When a project has increases that flare out from a line of stitches – like the increases we make at raglan lines of a top-down sweater or at the sections of a shawl – it is always a good idea to make those increases so that they mirror each other. That will add symmetry to the project and will make it look more refined and well-finished.
These increases are called “paired increases”. There are different ways to make them. Some of those ways are more complicated than others.
In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at two very simple ways to make paired increases. Both ways are based on yarn overs, and what could be easier than making a yarn over, right? 🙂
We’ll start with the way that forms neater, almost invisible increases.
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch every step described below in a video tutorial. Or, simply scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the embedded version of the video.
WAY #1 – LESS VISIBLE INCREASES
Work to a spot where you need to add a new stitch. In my little swatch, the increases are arranged around one stitch at the centre of the fabric. That means that I’ll work to that central stitch.
Make a regular yarn over – bring the yarn to the front of the work, over the needle and to the back of the work.
Work to the spot where you need to place the other increase. For me, it means knitting the central stitch.
Now make a reverse yarn over – bring the yarn to the back of the work, over the needle and to the front of the work.
Work to the end of the row.
That’s it – we made two increases, but now we have to make sure that those increases don’t form holes in our project. We’ll take care of this in the next row/round.
NEXT ROW / ROUND
The trick is to work both yarn overs as twisted stitches. Because the yarn overs are different, we’ll work one of them through the front loop, and the other one through the back loop.
When we work back and forth, then the next row will look like this:
Work to the first yarn over.
Purl the yarn over as usual, through the front loop.
Work to the next yarn over.
Purl this yarn over through the back loop. Click here to watch how to do it.
When we work in the round, we do the opposite – knit the first yarn over through the back loop, and knit the next yarn over through the front loop.
In both cases, the increases will look like little dashes that go along the central stitch.
It is a neat way to add stitches to the work without attracting too much attention to the line of increases.
If you want to use increases as a decorative element of your project, make a reverse yarn over at the right side of the line of increases and a regular yarn over at the left side. It is the second way to make paired increases with yarn overs.
WAY #2 – DECORATIVE INCREASES
Work to a spot where you plan to make the first increase.
Make a reverse yarn over.
Work to the spot where you plan to make the second increase.
Make a regular yarn over.
Work to the end of the row.
In the next row, purl the first yarn over through the back loop and purl the next yarn over through the front loop.
If you work in the round knit the first yarn over through the front loop and knit the next yarn over through the back loop.
As a result, the increases will look like dashes branching out from the central stitch. Plus, they make every other central stitch a bit bigger. That adds more texture to the lines of increases and turns this design element into a focal point of the project.
Usually, paired increases are worked in every other row or round. But you can easily use this method of increasing stitches even when the pattern tells you to make increases in every row or round. Because we don’t pull the strands from the previous row as we add new stitches to the work, the fabric will not be puckered and the stitches will not be too tight.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.