04 Mar

tutorial – knitting the m1bl increase

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

As you know, there are many options to work increases in knitting. Take for example the various m1 increases. A disadvantage of the regular m1 increase is, however, that it’s worked into the horizontal strand between two stitches in the row below. This causes the knitting to become tighter when they’re stacked over multiples rows. Especially when working in stripes or garter stitch, this can cause the lines to become distorted.

And that is where the m1bl increase comes in. The m1bl increase is also known as “Make 1 with Backward Loop” or the “Backward loop increase”. And when worked correctly it’s almost invisible! This is due to the fact that it doesn’t use yarn from the row below, but is given its own amount to be formed. Also, the m1bl increase can be used to either increase mid-row or cast-on stitches at the end of the row. The m1bl is basically the same as the thumb method of casting on, also known as the “single cast-on”, “e-wrap cast-on” or the “backward loop cast-on”.

Directional increase

The m1bl increase is a directional increase. This means there is both a left-leaning and a right-leaning version, which mirror each other when used together. This can be very useful in projects where paired increased are needed and it may be visually pleasing to be symmetrical. Think for example of both sides of a top-down triangle shawls spine, or bust shaping in a garment.

Sometimes there is no indication of a direction given in the pattern, usually denoted by plain “m1bl”. If that is the case, you can choose which version you like best, or easiest to make. Often I don’t bother using both versions of the m1bl increase. I mean, it’s so invisible on its own!

In my patterns you can find the following description for the m1bl increase:
Make 1 with a backward loop (m1bl): With your thumb, make a backward loop with the working yarn over the right-hand needle and pull to tighten.

Below you can find how this increase is worked.

Knitting the left-leaning m1bl increase step by step

1. Take your working yarn and loop it as shown in the picture below, with the yarn going to the project in front.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

2. Next, insert the tip of the right needle from back to front through the loop.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

3. Pull the yarn snugly around the needle.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

4. On next row when you come to the loop added, purl (as shown here for stockinette) or knit (for garter stitch) as usual.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

Knitting the right-leaning m1bl increase step by step

1. Take your working yarn and loop it as shown in the picture below, with the yarn going to the project in the back.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

2. Next, insert the tip of the right needle from front to back through the loop.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

3. Pull the yarn snugly around the needle.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

4. On next row when you come to the loop added, purl (as shown here for stockinette) or knit (for garter stitch) as usual.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

The results

And this is how knitting both right- and left-leaning versions of the m1bl increase are worked! The result in stockinette is shown below, with the right-leaning version on the right of the swatch and the left-leaning one on the left. In this small swatch, there are three increase rows worked every other row, at a distance of 3 stitches from the garter stitch edge.

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

As you can see in the below picture, the increases are fairly invisible in reverse stockinette. The same holds true in garter stitch!

Knitting the m1bl increase - by La Visch Designs

07 Sep

tutorial: knitting M1L and M1R increases

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Many knitting patterns do not consist of rectangles but have a different shape. Think of a hat or a triangular shawl. To make contours in your work, you can make it wider by increasing your number of stitches, and narrower by decreasing them. When knitting lace both increases and decreases are indispensable. Knowing about knitting M1L and M1R increases, therefore, comes in very handy.

Being able to work a wide variety of increases is, therefore, a very important skill for a knitter.  In this post, I’m going to show you how to make increases by lifting the horizontal thread between the stitch just knit and the next one. These increases are referred to as “make one left” (abbreviated M1L) and “make one right” (abbreviated M1R).

Left? Right?

Now you may wonder what is meant by “left” and “right” in this context. Depending on how exactly you make the increase, it leans to the left or to the right, relative to the surrounding “normal” stitches. This can be very useful in, for example, a sweater where increases on both sides of the neck opening are needed. In this particular case, it may be visually pleasing to be symmetrical.

Sometimes there is no indication of a direction given in the pattern, usually denoted by plain “M1”. If that is the case, you can choose which version you like best, or easiest to make.

Knitting a M1R increase step by step

In this variation, you increase by lifting the thread between the stitch just knit and the next one from the back with your left needle, then knit (RS) or purl (WS) into the front of the loop. The resulting extra stitch leans to the right.

1. Lift the thread between the stitch just knit and the next one from the back with your left needle.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Knit (RS) or purl (WS) into the front of the loop.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. The result of the right-leaning M1R.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Knitting a M1L increase step by step

In this variation, you increase by lifting the thread between the stitch just knit and the next one from the front with your left needle, then knit (RS) or purl (WS) into the back of the loop. The resulting extra stitch leans to the left.

1. Lift the thread between the stitch just knit and the next one from the front with your left needle.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Knit (RS) or purl (WS) into the back of the loop. The latter may be a bit challenging, but as with everything practice makes perfect.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. The result of the left-leaning M1L.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And this is how knitting M1L and M1R increases is done!

The M1 increase really is one of my favorites, not in the least because they give an almost invisible result. See for example in the picture below. In this small swatch, there are three increase rows worked every other row, at a distance of 3 stitches from the garter stitch edge.

Knitting M1L and M1R increases - a tutorial by La Visch Designs