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  • KFB is my favorite increase for toe-up sock knitting – for some reason I really like the “bar” that increase creates on the diagonal. Thanks for a great article- you’ve taken the mystery out of lifted increases!

    • I agree, Joan, on toe-up socks those bars make it easy for me to see whether I’m on an increase round or a plain round. And it looks kind of decorative.

      I’m grateful for the reminder of the utility of these invisible increases, as well, for sweaters and other places I don’t want the bar. A place for all things, and all things in their place!

    • Since you like KFB which is a left leaning increase, you should try out the mirror to it which leans to the right.
      There are videos and other explanations (like this interweave article interweave.com/article/knitting/improve-knitting-inreases/ ) that might be better than mine but for convenience I will try to explain it here in my own words.

      KFB Mirror (Right-Leaning Bar Increase)
      1. Slip stitch Knit-wise to the right hand needle and then return it to the left hand needle. The stitch is now remounted so that the leading leg is on the back.
      3. Knit into the front leg and drop it off the left hand needle, creating a twisted stitch that leans to the right.
      4. Identify the stitch one row below this newest stitch on the right hand needle, which is the stitch we had slipped bak and forth in step 1.
      5. Insert the left hand needle from left to right into the right leg of this stitch (it will also be the front most leg)
      6. Knit into the back loop of this picked up leg and drop it off the needle.

      Now you have a right mirror to KFB, so that the “bar” is on the right side of the stitch to be increased.

      Side note: You can follow the same steps for a purl version too.

  • Excellent info!

  • thank you. I really love the deep dive!

  • Thank you again, Kate, for your crystal clear explanations. I will have to try that M1Z.

  • I have done all these increases, but now I understand them. Thanks! Is this info in your new book?

    • Yes! I have Kate’s Knitters Dictionary. Great resource, she explains everything very clearly just like here in her posts! Be aware, there is a typo on M1R

  • Thank you for this. I have always been slightly perplexed by lifted increases and your instructions made this technique crystal clear.

  • Sometimes for a fancy pattern I just pick up the loop between first and second stitch eg. on a sleeve increase to create a row of holes.

  • Great explanation! Thank you. Techniques such as this are one of my “things.” I love it.

  • My fav increase is one I learned very recently. It is based on the KFB. You knit into the stitch as normal but when you twist around to knit into the back of the stitch, just slip instead of knit. it doesn’t give you the purl bump at all. And I agree, if you are doing a KFB of either version, alter the position of it in the row to make the effect symmetrical

    • Just learned this one and love it!

    • I am glad I scrolled down before posting about it, because I TOO recently learned this increase and think it’s terrific.

    • Yes! I came across this increase a few years ago while desperately searching for a way to avoid M1 increases while knitting toe-up socks (note – I’m not an M1 hater – I’ve just found that they leave undesirable little holes when increasing on socks). My source was Rililie of the Knitting Therapy blog or La Maison Rililie.

      • Thanks Sarah! I’m working on no heel spiral sock pattern with pin hole cast on from her blog. Great simple instructions.

  • As always, Kate explains beautifully and clearly. I just finished a Jerod Flood sweater that used left and right leaning increases and decreases four stitches from the edge. It made a lovely pattern and looks very finished.

  • If you reverse the knit order of kfb to kbf the bump is on the back of the work. Love reading this post daily.

  • Whoo! My head is spinning. I have done M1 and KFB but not Lifted or Grandmother/Mother. I will definitely use MZ1 and Grandmother/Mother. Elizabeth Zimmerman is a delight. And so are you Kate! I learn so much from your articles. Thanks

  • Wow!
    What a treasure trove of helpful information and tips. I love it. And I’ll use it!

  • Very well explained and clever

  • I’m knitting for about 50years on and off, but I found your ideas and explanations is very well appreciated. All I new to do now is go to your sheets which I will download every time I need a good tip. Thank you

  • Thanks! I use whatever increase the pattern suggests, but sometimes there is no suggestion. I also really dislike the look of KFB in most circumstances. Your description of the each increase will be great to help me decide which increase to use instead. (I also think I need to buy The Knitter’s Dictionary.)

  • These explanations are wonderful. Thank you. However, I’m afraid I don’t understand “create a new stitch by using the e-wrap (backwards loop) with the working yarn, and place it on the right needle”. I need a bit more help with this.

    • Hi Rachel,

      I bet you’ve done a backwards loop when you’ve cast on in the most basic (not best) way. Here’s a super short video that shows how to do it. (You just do it once to make a stitch.)


      • Thank you for this; I had the same query 🙂

  • Awesome! I’ve been knitting forever and haven’t paid enough attention to the particulars of these techniques. Thank you

  • Great information! Thank you.

  • Great article! The pictures really help make it clear what the result of the increase is in your knitting! Thanks!

  • Thank you for this fantastic explication! So reasonable, I don’t even want to fight you on the kfb!

  • My first saved article! Very informative and clear instructions. Thank you!

  • Are these instruction for the same whether you knit bottom-up or top-down?
    When working on a top-down, I have a hard time keeping my place with M1R & M1L, I don’t seem to ‘read’ it as well. So maybe M1Z is the answer.
    I Love your articles!

  • Thanks for the info and the tips. I personally love the litter increases for their neatness. When I teach i have my students learn all the methods in a large swatch so they can see the difference s and decide which they like.

  • I totally love “Our Lady Elizabeth Zimmerman”! She was, and still is, a goddess of knitting. I will borrow your title for her from now on. And I’m Catholic and don’t think it’s sacriligious.

  • For me as a lefty, thank you!!

  • Hi Kate,
    I am working on a pattern where the increases are done on Rib 1×1. I’ve tried different methods and I don’t think I am getting the right results.

    This is what the pattern says:
    With size 8 needles cast on 101 sts
    Row 1 (RS) K1 *p1, k1; rep from * to end.
    Row 2 P1, *k1, p1; rep from * to end.
    Inc row (RS) Rib 5, M1 purl, rib to the last 5 sts, M1 purl, rib 5.
    Work even in rib for 5 rows more.
    Inc row (RS) Rib 6, M1 knit, rib to the last 6 sts, M1 knit, rib 6 – 105 sts.

    Do you have any suggestions of what M1 purl and M1 knit are?
    Do you think that it would matter what cast on method I used? Long tail or cable?

    Thank you,


  • Were there photos? Several mentions of them in the article, but I see only text.

  • I like RLI/LLI a lot because they don’t leave a hole. The only time they don’t work is in narrow stripes – you are lifting from a row or rows below and that will create a blip or jog, even in the second row of a new colour. Also I find it impossible to see which row they happened on when I look back afterwards, so keeping row count notes is essential.