M1: knitting stitch structure

Earlier this year I wrote up a series of blog posts about the structures of plain knitting (part one, part two), slip stitches, and brioche (part one, part two). I had some requests to do more structural posts about knitting, and so here is the next one. I’ve added a tag to all my structure posts so far so you can find them all in one place: stitch structure

I had a specific request to do one for kfb (knit in the front and back of a stitch to make two stitches), but I’m not going to start with that. I’m going to go through a whole sequence of basic increases, starting with M1.

M1 (short for “make one”) is actually a tricky abbreviation, as it sometimes gets used for all kinds of increases. (The Mon Tricot books, for instance, use m1 as the abbreviation for any increase throughout, and define it within the instructions for each stitch pattern.) However, there is one increase called m1 which has no other name that I’ve ever seen*. So I’ll start with its most basic form.

*I haven’t seen every knitting guide in the world by a long shot, so I’m guessing someone has probably called it a “lifted increase”, which would be confusing given that there’s a different increase I know with that name.


  1. These posts aren’t meant as instructions for how to work these stitches; instead I’m showing the structure of the resulting stitches. In aid of that, I am not showing needles in the stitches as I feel they make it harder to see the fabric structure.
  2. The yarn is drawn to be much thinner relative to the stitch size than would be practical for actual knitting. This helps make it easier to see the structure.
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This illustration shows two columns of stitches that have already been worked for three rows. The first stitch of a fourth row has been knit. Now I want to make three stitches above these two stitches. What to do?

There’s lots of options here, but for m1, I’m going to make a stitch in the row below by lifting the strand between the two stitches on the row below to make it into a loop that can be worked as a stitch. The yellow arrow in the illustration above is pointing at the strand in question.

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Here I’ve pulled the bar up to make a loop. (If I were including needles in the image, the loop would be on the left needle ready to be knit like a stitch.)

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The loop has had yarn pulled through it to make a stitch. The third stitch has been knit normally. There is a hole now in the knitting formed by lifting the bar. The bottom part of the hole is made by the gap between stitches on row 2 and the space under the lifted bar in row 3. This is like the hole formed by a yarnover, but with two differences:

  1. Because the loop was made in an already existing row of knitting, it’s pulling on the stitches to either side. This makes those stitches a little smaller, and also the hole is a little smaller than the hole made by a yarnover, but only a little because some of the hole is made by the gap between the stitches in row 2. I am still learning how to make these illustrations, so the size difference isn’t shown in the picture.
  2. The m1 is made in the row below the current row of knitting rather than within the current row of knitting. This, by the way, has the advantage that if you notice you’ve forgotten to work a yarnover, you can fake it with an M1 on the next wrong side row (keeping in mind that it will be a little smaller than a YO.)
Described in text
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I’ve put the illustrations side by side for the final stage of the m1 (on the left) and the yarnover (on the right). This shows how the two stitches are at different heights, even though they are worked between the equivalent two stitches on row 4 (as drawn).