The Make One Increase

A make one or raised increase is my favorite increase to shape knit fabric, particularly stockinette stitch. It is made by picking up the horizontal strand between two stitches, and knitting it as if it were a stitch. There are two ways of knitting the horizontal strand, and each gives a different result. If you knit or purl through the front of the strand, a hole is left; suitable for a decorative effect. If you knit or purl through the back of the loop, you are twisting the stitch and it is nearly invisible. The twisting of the stitch leaves a subtle line that is effective for shaping waistlines or other areas. Most increases are performed on the right side of the fabric.

For a subtle decorative effect, you can also make the increase slant to the right or left. I’m currently knitting a cardigan back and forth on circular needles, working slanted increases to shape the sides.

Shaping side seams with make one increases

Basic Make One (M1)

The first step for any M1 method is to insert the needle tip into the strand between two stitches. With the needle tip (you can use the left or right needle) on a knit row, lift the strand between the last stitch worked and the first stitch on left needle, and knit into the back of it. Note: If using the left needle, insert it from front to back under the horizontal strand, leaving it on left needle to be knit. This technique is also how to make an increase with a left slant (see below).

Basic M1 increase

Make One (M1) Open or Decorative

On a knit row, insert the left needle from front to back under the horizontal strand that lies between the two needles, and knit into the front of the strand. A hole is formed under the stitch. On a purl row, insert the left needle front to back under the horizontal strand between the two needles, and purl into the front of the strand, forming a hole under the stitch.

M1 increase open

Make One Right (M1 R)

With the left needle lift the horizontal strand between the two needles from back to front, then knit the strand through the front.

Make One Left (M1 L)

With the left needle lift the horizontal strand between the two needles from front to back, then knit the lifted strand through the back.

The question of how to do a M1 in garter stitch is often asked. The procedure is the same as for a basic M1. However, make one increases that are twisted are not noticeable on “bumpy stitch” fabrics like garter stitch and seed stitch. The subtle line of shaping is not visible as with stockinette stitch. I also find that making an open M1 on garter stitch is unappealing as a design feature.

Once you’ve tried the make one increase, you’ll find them easy to make. They can be decorative or subtly follow the slant of the fabric. I prefer the make one of the twisted variety, particularly for shaping areas of garments. I think you’ll find the Make One Increase to be more appealing than the common, visible Bar Increase.