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I’m a newer knitter. I am making some fingerless gloves, and the pattern has me make a M1P before the cable pattern starts. I’m new to cable knitting and am not sure if I should be knitting the M1P through the front or back. 

I looked up how to do the M1P on YouTube and saw two ways to do it for the slant direction. I don’t know which way it’s slanting. How do I know what direction? The pattern just says M1P.

Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated! Thank you so much! 

Confused Michelle


Dear Patty,

I have two questions about the make one. Some patterns call for a M1R or M1L, but lots of patterns just say M1, so how do you know if it’s supposed to slant to the right or slant to the left?

I can never remember if I’m supposed to work the back or front loop. Is there an easy way to remember and also (OK, so maybe it’s three questions) is there a trick to remembering which is make one right versus left? I have to look it up every time.

Make one make sense.


Twisted Tasha

Dear Confused Michelle and Twisted Tasha,

I’m happy to make one make sense! Let’s sum up all the questions:

1) How do I know which way a M1 (or M1P) is supposed to slant if the pattern doesn’t say?

2) How to remember if I should work into the front or back loop?

3) How do I remember which is M1 left or M1 right?

How Do I Lean?

Let’s start by looking at the “direction” and how you tell which direction to work. Generally, if you read the pattern definition of a M1 or M1P it will generally define the M1 as a M1L, and a M1P as a M1PR.

Why you might ask? Why does every pattern want me to slant to the left on the RS and slant to the right on the WS?

Two reasons: 1) those are the easy ones, and 2) because it doesn’t matter. How can it not matter (you yell at your screen)? OK, I’m being overdramatic. Perhaps it was just me that yelled that.

Simply put, because it doesn’t REALLY have a slant. It is only the direction the running thread twists. It’s more decorative than anything and that’s why when you are simply increasing evenly across a row it doesn’t matter.

You’ll only ever see a M1R if there is a M1L and you like the look of those little twists to be a mirror image, like a raglan increase line, or shaping a waist.

(above) M1L: Running thread slants left.

(above) M1R: running thread slants right

You are squeezing a stitch between two columns of stitches. Imagine you shove yourself between your two fighting siblings. Each one would lean a little away.

That’s why if you cast on 20 stitches and put one M1 (right or left) in the middle, the resulting fabric on either side will be pushed out to each side equally, no matter what type of M1 you put in the middle.

But sometimes you’re doing paired increases, like a raglan increase line, a sleeve, or shaping a waist. You want the little slants to mirror each other, so that’s when you’ll see directions for a M1R and a M1L. The M1 (left or right) will slant the resulting fabric when you work a series of them vertically.

A New Slant on Increasing—Meet the LLI and RLI (left lifted and right lifted increase)

By contrast, the LLI & RLI (left lifted and right lifted) increases themselves have a slant.

(above) LLI: increase itself slants to left

(above) RLI: increase itself slants to right

For the LLI (left lifted increase), the resulting fabric clearly slants to the right; for the RLI (right-lifted increase), the resulting fabric slants to the left.

Here’s a how-to video on the RLI and LLI.

Front or Back? Which Way Do I Go?

The key to remembering where to put your needle is as simple as “put the needle in the hole, get a hole.” That would give us a yarnover (YO), but we want a twist, so we need to work into the trailing leg, the leg that’s farthest away from the tip of the needle.

(NOTE: The relationship between the YO and M1 is explored in my post M1 With a Twist.”)

You could memorize that whatever the left needle does, the right needle does the opposite: if the left needle enters the running thread from the front, the right needle works into the back. If the left needle enters the running thread from the back, the right needle works into the front.

Rather than memorize a formula, it’s better to know that a M1 is a twisted running thread and a YO is an open running thread. And it’s better to see that when we work into the leading leg (put the needle in the hole), we get an open stitch, and when we work into the trailing leg, we get a twist.

Here I am picking up the running bar, two ways. Needle enters front to back:

Or needle enters back to front:

If I work into the leading leg by putting the needle in the hole, working into the front of the loop or . . .

into the back of the loop . . .

Needle in the hole, gets a hole. In other words, a YO.

Remember, every mistake in knitting is just an advanced knitting technique you didn’t mean to do at that particular time. Look at you, knitting lace!

But if I knit into the trailing leg, I get a twisted stitch—M1.


It’s a twisty moment, working that knit stitch into the trailing leg.

Here’s the M1L, done:

And the M1R, done:

Which Is Which?

Last but not least: “How do I remember which is which?”

Every knitter has their own way to remember. When I was a new knitter, I was told to remember that the M1L picked up the running thread with the left needle and the M1R used the right needle. This did not help me as I always used the left needle.

What worked for me was using the same little saying I used to remember the right and left slant of a cable:

“LEFT it out front, be RIGHT back.”

When you pick up the running thread from the front = M1L

When you pick up the running thread from the back = M1R

BUT (there’s always a but), you have to remember the purl is the reverse.

