completing an increase.

M1 (Make One)

This stitch is frequently used for shaping, like in sweaters or shawls, and it's my go-to increase when directions are vague because it's practically invisible.

To make this increase, you're going to be pulling up the horizontal strand that runs between two stitches and knitting it to produce an additional stitch.

increasing a stitch in knitting

There's the strand I'm talking about, right below my left index finger in the picture.

M1 knitting stitch tutorial

From the front, go under the strand and pick it up with your left hand needle.

How to M1 knitting stitch increase

Knit the new stitch through the back loop.

M1 Knitting Stitch Increase Technique

Now you have two stitches instead of one!  This, technically, is  M1L  (make one left) because the stitch leans to the left.  You can also M1R (make one right), where the stitch will lean to the right.  It's the same process as M1L, just pick up the strand from behind instead of in front, and knit through the front loop.

K1FB (Knit One Front and Back)

This increase isn't my favorite, but it pops up fairly often in knitting patterns.  With this type of increase, you're knitting through the front and back loop of a stitch, which leaves you with a little purl bump on the new stitch.  Not invisible, but it gets the job done.

Knit one front and back tutorial

Begin by inserting the right hand needle through the stitch and wrapping as usual.  Complete the stitch as you normally would, but don't pull the stitch off the left needle just yet.

K!FB knitting directions

You will now have part of the stitch on each needle.

K1FB knitting stitch increase

Now, knit through the back loop of the stitch that is still on your left needle.  Complete this stitch as usual, pulling it off the left hand needle when done.

knit one front and back knitting stitch increase directions

You should now have two stitches, the original one and the new one which will have the purl bump below it.

Here's a comparison:  M1 is on the left and K1FB is on the right.


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