There’s a knitting stitch combination that I’ve seen called a gather, and I’ve mostly seen it in Estonian stitch patterns, though I’m guessing they get used elsewhere too. Essentially, they are a combination of a double decrease (or more) and a double increase (or more) happening at the same time.
It sounds more complicated than it is. Take the 3/3 gather. When making a k3tog decrease, the basic principle is to insert the needle through all three stitches as if they were one stitch, and then knit one stitch in that clump of stitches. The gather expands upon that: knit those three stitches together without removing them from the needle, then yarnover, then knit the three stitches together again. This is the same as working a KYOK at the same time as a k3tog. Start with three stitches, end with three stitches, but they’re gathered together.
But thinking of it as a decrease/increase started making my brain fizz.
I’ve been thinking about decorative increase lines in the context of the k1long maneuver, which involves pulling a stitch through a part of the already knitted fabric, so I thought I’d try it. I like the result pretty well, though I think I made the loops a little too big. Practice will probably solve that.
Anyway! So my mind immediately started turning over the question of a symmetrical 2-to-3 increase. In some sense, the obvious thing is just two stitches with an increase in between: lifted increases, a YO, or the kind of m1 that involves lifting a bar. But if you don’t want a hole, you have to twist the increase. I am generally happy enough with the invisibility of lifted increases and don’t worry about their asymmetricality.
Still, I’m always up for challenges like this. Even if I don’t succeed, I often find interesting things along the way. I tried out three different methods that I think could genuinely be called 2-to-3 increases.
There are times when stitch markers come in handy. Sometimes they can be useful to simplify pattern writing. Sometimes when I’m knitting something that’s primarily stockinette, I don’t look at my knitting, and so then I might forget to work increases or decreases. Stitch markers help my hands feel when I need to actually look at what’s happening. Other knitters will want the markers there anyway as an extra guide to help them read the pattern. There are many ways to knit, and there are only two rules about the right way: first, you’re not hurting yourself, and second, you’re getting the results you want.
Placing stitch markers with double increases is a little tricky – without care, the marker will move progressively away from the center stitch that should be marked. If this happens, the next double increase will be in the wrong stitch. One way or another, moving markers is required when they’re in use with double increases. I’m going to write about using regular stitch markers and also about using locking stitch markers.
So, with that in mind, here are three ways to use stitch markers with a line of KYOKs.
I’m very fond of being able to read my knitting – that is, to look at the stitches hanging off my needles and see what I did with them, and therefore where I am in a pattern and what I need to do next. I’ve also been working on some designs that include an increase line that is interesting, a little tricky to read, and not easy to mark by placing stitch markers (because the logical place to put them keeps moving).
There’s a very traditional way of making a line of two increases down the middle of a shawl or in some chevron stitch patterns: yarnover, knit 1, yarnover . It makes a very attractive pattern, but isn’t the right look for every circumstance. It is very easy to read – the center stitch is straightforward to keep track of. Though the yarnovers aren’t directly part of the center stitch, I still think of it as a double increase: three stitches made where one was before. This is because this pattern can be replaced by a column of what are more clearly double increases: (k1, yo, k1) in one stitch — also known as KYOK; (k1, p1, k1) in next stitch; right lifted increase, k1, left lifted increase; or knit in front loop, knit in back loop, knit in front loop. All of these are generally followed by working the resulting stitches with knits or purls on the next row. These are all the double increases I can think of off the top of my head.
This blog post is only concerned with the first of those: KYOK, more traditionally known as (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch.
I enjoy the way this makes a little column of single yarnovers in the fabric, but I had a lot of trouble at first with seeing where to place the KYOK in following rows. They meandered a lot. (This has its own possibilities, of course.) I thought it might be worth sharing what I’ve worked out for myself.
A clever idea for making an insole into a slipper sole. I’m linking to the pin I found on Pinterest because I’m finding the original site (linked from the pin) hard to navigate. Still, I think the photo is clear enough.
Make 1 stitch into 5, from Impeccable Knits; useful for closed ring cables (probably for lace, too).
A question came up elsewhere online about how to make double and triple yarnovers smaller.
I’ve actually thought about this before, but haven’t used my ideas in my stitch patterns – my secret code method when applied to lace means that I need to chart the lace with a yarnover in every encoded square.
But there’s no reason why someone couldn’t knit my stitch patterns with the methods I’m going to describe below. I do have two caveats:
The stitch count will vary from row to row, and the more times the pattern repeats across the row, the more it will vary. I’m not sure whether this might cause blocking issues or if it would just have the effect of making the row vertically shorter because the stitches would be stretched horizontally.
It requires more thought on the return rows, which makes them less restful.
Even so, it’s a handy way to think about it. (Also, this can be a useful method for coping with having made a single YO instead of a double or triple.)