When you pick up the running thread from the front = M1PR

When you pick up the running thread from the back = M1PL

But by far the one that made me laugh the most was a student of mine who said that because the M1R was the hard one, she just remembered “Doing the RIGHT thing is hard.”

About The Author

Patty Lyons is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert. In her pursuit of training the mindful knitter, Patty is known for teaching the “why” in addition to the “how.” She specializes in sweater design and sharing her love of the much-maligned subjects of gauge and blocking.

You can find Patty at her website and on Ravelry.

Do you have a problem you’d like Patty to tackle? Write to her at



  • Is this correct? It looks to me that the one you called make one left actually has the point of the needle going into the backside of the stitch. And the one you call make one right had the needle go into the front side of the stitch, but you don’t show inserting the tip into the frontside of the stitch, so I can’t really tell what you did here. Sorry to be slow. But maybe I am just confused.

    • Take a look at the pictures of picking up the running thread. The memory trick is:

      When you pick up the running thread from the front = M1L

      When you pick up the running thread from the back = M1R

      It’s about what the left needle does picking up the running thread, not if you knit it in the front or back loop

  • I swear it took me 20 years to M1L or M1R without looking it up! Don’t get me started on R and L Lifted increases!

    • You have the video to help you with R & L lifted. I remember that one by the LLI is done with the left needle, and the RLI is done with the right needle.

      • Just gotta say, I LOVE your book Patty. <3

  • I find M1L much easier than M1R. So I think of it as Make one Lovely and Make One Revolting…..

    • soooooo funny!

  • The video was for lifted increases and that really confused me!

    • Hi,

      Sorry about that. It looks like there was a part of the column that accidentally got cut (we’re working on clarifying).

      The point I was making was although the actual increase of M1R and M1L doesn’t itself have a slant, a DIFFERENT increase, the LLI and RLI increase does have a slant.

      Since that’s the lesser known increase, I put in a video

      For the m1L and m1R, it is only the direction the running thread twists. It’s more decorative than anything. That’s why when you are simply increasing evenly across a row it doesn’t matter. You’ll only ever see a m1R if there is a m1L and you like the look of those little twists to be a mirror image (like a raglan increase line, or shaping a waist.)

      By contrast, the LLI & RLI (left lifted and right lifted) increases themselves have a slant

      For the LLI the resulting fabric clearly slants to the right and for the RLI the resulting fabric slants to the left

      • We should have it cleared up now. Apologies.

  • I always remembered by saying “Left the front door open, be right back. ” I have to say it every time and I’ve been knitting for 30+ years. Of course I’m in my 60’s and still get my left and right confused when I’m driving. Lol

  • lol. I use “I’ll be right back” and “I left the front door open”. So for a M1R, I enter through the back. For a M1L I enter through the back.

  • I use the letters themselves (R or L) to tell me how the stitch is worked. The F in Front is all straight lines as is the L in Left so, in my logic, like goes with like and I M1L from the Front. The R and the B are both curvy letters so I M1R from the Back.

    • COOL!

      Another way I was taught to remember didn’t make sense to Eastern and Combo knitters. I was once told to remember the m1R as “the RIGHT way to knit is through the front loop”, until I realized that a WHOLE bunch of knitters knit through the back loop

  • Thank you for the bottom of my heart. It makes sense now!

  • Oh, Patty, I could hug you!

    This was both funny and informative.

    Now, if I could just remember those mnemonic devices I might have half a chance of not needing to look up M1L and M1R every time I need to do them.

  • My trick probably makes no sense to anyone but me: lifting the bar to the fRont and knitting in the fRont is a Right leaning increase. To the back is left leaning. I think I’m doing it the right way!

  • I am a some type combination knitter and wind the yarn differently than most people who knit “western” style, thus most “how to” instructions are not that useful to me.
    (Grafting kitchener stitch in particular!)
    However, when I see the actual look of the finished stitch I know how to proceed. And so, M1L gives you a twist looking a bit like an L with its horizontal leg hanging somewhat down rather than really horizontal (and it looks a bit like an “e”).
    The M1R does not look like an R, but is simply the opposite. The stitch looks as if it begins from the lower left, travels up, loops at the top with the thread getting lost under the portion that is visible at lower left.
    Hard to describe without ability to draw here, but just keep in mind that it is opposite to the L look.

    • The M1R and M1L is one of the rare stitches that is worked the same for Western, Eastern and Combination knitters. Because the stitch is worked into the running thread between two stitches, the way your stitch is mounted on the needle doesn’t affect it. You will do the stitch exactly the same, pick up the running thread and then work through the trailing leg to twist it.

      The second increase I mention in the column (there’s a line or two missing from the column, so it might have been confusing) the LLI and RLI are also worked the same for Western, Eastern and Combo knitters as it is working into the row below.

      Decreases are worked differently because your stitches are mounted differently. You can see a video on increases and decreases for combo knitting here (you’ll see the m1 and lifted increases have no change):

      • Yes, thank you Patty… will check the video too.
        However, these twisted this way or the other way increases are not a problem for me – it’s the grafting – and for that I always must have a look at a drawing!
        Needless to say grafting lace is an abracadabra and I never even tried a ribbing either…

        • Grafting is the same for you as well. Remember, it doesn’t matter how the stitch sits on the needle. Just visually respond to your stitches. Take a look at this youtube:

  • Or right stands for rear

    • Right is rear!

