When learning how to knit, we all make mistakes. One of the most common is adding knitting stitches when and where you don’t intend to. This often happens when strands of yarn get caught on your needle inadvertently, and not knowing one strand of yarn from the next, you knit it! Voila, a stitch is born.
These kinds of unintentional increases are to be avoided, but once you are past the scarf-making stage and want to make something that requires a shape other than a rectangle, you will need to know how to create intentional increases. That means increases that don’t create a hole or look bumpy!
It’s important to note that not all increases are made alike. If your pattern tells you to increase using a specific kind of increase (yo, k1f&b, inc, etc.) then by all means, use the increase that is intended. Our particular method of adding knitting stiches is generally used for mittens or gloves, and often in raglan sweaters. It is called a “Make One,” or M1 in knitter-ese. The nice thing about the M1 increase is that, depending on the way you situate it on your needle, you can make the increase slant, ever so slightly, to the right or the left, making your work symmetrical.
The thumb increases on this Svalbard Mitten are created using a Make One Right (M1R), then a Make One Left (M1L). The M1R is worked first, then the M1L is worked next. This makes the increase visually move away from the thumb.
If you look at the space between two stitches, there is a stand of yarn that runs between your stitches. This is called the “running thread.”
Place this running thread onto your left-hand needle with the left leg in front.
Now, here is the tricky part. If you just knit this, by working a new stitch into the hole created by placing the running thread on the needle, you would make a hole in your work. This hole would be smaller than a hole created by a yarn over, but it would still be a hole. In order to close up the hole, you have to twist the stitch when you knit it.
Insert the right-hand needle into the yarn over created by the running thread in the same manner as you would knit; from left to right and front to back. This makes the yarn twist on itself and closes up any gap.
This increase has the front of the completed stitch slanting visually to the right.
To make an increase that slants to the left, work a Make One Left, or M1L. You begin much the same way, by placing the running thread on the left hand needle.
This time, you will be placing the stitch on the left-hand needle with the right leg in front.
Knit into the back of the stitch to twist it and close up the hole created by lifting the running thread. Then, knit this stitch as usual.
This increase shows the front of the completed stitch slanting visually to the left.
As you can see, the extra knitting stitches are practically invisible to the naked eye!