If you’re following along with our Lopi Sweater knit-along progress, by now you’ve finished the body of your sweater, in which you may or may not have worked waist shaping. So now that we’re working on the sleeves, this could be the first opportunity you’ve had to work increases into your knitting project. Today’s blog post is going to demonstrate how to increase in knitting with a few different techniques.
Your pattern may list a specific increase method or it may not list anything at all, simply saying “increase 1 stitch at this point.” As with all knitting projects, you have the ability to change things up to suit your needs—so maybe your pattern calls for M1L or M1R but you like the look of a LLI and RLI better. Change it up! Life is too short to work knitting stitches we don’t like.
There are two very basic increases—a yarnover and a KF&B (knit front and back). For the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to ignore the yarnover option, because you likely don’t want to have parallel holes in the sleeves of your sweater. So instead, let’s begin with knit front and back. You might see this one abbreviated as kf&b, or kfb, but it’s fairly self-explanatory—you’re going to knit into the front, and then into the back, of the same stitch. Here’s a video to show you how it’s done.
Another common increase type is a Make 1. Sometimes you’ll just see M1, sometimes you’ll see M1L or M1R. In most instances, an M1 and an M1L are the same thing—the L means that it will lean to the Left, and a basic M1 does the same thing. The R in M1R means that it leans to the Right. These are important distinctions if you’re working anything that requires visible shaping, though for the purposes of a sleeve, you could use just one or the other (though I would recommend working an M1L at the beginning of the round and an M1R at the end of the round). Working a Make 1 increase is pretty easy—you’re lifting up the bar between knit stitches and, depending on how you lift it and twist it, you’ll end up with a new stitch that leans to the left or to the right.
Here’s a video of Emily demonstrating how to work the M1L.
And here’s a video demonstrating how to do an M1R.
A slightly less frequently seen increase method, and my preferred method for working increases in sweaters, is the Lifted Increase method. I like this increase method because the new stitches blend almost seamlessly into the fabric, and it’s pretty quick to work when you’re flying through a sleeve. This method involves pulling up on stitches in a column. With a Right Lifted Increase (RLI), you will pull up the stitch just below the stitch that you are about to work. For a Left Lifted Increase (LLI), you pull up the stitch two rows down from the stitch you just worked. Here’s a video from Emily demonstrating how to work these increases.
Do you have a preferred increase method? Let us know in the comments!