Regular and Reverse Yarn Over – The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

There are a number of ways to increase stitches in knitting – “make 1”, lifted increases, double increase, “knitting front & back”, etc. Some of those increases are more challenging than the others, but what way is the easiest of them all?

In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at two ridiculously simple ways to add a new stitch to the work. One of these ways results in creating a hole. The other way adds a new stitch almost invisibly. Both ways are variations of the good old yarn over.

Let’s see how each of these ways works step by step.

If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, follow this link.

WAY #1 – REGULAR YARN OVER

The first question that comes to mind is “why on earth would someone want to make a hole in their work?”, right?

Well, on one hand, it is a rightful question – after all, we want our knits to be spotless and as close to perfection as possible. If an occasional hole does creep into our work, we do our best to get rid of it or at least to conceal it as fast as we can.

On the other hand, the whole concept of knitted lace is built on the idea of making holes. When these holes are arranged in neat sequences and offset by decreases, they form beautiful airy patterns, like the ones you will find in this collection of lace stitches.

So, there is nothing wrong with adding holes to our knits. When carefully planned, they can become a lovely decoration on any knitted project, like the two lines of increases on the swatch below.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

These increases will look great on raglan lines of a top-down sweater, on a thumb gusset of a glove or as a way to highlight a sophisticated shaping of a shawl.

All these benefits are easy to achieve in just two simple steps.

When you need to make an increase in your work, make a regular yarn over:

STEP 1. Bring the working yarn to the front of the right needle.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

STEP 2. Then, bring the working yarn to the back of the right needle.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

If the next stitch is a knit, we can simply knit it as the working yarn is already where it should be – at the back of the work.

If the next stitch of your work is supposed to be purled, bring the yarn around the bottom of the needle and to the front of the work.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

Then purl the next stitch. Here’s how it happens.

In the next row, we can work the new stitches as knits or as purls depending on the pattern or the effect we want to achieve.

The photo below shows how knitting and purling in the wrong side row changes the look of the stitch. The yarn over at the right side of the swatch was knitted in the wrong side row, and the one at the left side of the swatch was purled.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

There is one more way to change the look of that yarn over – we can work it as a twisted knit or a twisted purl in the wrong side row.

Watch how to do it in this part of the video tutorial.

Twisting the yarn overs will close the holes and the stitches will look similar to the stitches in the swatch below (the yarn over on the right was worked as a twisted knit, the one on the left – as a twisted purl).

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

It is just one of the ways to increase stitches without creating a hole. The other way would be to use a variation of the regular yarn over – a reverse (also called “backwards”) yarn over.

WAY #2 – REVERSE YARN OVER

As you can probably tell from its name, this yarn over is a reverse version of the regular yarn over. It is also done in the same two simple steps we followed when we made the regular yarn over, but these steps are performed in reverse order.

STEP 1. Bring the working yarn to the back of the right needle.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

STEP 2. Then bring the working yarn to the front of the right needle.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

If the next stitch is a purl, purl it normally (through the front loop) as the working yarn is already at the front of the work.

If the next stitch is a knit, we need to move the yarn to the back of the work. Make sure you do it by bringing the yarn around the bottom of the needle, just as it is shown in the photo below and in this part of the video tutorial.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

Then knit the next stitch.

There is no need to work the new stitches as twisted knits or twisted purls in the next row. Because we used a reverse yarn over to make a new stitch, there will be no hole in the work, so in the next row, we can simply knit or purl the new stitch.

The Easiest Way to Increase Stitches in Knitting

The fact that these increases are so easy to make doesn’t mean that they can’t be used in advanced knitting projects. Yarn over increases are as good as any other way to increase stitches and there is nothing wrong in using them whenever you need to add a new stitch to the work, whether it is a simple shawl or a fancy sweater with sophisticated shaping.


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Happy knitting 🙂


Regular and Reverse Yarn Over - Step by Step | 10 rows a day
Regular and Reverse Yarn Over - Step by Step | 10 rows a day
Regular and Reverse Yarn Over - Step by Step | 10 rows a day
Regular and Reverse Yarn Over - Step by Step | 10 rows a day