Increases

An increase is simply adding a stitch to the knitting. Consider all of the ways you could create a new loop of yarn on the needle. Each way is likely to have been named and used by someone. If I could use only three methods (and I pretty much do only use these three), they would be M1L, M1R, and Yarn Over (YO). The first two are the most discreet and invisible, and match each other symmetrically for the fussy among us. YO is, by contrast, intentionally visible: it creates a decorative hole in the knitting, which is used a lot in lace. (It also, incidentally, makes a nice, stretchy little buttonhole.)

The sampler below contains both increases and decreases. Since it was knit from bottom to top, the increases are the "V" part of the diamond shapes. All of these increases are worked on the knit rows only (not the purl rows). The names M1A, M1T, KRL, KLL are my own names, for lack of a standard name for those.  

Increase Sampler

M1A

Make One Away

This doesn't match the right side absolutely perfectly, but it is just fine for beginners.

M1A

Make One Away

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This is the easiest increase. It makes a fine, all purpose increase, as long as you don't mind a loose increase that can show a small hole. When a pattern says to increase or to "make one (M1)" you can use this, or any of the other M1 increases.

M1T

Make One Towards

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This matches M1A perfectly, and is just as easy.

M1A

Make One Away

See description above.

M1R

Make One Right

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Matches M1F perfectly (mirror reverse of that increase). A very neat, tight, invisible increase. Can be tricky to work though!

M1L

Make One Left

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This creates the exact same stitch as Make One Away, it just does it tighter and more invisibly. It's as if you worked M1A on the previous row (very, very, tightly), and then knitted it this row. Harder to work, but my favorite increase for results.

KRL

Knit Right Loop

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This increase, paired with KLL, is ideal if you ever need to do two symmetrical increases in adjacent stitches.

I don’t, however, like this increase in most applications: When used on alternate rows over several rows, as is often called for with increases, the knitting pulls in a bit along the increase line.

In my sample I knit KLL followed by KRL. (KLL is on the right side, KRL on the left side, in the image shown.)

KLL

Knit Left Loop

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This increase is mirror reverse of KRL. See KRL description for important notes on when to use and when not to use these two increases.

KFB

Knit Front and Back

Work as for right side.

KFB

Knit Front and Back

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Also called a Bar Increase, and k1f&b (knit 1 front & back). Knit a stitch, leaving stitch on left needle; knit into the back loop of this stitch.

Moss Increase

Work as for right side.

Moss Increase

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Knit a stitch, leaving stitch on left needle; purl into the front of this stitch.

Afterthought Yarnover

Work as for right side.

Afterthought Yarnover

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It's difficult to see in the picture, but this increase creates a hole in the knitting, similar to the Yarn Over, but smaller.

YO

Yarn Over

Work as for right side.

YO

Yarn Over

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The essential increase to all lace patterns! This increase creates a nice big hole in the knitting.