When we knit using the Russian knitting style, the stitches have a different orientation on the needles. Unlike the stitches worked using any of the classic knitting styles, in Russian knitting, the right leg of a stitch is at the back of the knitting needle. That’s why if we want to make an increase by knitting a stitch “front and back” we get a result that does not look like a bar increase in the classic knitting.
To make a bar increase in Russian knitting, we should reverse the steps and knit a stitch through the back loop before we knit it through the front loop.
Here’s how we do it step by step.
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch each step in a video tutorial, or scroll to the bottom of this page to watch an embedded version of the video.
TRUE BAR INCREASE
Insert the tip of the right needle from right to left into the first stitch on the left needle.
Wrap the needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through just as we do when we normally knit a stitch in Russian knitting.
Make sure you don’t drop the stitch off the left needle yet.
Now insert the right needle into the same stitch on the left needle, but this time do it from left to right.
Wrap the needle with the yarn and pull this wrap through the stitch to form one more stitch. Then slip the original stitch off the left needle.
This stitch has done its job – it hosts two stitches increasing the total number of stitches on the needles by one stitch.
This increase looks exactly the same as the bar increase (also known as kf&b or KFB) in classic knitting.
To help you compare these increases, I made two swatches – one worked using the classic Continental knitting style (it is the swatch at the left side of the photo below) and the other one worked using the Russian knitting style (the swatch on the right).
As you see, the increases look identical.
But what happens when we knit into the front and then into the back of a stitch in Russian knitting?
We also make an increase, but this type of increase is far more interesting than the bar increase explained above. It has a rich texture that looks especially nice when we use this method to build a right-slanting line of increases.
If you want to decorate your project with this increase, follow the two simple steps described below. You can also watch these steps in this part of the video tutorial.
KFB INCREASES IN RUSSIAN KNITTING
Insert the tip of the right needle from left to right into the first stitch on the left needle.
Wrap the needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through to form a new stitch, but don’t slip the original stitch off the left needle yet.
Now insert the right needle from right to left into the same stitch on the left needle.
Because the stitch is already twisted, it could be a bit confusing to find the back leg of that stitch. It helps to look at the stitch from the top of the needle. Then you can clearly see both legs of the stitch and confidently insert the needle into the right spot.
Wrap the tip of the right needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through to knit one more stitch from the same stitch on the left needle. Then slip the original stitch off the left needle.
When these increases are stacked on top of each other, they form a lovely line of textured fabric that would look great on a shawl or a hat shaping.
Unfortunately, these increases do not look the same when they form a left and a right slanting line, so they won’t look consistent on raglan lines and other types of mirrored shaping.
In these cases, it is better to use the bar increases explained in the first part of this tutorial.
To learn all ins and outs of the Russian knitting style, consider taking a detailed online course Russian Knitting Simplified.