The important thing to realize is that when there’s a double or triple yarnover on the right side row, it doesn’t actually increase the knitting by that many stitches. It just makes a single large new stitch. It’s the number of stitches worked into the double (or triple) yarnover on the return row that makes for more than the single increase. Having multiple loops makes for an reminder of the location for multiple stitches but there’s no inherent reason to have them.
Sometimes I discover that my brain has been thinking up things while I wasn’t looking, as it were. I love the way it does that. (Except when I’m overwhelmed by ideas.) This time, the back of my brain decided to combine a technique I’ve been playing with in swatches–k1long with inlay‘s ability to add a contrast color in a vertical colorwork design. This isn’t actually inlay, but merely borrows the idea of carrying a contrast color vertically up the wrong side of the knitting when it’s not in use.
I’ve only written instructions that show how to work this from the front, but I hope that it will be evident how to reverse the process from the wrong side. Please let me know if I’m mistaken and I’ll write this up. As it stands, it should be easy enough to work in the round regardless.
The first step is to consider whether the contrast color loop is leaning from bottom left to top right or from bottom right to top left. If the former, I’ve used a k2tog (right leaning) to secure the loop, and if the latter, I’ve used SSK (left leaning).
The instructions below are for the right-leaning version; the left-leaning version doesn’t require the slipped stitch to be worked first (if working in the round, anyway).
Some lace patterns contain double yarnovers, which are used to add two stitches in the middle of the work as well as adding a decorative hole. (The word yarnover makes me think of turnovers. Yum!)
The question I’ve seen from people who haven’t dealt with them before is how to work them on the next row or round. There’s two loops on the needle
but if you knit each loop the way you would a normal stitch, it won’t make two stitches, which is undesirable.
The standard way to work them, as described by Barbara Walker and many others, is to knit the first loop, slip it off, and then purl the second loop. (Double YO #1 in the photo above) You can reverse the order, but it makes a funny little knot in between the two stitches. (Double YO #2.)
Another technique I learned about more recently is to knit or purl through each loop, but to twist them as you go. (Double YO #3) This seems to be rather less well-known, and is a useful basis for Double YOs #4 and 5 above, so I’m going to write about it here.
There’s one finicky thing about it, in my opinion, and that’s loosening each loop up enough to get the needle through. If your yarn is thick enough, you can pinch the bottom of the loop and pull it down to get some slack:
Then you can twist the loop and either knit or purl it.
Alternately, insert your needle as if to purl,
then slide it around under the yarn so that it’s behind the other needle.
If you’re knitting it, it’s in the perfect spot to go ahead. If you’re purling, you’ll have to remove the needle and hold onto the slack with your other hand while bringing the needle in from behind.
Once you’ve worked the first YO, work the second one the same way you did the first, so that both are knit or both are purled.
Note that since the loops are twisted, the double YO is smaller. Sometimes this is a benefit; sometimes it’s not. What I like about this technique is that it works really well when you start getting more than two yarnovers in a row. (For an example, see the Auge doily.)
Now that’s all very well and good, and is sometimes the best option, but it’s asymmetrical, and I’m often in favor of symmetry. I was thinking about knots one day. A twisted yarn over loop is basically the same as a half hitch. When I was a child, I was taught a knot that we called a whole hitch, but that is more commonly called a lark’s head knot. A lark’s head knot is two half hitches in a row, but one half hitch is twisted in the opposite direction from the other, so that they mirror each other.
Why not, I thought, mirror the twist in the two YOs for more symmetry? Here are the results of this experimentation. I’m going to call this the lark’s head stitch, though surely someone else must have come up with it and called it something else.
This is a case where it matters which order you make the stitches in depending on the effect you want on the front of your work. Both Double YO #4 and 5 above are worked with a lark’s head stitch.
The first variation I show will create a horizontal blip on the side of the fabric that is not facing you. The second will create a horizontal blip on the side that’s facing you. Which you work depends on whether you’re knitting in the round or knitting flat, and whether you want a horizontal blip showing or not.
Twist and work the first loop as shown above.
Now, drop the second loop. Don’t worry! It won’t run; it can’t, since there’s no stitches below it. Now, bring your non-active needle in from behind to pick up the loop again so that it sits on the needle in the opposite direction.
Now, either knit or purl the YO leg that’s in front of the needle so that the YO is twisted as you work it.
Drop both loops of the double YO. Bring your non-active needle in from behind to pick it up as if it’s one stitch, like this:
Twist it as you knit or purl it. There should still be some slack in the long loop you dropped; pick that up again so that it sits like this on the needle:
Twist it to work it with the same stitch you did the previous stitch (so, a total of two knits or a total of two purls.)
Have fun! Play around! See if this makes you think of something else to try!
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