Increasing stitches are very important when knitting almost any project. There are a few different ways to do them and they all have a time and a place when they would each be considered the best choice to be used depending on your project. I'm going to show you some different ways to increase stitches in your work, how to do them, and how they compare to each other.
First off, I'm using Biscotte's DK Pure in Gris-Gris on my 4.5mm ever so loved Chiaogoo needles. Mentioned before, this is one of my favorite colors; it's grey but it almost looks like it has a purplish hue to it. I absolutely love the color. I have a stash waiting to jump on my needles and I just recently found the perfect project for it that I'll be knitting it up for the fall so stay tuned!! It's going to be a goodie!!
Knit into the front and the back (KFB)
Ok, back to the reason we're here LOL increases! The first one I'm going to show you is knitting into the front and the back of the same stitch (KFB), also known as the Bar Increase. And no, there shall be no alcoholic beverages provided with this increase. When knit in stockinette stitch it creates a visible bar, however it can be decorative. This increase can be used virtually anywhere in your work, both on the knit side and the purl side. There's no need to worry about left leaning or right leaning increases, it will match on both sides of your work. You will just need to make sure to knit them in the correct column so that the little bar it creates will line up properly. However, when knit between a knit and a purl stitch it's virtually invisible.
Step 1. Simply knit into the stitch as you normally would......
Step 2. STOP! Do not take it off your needle!!
Step 3. Before taking the stitch off your needle, insert your needle into the back of the stitch you just knit into and knit it through the back loop. And that's it! One stitch increased.
Remember when I said to make sure you increase into the same spot you're supposed to or your little bars won't line up? Here's an example of what would it would look like if you increased a stitch in the wrong spot. The green needle is showing one bar that's been increased one stitch too early. It's always best to use stitch markers to help avoid errors.
This is the finished swatch and the green needle shows the little bars that you will get when knitting into the front and back of a stitch. All depending on the project I'm knitting I use this increase because I like the decorative little bars.
Make One (M1 - M1L - M1R)
The next increase is the Make One (M1). This increase is probably considered the most invisible. It's created in between two stitches and has a left leaning (M1L) and a right leaning (M1R) version that mirror each other perfectly. It can be worked on both the knit and the purl side however it is recommended to do the increase on every other row to avoid puckering. Also, keep tension in mind so that a hole is not created in your work around the increase.
Step 1. You will be working with the bar in between your two stitches as shown by the green needle.
Step 2. With your left hand needle lift up the bar from the back to the front and put it up on your left needle. I find an easy way to remember is that when making one RIGHT you insert from the REAR.
Step 3. Knit the stitch from the front as a normal knit stitch.
Step 4. It really is very hard to detect the increases!
The other side of your work will be a M1L.
Step 1. Still working on the bar in between your two stitches, insert your left hand needle this time from front to back and put up on the left needle.
Step 2. Knit the stitch into the back loop.
Step 3. Voila! It is a fairly invisible increase.
Lifted Increase (LLI - RLI)
The next increase is the Lifted Increase. It has a left leaning and a right leaning version that mirror each other. The Right Lifted Increase (RLI) and the Left Lifted Increase (LLI) are considered an invisible option like the Make One (M1). This is an increase that's commonly used if you've made an error in your stitch count and need to add a stitch somewhere in your work. That is if you're not completely neurotic like myself and would have to play Sherlock Holmes, find the mistake even if I have to spend an hour looking for it, take it out and fix it LOL NEUROTIC!! Can't let it go..........someone else please come forward and let me know you have the same problem;) Ok, ok, back to the increase....SQUIRREL!!! This one shouldn't be used row after row; there needs to be a row in between so it won't pucker. Keep in mind when using this increase that it's a little more difficult to work on the purl side as the area used to create the increase is more difficult to locate.
Step 1. The Right Lifted Increase is done by working into the stitch BELOW the next stitch on your needle. You will be lifting the right leg of the stitch pointed out by the green needle.
Step 2. Insert your needle into that right leg, careful to only grab one strand of yarn and knit it as you would knit any stitch.
Step 3. Then knit the stitch that was on your needle.
Step 4. Creates more of an edge than the M1 but still fairly invisible.
Onto the other side of your work you will make a Left Lifted Increase.
Step 1. So in order to do a Left Lifted Increase you need to be able to get to the left leg. In order to do that you have to knit the stitch first to get it over to your right hand needle. Since you just knit the stitch, the left leg that you need to increase into is now two rows down as shown by my green needle.
Step 2. Insert your left hand needle into the left leg of the stitch, careful to only pick up one strand.
Step 3. Knit the left leg you picked up as any other stitch you would knit and then you can continue on the rest of your row.
Step 4. The finished piece!
Here are the three different techniques completed. The most visible is the KFB but like I mentioned, depending on your project a decorative increase may be the winner. I usually use the recommended increase in any pattern that I'm working. If the designer uses a particular technique it's because it's the best one for the pattern she or he has designed. I will say that the increase that I use most often is the M1R and M1L and in my opinion do look a little better than the RLI and the LLI.
Since I am the only voter at the moment I choose the Make One method the winner and award it with a lovely transformation into a flower pot!
Happy knitting everyone!!