Learn how to work the make 1 right (m1r) and make 1 left (m1l) increases. These right and left leaning increases add a stitch without leaving a large hole. They’re perfect for sweaters, socks, and anywhere else that you need paired or directional increases.
What is a Make 1 increase?
First of all, it’s an increase, which means you are adding a stitch. The make 1 increases are made by picking up and knitting the horizontal bar that falls between two stitches.
The direction in which you pick up that bar determines whether the increase will lean to the right or to the left.
Make 1 Right (m1r) increase
Insert your left needle, from back to front, under that horizontal bar.
Notice that you now have a short, diagonal leg in front and a long, horizontal leg in back.
Knit through the short diagonal leg in front.
Notice how this makes the stitch twist – this is why it does not leave much of a gap when finished. I’m pulling on it a bit in this picture to try to show the twist, but you will notice in the video that after knitting a couple more stitches, that gap disappears. The m1r increase leans to the right.
Make 1 Left (m1l) increase
Insert your left needle, from front to back, under the horizontal bar.
Notice that you now have a long, horizontal leg in the front and a short, diagonal leg in the back.
Knit through the short, diagonal leg at the back.
Again, this forces the stitch to twist, closing the gap. The m1l increase leans to the left.
Make 1 Right (m1r) and Make 1 Left (m1l) Video Tutorial
A Note for Lefties
I am 100% right handed and absolutely hopeless at knitting left handed. But I was curious to see if the instructions would be the same for lefties. What I found is that if you follow these instructions, just swapping out your left and right hand, your increase will lean in the opposite direction.
Beyond that, the abbreviations get confusing. Some tutorials show a left handed m1r as a left leaning decrease and an m1l as a right leaning decrease, so that the instructions stay the same. Others switch the instructions so that if you want a m1r, you work it the same way as a right handed m1l.
This can all be very confusing, but no matter your definitions, the important thing is which way you want the stitch to lean. Here is a great m1r tutorial from Yarn Crafts for Lefties, and here is his m1l tutorial.
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