Ever rode shotgun with a map in your lap and tried to navigate the driver through the unknown city you are in? I have plenty of times.
Ever felt like that with your knitting pattern? I have plenty of times also (especially after I started reading patterns written in English), though I have usually managed to find my way.
Today we are learning about the difference between left and right. Yes, you heard me. To avoid future troubles on the road I am going to tell you exactly how to work a left and right slanted increase. The dreaded M1L (Make 1 Left) and M1R (Make 1 Right).
There are many ways to add stitches to your knitting and a lot of designers love this particular pair because they are elegant and unobtrusive and point, you guessed it, to the left and to the right, meaning they can be used mirrored. Which in return is a fabulous design element. That’s why you find them in a lot of patterns lately – be it as increases in a shawl or for raglan sweaters, or just because they indeed are the designers preferred method of increasing. I like them, too.
If you belong to these ‘others’ and you do not like them because you get confused by the instructions and never can tell which is which, let me just say: It is always the opposite.
Now, let’s get to it.
There are only four words that are really important: LEFT and RIGHT, as well as FRONT and BACK.
First up is M1L:
With your LEFT hand needle pick up the bar between two stitches from the FRONT.
Then knit that stitch you just made into the BACK.
There, M1L done.
With your LEFT hand needle pick up the bar between two stitches from the BACK.
Then knit that stitch into the FRONT (i.e. as you would any other stitch).
That’s your M1R.
There, I have made my point. It is always the opposite. When the strand is picked up from the back, you knit it from the front (regular), if it is picked up from the front, you knit it in the back.
As you might have noticed, the picked up stitch get twisted by knitting it into the front or back, hereby closing the hole that you would create otherwise. Also, if you have trouble picking up the bar with your left hand needle, let the right hand needle help out. Just make sure you transfer the bar properly so the stitch is going to point into the correct (I almost wrote ‘right’ – not really helpful, I know) direction.
Here is how it looks in the knitted fabric:
On the left you see M1R, on the right M1L. They slant towards the direction the increase is named for.
Increase away! No more excuse to get lost!
Happy knitting, as ever!