  • M1R….. I think “R stands for rear.”
    Pick up from the back (rear) leans right.

  • I always love your column! I always learn a better way to do all things knitting. Thank you!

  • I have always thought that fancy stitch patterns have evolved from what I call the ‘classic’ novice knitter errors. Glad to see that you think along the same lines, Patty.

    By way of encouragement I always tell the novice knitter that at a later point we will want that ‘mistake’ as part of a more advanced technique.


    Wendy Leigh-Bell

  • I look at the running thread of the resulting stitch to determine if I made a M1L or M1R since I like to pick up the yarn with my right needle.
    I put a stiff circular stitch marker on my left needle before the M1R which makes it much easier!

  • Patty, your Knitting Book of Tricks is the best thing since sliced bread!! I’ve been knitting for over 20 years, but I learned so much from it and I’ve leveled up my knitting!

  • The “M1 with a Twist” article referenced here has four missing photos. Any chance those could be restored?

    • Working on it! The switch from the older site to this one left some … interesting…after-effects.

      • I’ve burned some sage and I think we’re good now!

        • Looks good. Thank you!

  • I hate to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, but I’m a lefty. I knit English (throwing) style, mirrored. That is, I hold the yarn in my left hand and knit from the right needle onto the left needle, with the front/leading leg of stitches to the left, the mirrored opposite of right-handers.

    I just finished a seamless top-down, round yoke sweater that used M1 increases at intervals along the same round, without specifying M1L or M1R. (I guess since the designer didn’t specify, it probably didn’t matter if I made a M1L or M1R so long as I was consistent throughout.

    I used my right needle to pick up the bar between the stitches from front to back and knitted through the back loop.

    As you can imagine, I have a terrible time deciding which I should use when it does matter and can’t keep straight which way my M1 does lean (or should lean). Which mnemonic is right–I mean, correct–for me?

    Any advice?

    Seriously left hander (who does not want to switch to continental!)

    • No monkey wrench at all. In the article, I mentioned that the increase does not actually have a slant, so when you are increasing evenly across the row, just do the m1 that’s easiest. As for as learning what is a M1L vs m1R, it’s the same if you are picking up the running bar with your left needle or right needle. The directions the new stitches move (left to right or right to left) has nothing to do with what makes the stitch (give the article another read).

      There are a couple of ways for a leftie to approach patterns.

      1) Reverse the rows themselves, so the public side of the work looks the same. For instance, if there’s a chart, instead of reading the RS row from right to left, you would read it from left to right. Or if you had a simple stockinette garment that had shaping at the start and end of the row, you would switch those:

      2) Try knitting and purling back backwards (the great equalizer). With this knitting method, EVERYONE has their empty needle in their dominant hand for one row and their non dominant hand for the other and you never turn their work. It’s my go to method. I have my empty needle in the right hand for RS rows and then w/o turning, I have my empty needle in my left hand for all WS rows.

      If you want to learn more about that method, you can check out this class:

  • To remember which way to make the M1L/M1R I just say “Right=Rear” and remember that left is the opposite!

  • M1(R)-needle goes in the (R)ear of the yarn.

  • When there’s no time to reason: Right from the rear

  • Patty always has great answers! Thank you!

  • This may seem a bit crazy, but this is what finally helped me not to have to look them up every time. I remember it by saying “Right (M1R) is wrong” because when you pick up the running thread from the back it ends up backwards from the normal direction of the loops on the needle. (Some call this Eastern mounted.) The M1L is the opposite. When you pick up the running thread for the M1L it will be mounted on the needle in the same direction as the rest of the stitches. Then you just have to close it to prevent a hole by knitting the leg that will cause a twist in the stitch. It may not make sense to everyone, but it helped me to remember! Thank you for explaining everything so clearly! Your tutorials are the best!

  • Wouldn’t it be much easier to note the m1 as m1f- denoting a lift of the bar between stitches from the front and a m1b when entering through the back of your knitting? I was in a group on Ravelry and that is how she came up to deal with the m1 notation.

  • I made up a mnemonic also… Mine is “M1 LEFT is LIFT [enter space between with the left needle from the front], M1 RIGHT is REAR [poke the left needle in from the back].” Then you work the stitch on the trailing leg with the right needle, which creates the twist. And yes, the M1R always needs a bit of a tug to make enough room because it IS the hard one LOL! Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with many from the purl side, not to mention I usually default to the Norwegian style where you pick up the mother or grandmother for the M1!

  • Must confess I finally just gave up on memorizing and realized that just trying both ways and looking at my knitting to see which way worked for what I was trying to do. It’s much faster than grabbing the reference books or getting distracted looking it up online.

  • As always, Patty explains M1L & M1R so well!! Thanks.

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