How to Increase a Stitch in Knitting

Learn how to increase a stitch in this knitting tutorial from Howcast.

So now I’m going to show you how to increase a stitch in your knitting. This is a great way to make your knitting grow. Here’s a sample that I’m going to show you on and you can see that I started down here with fewer stitches and they’re steadily growing to more and more.

So there are a couple of different ways to increase. I’ll show you my favorite method first. The knit one front and back. I’m going to be doing this knit one front and back on the second stitch, so I’m going to slip the first one to make a nice slip stitch edge. Now in this stitch I’m going to increase using the knit one front and back method.

So here’s how we do it. We’re going to stick the tip of the needle in and pull up a new loop as normal, but we’re not going to pop off the old stitch. Instead I’m going to swing the tip of the needle around, stick it back in to the back of that old stitch and pick up a new loop. So what we’ve made is two stitches coming out of the old stitch.

I’ll show it to you again, knit into the front of the stitch, swing the needle around, and knit into the back of the stitch and that’s why its called knit one front and back. I’ll show it to you one more time. Knit into the front, swing it around, knit into the back.

As long as you remember not to pop that old stitch off of the needle once you’ve knit into the front, you’ll be able to do this really easily. And I find it has a great rhythm and it goes really fast. The next type of increase you can do is just the basic yarn over. If you don’t decrease after a yarn over it just makes your knitting grow.

So I’m going to bring the yarn to the front, insert the needle into the stitch as if to knit, and by bring the yarn around to wrap around that needle you’ve automatically brought the yarn over the needle. So I’ll space these out and do one more.

I’m going to do a yarn over increase right here. Bring the yarn to the front, stick the needle into the next stitch and just by virtue of knitting, because the yarn has to come from the back, it creates a yarn over. Now remember this type of increase will leave a hole, so it’s a decorative increase, whereas the knit one front and back leaves a tiny, little welt.

There is however a completely invisible increase, and that’s called an M1 or a make one, so I’m going to show you that on the left side of my sample here where I’ve been placing them sort of in this way. You can see that the knitting is growing, but you can’t really see from where.

So here we go. I want to put and M1 increase here. You’ll notice if you separate your stitches, the one you just knit from the one you’re about to there’s this little bar of yarn down here. I’m going to show it to you by catching it with the tip of the left hand needle from behind.

So all I did was I scooped the left hand needle under that bar and picked it up. Now I’m going to knit it as if it were a stitch. So knit into the front of this bar. It’s going to be tight, because it doesn’t have enough yarn in it to actually be a stitch yet, because it wasn’t a stitch, it was just a bar.

I’m going to knit it and now I have made an extra stitch come up from in between two existing stitches. I’ll do it again. Knit that next stitch and I’m going to grab the bar from behind, insert the tip of my needle. It’s tight that’s good, and knit the stitch. Now it’s splitting the yarn. So that is an M1, and you want to make sure that you’re using the right kind of increase for whatever you’re desired look is for your garment.

So I’m going to show you first the knit one front and back on a thumb gusset. You can see the little row of bumps, making almost a design element here. I actually chose to put knit one front and backs into this thumb gusset, because I like the little ridge that it makes.

However, if you don’t these fingerless mitts use and M1 and their thumb gusset, which just kind of makes this triangle of knitting seem like its growing from no discernible point. It just magically increases and that’s an M1 increase. Then of course, yarn over’s make a hole like in lace knitting. So those are three different ways of making an increase, knit one front and back, yarn over and M1.