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M1L & M1R Increase Tutorials

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There are a number of ways to increase the number of stitches you have on your knitting needles. The M1L and M1R are a pair of mirrored increases that are made in a similar fashion and create nearly identical stitches that lean to the left and right respectively. They work well in most stitch patterns and are easily executed by any skill level once you understand the placement of the increase! 

Techniques Used

K - knit 
Ktbl - knit through the back loop

Instructions for M1L

  • Insert the tip of the left needle under the bar between the two stitches where you would like to place your increase from the front to the back creating a new loop.
  • Using the right needle and working yarn, knit this new stitch through the back of the loop.

Instructions for M1R

  • Insert the tip of the left needle under the bar between the two stitches where you would like to place your increase from the back to the front creating a new loop.
  • Using the right needle and working yarn, knit this new stitch through the front of the loop.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE M1L INCREASE

Step 1. Work to where you want your increase to be.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.
Step 2. Using the left needle, lift the bar between the stitches from the front to the back.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.
Step 3. Knit through the back loop of this new stitch.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.
As you can see below, the leg of the increase crosses over and appears to lean to the left.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.


STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE M1R INCREASE

Step 1. Work to where you want your increase to be.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.
Step 2. Using the left needle, lift the bar between the stitches from the back to the front.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.
Step 3. Knit through the front loop of this new stitch.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.
As you can see below, the leg of the increase crosses over and appears to lean to the right.
Bamboo knitting needles working with white yarn.

 

Tips for the M1L & M1R Increases

  • Fancy and functional! These increases can be positioned in different ways that become and enhance pattern designs! To camouflage your increases when increasing on both ends of a row, for example, use the M1R at the beginning and M1L at the end. For more noticeable or defined increases that stand out, reverse the order.
  • Tip top. Keep the yarn near the tip of the needles until you finish the stitch to avoid distorting the stitches around the increase. This will also help keep the increase stitch neat and allow it to better blend with the rest of the fabric you’re creating.
  • Knit works; purl too! If you are increasing on the wrong side of stockinette fabric or need to increase anywhere a purl stitch is used, these same techniques can be used. Simply purl the new stitch through the back or front of the loop as you would if you were knitting it! You just learned four increases in one article...not bad!

If you’re looking for a pattern to try out this stitch, we recently shared the Derecho Sweater which is the June shop KAL with Lindsey! The pattern is suitable for all skill levels and makes the perfect summer sweater project. If that isn’t up your alley, you’ll find this method quite frequently in all types of projects. It can also be used in a number of patterns that do not specify which increase method to use. Try the one you’re more comfortable with or leans in the direction you need/prefer!

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