How to Knit Yarn Overs
A Very Simple Increase Technique
'Yarn overs' are a common single increase technique; meaning that they are used to increase the number of stitches on your knitting needles by 1.
The special thing about yarn overs, though, is that they also make a hole in your knitting. And that is what sets them apart from other increases.
So why would you want a hole in your knitting? Well, yarn overs are a vital technique in lace knitting, where holes are arranged in patterns to produce a delicate-looking knitted fabric.
I have to say that I particularly like yarn overs, just because they're so easy to do!
As a beginner, you may find them confusing at first, due to the fact that there are 4 different ways of producing a yarn over; the method you use depends on what kind of stitch is before and after the yarn over.
For instance, the yarn over between 2 knit stitches would be done differently to a yarn over between 2 purl stitches.
Take a look at my video tutorial to find out more:
Top tip: You only ever wrap the yarn anti-clockwise around the right hand needle.
So, here are the 4 slightly different yarn over methods:
- Yarn over between 2 knit stitches; Bring the working yarn from behind the needles, between the needles to the front.
- Yarn over between 2 purl stitches; Take the working yarn anti-clockwise around the right hand needle to the back, and then between the needles to the front again.
- Yarn over between a knit stitch & a purl stitch; Wrap the working yarn anti-clockwise around the right hand needle 1.5 times - so take it from the back of the needles, through the needles to the front, and then wrap the yarn fully (anticlockwise) around the right hand needle to bring it back to the front.
- Yarn over between a purl stitch & a knit stitch; Don't move the working yarn at all...simple!
In the video, I also demonstrate how to deal with yarn overs on the next row i.e. on the row after the row where you first added the yarn over(s).
Normally, you will just treat the yarn over as you would a normal stitch; this will result in you keeping the new stitch on the needle and producing a hole in your knitting.
If you made the yarn over accidentally, you can remove the yarn over on the next row by simply dropping it from the needle.
OR, if you want to keep the stitch you made with the yarn over, but you don't want a hole in your knitting, you will need to knit into the back of the stitch (knit 'through the back loop') instead.
However, a lot of the time yarn overs are not used as an increase at all...in fact, knitters often want to use a yarn over to create a hole in the knitting (i.e. in lace knitting), but don't actually want to increase the total number of stitches on the needle. So you'll often see a yarn over paired up with a decrease (a k2tog is commonly chosen) on the same row; this way, the overall number of stitches remains unchanged.
I hope this has been useful for you :)