TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Swatch 5

Week: 7

Currently Working On: Swatch # 5


This week’s swatch uses the make 1 increase.  The biggest frustration I’ve had is that a lot of knitting patterns will say “make 1” but you never know if it’s asking for the actual make 1 increase or just which ever increase you prefer to add one stitch.  I’ve been very annoyed by this ever since I started knitting.  If I see a “M1” in a pattern I roll my eyes and see if I can find a similar pattern elsewhere.  If you’re going to write a pattern I want to know what increase you want or I want you to specifically say that I need to choose the increase.  M1 is just too ambiguous and unless I really like the pattern not worth the effort of deciphering.

The make 1 increase itself is sometimes called a stranded increase and has three variations: open, right leaning, and left leaning. All three types are worked with the strand in between two stitches.  The increase will appear in the middle of these two stitches. M1R and M1L are how I’ve often seen the right leaning and left leaning increases abbreviated (and I’m very happy to see in a pattern as they are specific).

Both the open and left leaning increases pick up the strand with the left needle coming from the front and through the back.  That leaves the stitch correctly oriented on the left needle and ready to knit.  An open increase will knit as normal but a left leaning increase will knit through the back loop.

A right leaning increase will use the left needle to pick up the strand from the back through the front.  The stitch will be twisted on the left needle.  The stitch is now knitted as normal.  What you notice for both right and left leaning increases is that at some point the stitch is twisted. The stitch is twisted either in how it is picked up or how it is knitted.  The twist results in making the hole that naturally occurs with the increase less visible and causes the stitch to lean in one direction.

The open M1 is not twisted in either how the strand is picked up or in how it is knit.  This is why the hole is larger and there is no slant to the increase.

When I took Barry Klein’s class at Stitches last month he talked about these increases.  One of the most common mistakes people make is that they use the right needle to pick up the strand and then transfer it to the left needle to knit.  This can cause mistakes and suddenly you’ll have an increase with a larger hole than expected.  The best way to do these increases is to always use the left needle to pick up that strand since that is the needle you will be knitting from anyway.


Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Make One Increase: Chapter 11, pg 211.

Klein, Barry. Class Lecture.  Perfect the Fit.  Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL. 10 Aug 2012.

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